CLOWNING: Mario Queen of the Circus (Clarke Mcfarlane) at the Jive Cape Town Funny Festival.
CLOWNING: Mario Queen of the Circus (Clarke Mcfarlane) at the Jive Cape Town Funny Festival.
Host Shaleen Surtie-Richards
Host Shaleen Surtie-Richards


VENUE: Baxter Theatre

UNTIL: June 22




AFTER 10 years of tinkering this particular Funny Festival has pretty much become critic-proof.

Capetonians love a good laugh, and we love the nostalgia of a good laugh even more. So the Funny Fest has settled into a pattern: home-grown comedians plus odd, but strangely funny variety acts from foreign climes, with an overseas comedian chucked in for good measure. It works, it warms us up and we love nothing more than to be buoyed by sharing a laugh with people who think as we do…

Shaleen Surtie-Richards makes for a fun hostess with the mostest. Sweeping along the stage in a magnificent red ball gown, she delivers Gatiepie jokes in rapid fire just as assuredly as she lets you in on the secret that growing old is not for sissies. While she cannot quite keep to Eddy Cassar’s admonition to steer away from the profanities, she lets them slip in Afrikaans.

The easy way she segues mid-sentence between Afrikaans and English will befuddle non-Capetonians who do not understand both languages, but as she points out, some jokes just do not translate.

In the highlight of the (press night) evening, Nik Rabinowitz once again demonstrated his quicksilver linguistic abilities too. Not only does he deliver in multiple languages with spot-on accents, but he goes there… oh yes, he does… he tells Oscar jokes.

A long time ago, Rabinowitz was the one who originally made that soccer commentator in various languages’ jokes. So, when (Laugh Master competition winner) Stuart Kearns puts his own Pietermaritzburg spin on it, it is an funny homage to Rabinowitz from a newbie comedian who shows promise. He stayed calm, delivering his patter at a measured pace.

When Schalk Bezuidenhout desperately tries to riff off Rabinowitz’s jokes (freely admitting to doing so), it just comes off as naff and shrill though.

Australian comedienne Felicity Ward also struggled to hit the sweet spot, frantically skipping from topic to topic in an effort to connect with the audience. The best part of her appearance was when Surtie-Richards started teasing her in Afrikaans.

Yosuke Ideka opened proceedings with a very sweet little performance that blends mime with graphic art. His timing is impeccable and it is a cute way to get going, not outlasting his welcome.

Carl Wastie popped up just before the show and after the interval, but he didn’t add much to the proceedings other than giving away some nice prizes.

Audience participation is crucial to whether anyone likes Wastie’s insert, as well as to Mario Queen of the Circus’s (Clarke McFarlane) act. He chose his victims well, and the audience warmed up to his juggling, even when he dropped the ball a couple of times (to be fair, he seems well able, so this probably won’t be a problem every night).

Pickpocket Christian Lindemann picked on Africa Melane on press night, but beware anyone seated in the first few rows – you know the score by now, you are fair game.


• Coming up as headliners will be the always popular UK musical comedian Kev Orkian (June 16 to 22), Riaad Moosa (June 9 to 14) and Trevor Noah (June 16 to 22).