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Cutting slices of SA’s funny life

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Comedian Nik Rabinowitz highlights the lows and highs of South African reality in Stand Up at the Baxter. Picture: Jonx Pillemer

STAND UP. With Nik Rabinowitz and Kagiso “KG” Mokgadi. At the Baxter until January 11. TERRI DUNBAR-CURRAN reviews.

FROM obscenely huge mansions complete with “firepools”, to the dubious skills of certain sign language interpreters and the pitfalls of parenthood, Nik Rabinowitz is back in the spotlight with his latest show, Stand Up. And he’s brought a heap of new material with him to help us through the festive season and into the new year – a lot of it courtesy of our leaders.

Rabinowitz’s keen observation when it comes to analysing current affairs has audiences in stitches, and it was great to see that even though mayor Patricia De Lille was in our audience, he didn’t shy away from poking fun at her and her colleagues – albeit with a mischievous grin and a little shuffling.

While diehard fans will recognise some of his more tried-and-trusted material, there’s plenty to keep you entertained. Besides, his depiction of Afrikaans Jews living in the Middle East is still fun.

Rabinowitz makes sure he includes everyone in his light-hearted, yet often extremely pertinent ragging – and his audience loves it.

The uninitiated may take a few moments to warm up, but this show ultimately gives you permission to laugh at things you’d otherwise shy from. Reactions to his Oscar Pistorius commentary ranged from nervous titters to unashamed guffaws, while his references to our nation’s response to the death of Nelson Mandela were met with heartfelt applause and warm laughter.

As he gallivants his way through the ups and downs of the last few months look out for the Guptas, Toronto’s disgraced mayor and a moose in a supermarket.

But the lion’s share of the laughs is reserved for South Africans. As he explains, it’s “all part of this poorly lit, insane reality TV series we call South Africa”.

In addition to laughing at the exploits of those in the public spotlight, you also get a glimpse into the madness of his own daily life.

From life lessons from dodgy renovators, to finding loopholes in Jewish law, his routine is slick and the perfect antidote to the end-of-year rush. Possibly the most entertaining and gratifying anecdote is his fantastic rant about looking after his kids for a few hours on his own. It’s hilarious, and so obviously based largely on real life, that parents and non-parents alike were swept up in the mania with him.

Opening the show for him is relative newcomer Kagiso “KG” Mokgadi who has been taking the local comedy scene by storm.

With a charming smile, and lingering direct eye contact he breaks the ice and has the audience chuckling along with him.

From the benefits of having a father who is a sangoma, to the highs and lows of shopping at Big and Tall, “the Donna Claire of fat men”, his material and stage presence ensure he connects with his audience.

He has a rhythm to his routine that makes him a delight to watch, and his delivery is polished. Part of Mokgadi’s appeal lies in his ability to be gently disparaging towards himself in such a way that the audience can’t help but identify. It’s great to see him sharing the stage with Rabinowitz. The more people who see him perform, the better.

Rabinowitz is one of the country’s top comedians and always a treat to watch.

Here’s hoping 2014 brings with it an abundance of new fodder so we can be sure both he and Mokgadi will be back on the stage soon.

* The show has a PG16 rating. Tickets are R110 to R150. To book, call Computicket at 0861 915 8000.

Cape Times

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