On Monday, Showmax launches Trevor Noah Presents NationWild, a 13-part, 23-minute comedy showcase, where each episode features one of South Africa’s youngest, funniest comedians - as picked by Noah. Each episode features Noah as MC, an interview with the featured comedian about their ladder to success, and then that comedian’s set.
“In each episode, we’re going to meet some of the brightest emerging comedians in Mzansi,” says Noah.
“Trevor Noah’s global success proves that SA’s comics are among the best in the world,” says Candice Fangueiro, head of content at Showmax.
“We’ve worked hard to make Showmax the home of South African comedy, so we’re delighted to add Trevor Noah Presents NationWild to our line-up of hilarious shows, which includes The Roast of Somizi and comedy specials with the likes of 2018 Comics Choice Comedy award winner David Kau and nominees like Marc Lottering and Mpho Popps.”
Representing Cape Town in NationWild are Phil de Lange and Keenan Cerff. It’s a huge break for both of them, considering Noah’s already given fellow SA comedians like David Kibuuka and Loyiso Madinga regular work on The Daily Show.
De Lange has been doing comedy for five years, but what is funny about the ukulele which he uses in his act? “The thing is, I don’t find it funny. I take it very seriously,” he says. “But everyone else thinks it’s a comical instrument. It’s cute, man.”
Of being chosen for NationWild, De Lange says comedy in South Africa is a relatively small industry, where everyone knows everyone and reputations are built. “People see you perform and then the right people give you the right opportunities at the right time. Up until this point I actually didn’t realise how big it is billboards, TV adverts it’s been a little bit overwhelming. It’s probably the biggest thing that’s happened to me in my career and in my life,” he says.
Until the billboards - or “Phil-boards” - De Lange says he’d normally be quite humble but now he’ll toot his own horn.
At the Comic Choice Awards earlier this month,Tsitsi Chiumya beat three other comedians featured on Trevor Noah presents NationWild - Bongani Dube, Gilli Apter and Lindy Johnson – to win Best Newcomer.
This is the second major award this year for Chiumya; he also won a South African Film and Television Award (SAFTA) for Scriptwriting - TV Comedy as part of the Puppet Nation team. The comedian hails from Lebowakgomo, a small township in Limpopo. He only “officially” learned English in 2006 when he came to Johannesburg.
* The Comics Choice Awards will be shown on 1Magic on October 4 at 8.30pm.