A FIRST for KwaZulu-Natal, Camden031 Comedy Club and Bistro is set to launch on Friday.
Think Parker’s Comedy Club in Joburg and Jou Ma Se Comedy Club in Cape Town, and that’s the calibre of what Durban’s Camden031 Comedy Club aims to achieve.
Located at 507 Lillian Ngoyi (Windemere) Road, Camden031 Comedy Club and Bistro is the brainchild and product of partners comedian Glen Bo and David Boyter.
Bo is no stranger to comedy, having performed locally and internationally and garnered a decent fanbase. He has also accumulated a host of industry contacts as a producer of comedy shows.
Boyter, an executive chef and entrepreneur, knows his way around the kitchen. His culinary creations have been enjoyed at establishments like Aubergine and Stretta Café, both in Hillcrest.
In an interview about Friday’s launch of Camden031 Comedy Club and Bistro, Bo said it’s intended to mark a new era in KwaZulu-Natal: comedy by night, and a fresh bistro concept by day.
“When I first came to Durban in 2007 comedy didn’t exist in terms of an official scene or a circuit or anything like that.
“When the Durban Society of Comedy formed in late 2007 we set out to develop the industry. We ran shows over the years and we’ve successfully developed three generations of comics.
“Everyone from the Dusty Riches through to the Jem Atkinses through to the Gareth Woodses of this world. This is the next evolution and the next step.
“This has been on the cards and in the back of my mind for the past five years that we have to, at some point, open up a venue… owned and operated as a comedy club.
“I met my friend, and business partner, David, when I did a show at the Heritage Theatre about three years ago. We spoke about doing a big project together one day and when I went to him three months ago, I said I had a venue and a plan…
“We had a conversation and he said: ‘Let’s do it’. We are launching on Friday and it’s incredibly scary, but also incredibly exciting at the same time,” Bo explained.
He said the venue is called Camden031 because Camden in the UK was the first place he did a comedy show in London.
“Also, it’s the epicentre of everything that is cultural and rock and roll in the UK.”
Commenting further on Camden031, Bo said they do not intend to copy Parker’s or Jou Ma Se Comedy Club.
“These are purpose-built venues. So in Joburg, Parker’s is the only purpose-built comedy club, in Cape Town Jou Ma Se is the only purpose-built comedy club, and in Durban Camden031 will be exactly that.
“It’s a big deal to have a comedy club in the city; it helps the industry and it’s so important just in terms of how big comedy is actually getting in Durban. So we are putting our heads on the block and opening the venue with that in mind.”
But it’s not just going to be about the comedy, as Bo explains, Camden031 will be “a really cool restaurant”.
“It will have forward-thinking food and forward-thinking wine pairing and craft beers…the kind of place I’d want to go to as a slightly young grown-up,” he laughed.
For their opening weekend this Friday and Saturday, Camden031 features comedy with Robby Collins (Joburg), Martin Evans (Cape Town) and Bo on stage.
“Our plan is to slot all Durban comics in. Also, once a month we’ll bring down featured acts. Rob van Vuuren will be down after Splashy Fen and we want to get the likes of Loyiso Gola and John Vlismas down. Everyone who is a fully fledged comic. We want to get them to come to Camden031 over the next year. ”When these guys (established comics) come to the city and sell out shows at the Durban International Convention Centre or the Playhouse, for example, if they know there’s a comedy club, they are likely to come and perform there. So we will be spending money and getting guys to come here, that is a big part of the business plan,” he said.
At this stage Camden031 will start with comedy on Fridays and Saturdays, and as they progress Thursdays will be included, with Tuesdays eventually becoming open mic nights.
“During the day we will embrace the coffee culture of Durban with state-of-the-art food and coffee. In the evening it will operate as a restaurant.
“David is an insane chef and our menu will rival the really good restaurants with the likes of 9th Avenue Bistro and Café 99.
“We want to be known for quality and the quality will be the food, the drink and the laughter and that is what we are going for,” said Bo.
Bookings for Friday and Saturday can be made on 061 028 7248 or e-mail [email protected] co.za. Entry for the show is R50 at the door or R40 online from www.Quicket.com (opening special). Show starts 8.30pm, doors open from 6pm for dinner. Camden031’s overall operating times for the opening weekend are: 7am to midnight on Friday and Saturday; and 7am to 3pm Sunday.