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Clean comedy will have you in stitches

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TO Simmi Areff1

If we were super cheesy we’d write something like: “Feel free to clear your throat before you read on. This year, Comedy Central is the reason you need the letters F-U-N to be funny.

But we’re not cheesy. And we leave the smarty pants jokes to the professionals – thank goodness.

One of those professionals is Simmi Areff who will be one of the acts at the second Comedy Central Live… At Parker’s gig tomorrow. As the name of the event suggests, it’s an initiative that is spearheaded by Comedy Central (DStv channel 122) and held at SA’s comedy club, Parker’s Comedy and Jive, inside Montecasino, Fourways.

This month, popular ventriloquist Conrad Koch will be the host with the most, while Areff, Dave Levinsohn and Siya B will hit the stage.

Areff, who is from Durban, has played at quite a few comedy gigs that have been called “Muslim comedy shows”, such as Allah Made Me Funny. And if the box office numbers are anything to go by, we’ve all seen Material.

So, was Areff’s life similar to the film’s lead character (played by Riaad Moosa), or has it been easy to perform at these shows?

“I’ve got my own movie coming out,” he tells me. “It’s about a Muslim boy who works in a material shop and his father is okay with him doing stand-up. It’s called Immaterial and it’s a very short film.”

Then he gets serious: “I learnt from a young age that if I remove the swearing and what society thinks I should do then I could still be funny. I can make people laugh without swearing and talking about sex, or what I look at as the easy way out . Riaad (Moosa) taught me that when I opened for him once. He said: ‘Leave the swearing out and you’ll be fine.’”

Moosa was right. When Areff isn’t talking about how much he loves the hit US series, Community, or taking the mickey (who says that?) out of fellow comedian Trevor Noah, he is actually quite funny.

He says if he were to put together his own Comedy Central Live… At Parker’s all- star line-up, he’d probably have it hosted by Loyiso Gola. To perform, he’d choose himself, Laz Gola, Mojak Lehoko and Robby Collins, who all happen to be very close friends who plan on shooting a pilot for their sitcom, Cheesecakes.

Whether on stage or the small screen, we’ll be seeing more of Simmi Areff in the near future. That’s a good thing.

• Catch Comedy Central Live… At Parker’s at Parker’s Comedy and Jive tomorrow. Tickets are R150 and are available at Computicket or through the box office at 011 511 0081/2.


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