Funny business going on at the Baxter

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TO SW Kurt ETCH

The Vodacom Funny Festival, which is on at the Baxter Theatre until early next month, again gives audiences the chance to have a side-splitting time while watching the talents of local and international comedy acts.

Now in its 15th year (the fest used to be called the Smirnoff Comedy Festival), the Vodacom Funny Festival boasts a line-up that sees the laughter professionals on stage interact with the crowd.

This happened quite a lot with actor and comedian Alan Committie, who is the host with the most throughout the festival. Some bits from his usual shows were included in his hosting duties.

Like when he gets the audience to help him brainstorm a connection between two strangers in the audience. If you have seen him do this, then you know it’s nothing short of impressive.

When he wasn’t making people laugh, Committie was introducing the acts for the evening. Please note that while some acts are constants throughout the festival, there will be those (such as Marc Lottering and KG) who are on stage only on selected dates, so book accordingly.

First up, we saw the Japanese variety act Gamarjobat. They don’t talk much except to make a few sounds to each other that we recognise as their home language. When communicating with the audience, they use props, or just point. They didn’t take themselves seriously at all and even let you see how some of the “tricks” are performed by poking fun at themselves.

Sporting zany, colourful mohawks, Doc Martens and touch-my-ankles tight pants, it’s no wonder Gamarjobat are back by popular demand.

Another act who didn’t let speech be an impediment when it came to his performance was The Boy With Tape On His Face.

The New Zealander performed a few tricks to a questionable (Parisian?) soundtrack that he kept on shuffle through an ipod in his sling bag of tricks. When the songs got better and more popular, so did the things he made the audience do.

Like a mock wedding between strangers. And yes, the “you may kiss the bride” part was not left out. The Boy With Tape On His Face saw to that.

One of the most highly anticipated international acts was Imran Yusuf. The UK stand-up comedian has become a name to watch over the past few years and has made waves as an Edinburgh Festival award nominee.

However, if you’ve seen any of his material on the internet then you are likely to be a little disappointed.

Especially because even he admits – during the gag – that perhaps saying a certain chain restaurant’s name in SA, a place where it doesn’t exist, is a little daft.

London’s Kev Orkian (pictured), on the other hand, did not disappoint. Even though the punchline of his final piece – where he illustrates how music and dance have changed over the decades by juxtaposing American song and dance with Armenian (his heritage) song and dance – could be guessed when he started, it’s still funny to watch.

Local comedy veteran Kurt Schoonraad did not disappoint either as his set focused primarily on the art of gym.

In his bid to be a healthier funny man, his “goose” has put him on all sorts of healthy snacks and he didn’t know spinning required so much work.

This is the man someone like Oliver Booth, a newcomer who got to perform – and nearly died – for five minutes through a Good Hope FM competition should look up to.

The Vodacom Funny Festival brings the funny one more time this year so if you’re keen on big laughs this is where you should be.

• The Vodacom Funny Festival runs at the Baxter Theatre, Rondebosch, until July 8. Book at Computicket.


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