Some of South Africa’s best comedians will step forward to coach a few of the country’s most-loved personalities in their first stand-up set. We will get to see some of our favourite entertainers such as John Robbie, Jeannie D, Khanyi Mbau, Mark Williams, Kuli Roberts, Chef Benny, Robert Whitehead and Proverb handle open mic night.
They will also get their turn to put Kagiso Lediga, Jason Goliath, John Vlismas, Joey Rasdien, Nina Hastie, Rob van Vuuren, Mpho Popps and Casper de Vries through their paces.
Not only will it provide 10 weeks of riveting television, it’s also for a good cause. There will be a Famous Last Words Gala Event - open to the public with stand-up performances by the comics and their celebrity mentees - with proceeds going to the Smile Foundation.
We chat to media personality Jeannie D and comedian Jason Goliath about what to expect on Monday.
What is your take on the SA stand-up comedy scene Jeannie? I have had the opportunity of interviewing many of our local comedians and what I have to say is that our comedians are brilliant. They are intelligent and intellectually funny without being crass. I just love SA comedy.
Please tell us about your spa day with Jason Goliath? The initial idea was to go sky-diving with him as I thought that it would be a greater challenge for him. It turns out we did not need to go sky-diving for the ultimate challenge, the spa was challenging enough for him. It was a day filled with so many laughs. Goliath is hilarious and he was completely out of his comfort zone.
What would you say has to be the most important trait to make it as a stand-up comedian? Over the years, I have done so many challenges and I seldom find things scary, but let me tell you, stand-up has to be one of the scariest things ever. To be a great comedian you have to possess a strange amount of confidence. You have to have the gift of storytelling, which is all about timing. It is about having the ability to tell a good story with a fantastic punchline and also possess the ability to write the joke.
What can we expect from your set? My set is a series of funny stories from my life and work travels and I make quite a bit of fun of myself. This was such a wonderful and challenging opportunity to do a five-minute set. I am grateful that I can now tick it off my bucket list.
What is your take on jokes that may offend people? I am one of those people who do not get offended easily, but I do understand how certain subjects may be sensitive to the audience. My idea of comedy is that sometimes the only way to get through tough times is to be able to laugh at yourself and the circumstances. I believe that when you’re able to laugh at yourself and your situation, you will be happier.
Jason, what was it like spending a spa day with the gorgeous and talented Jeannie D? It was delightful. Jeannie D is infectious! She’s surprisingly funny, queen-like and a little bit gangster.
Does she have a good chance as a stand-up comedian? At first I would have said no, but after spending a day with her, she’s the type of person who can do anything she puts her mind to. So, maybe. Possibly. So Yes.
Tell us about yourself. And why did you became a comedian? I grew up in Eldorado Park, moved to the West Rand in Grade 7. That’s how old I am! I come from a wonderfully open-minded family; we went through a lot but always stuck together, loved and supported each other. I started comedy because my friend, Siv Ngesi, said I was funny and he believed I’d live it. He wasn’t wrong.
What makes your stand-up comedy unique and different from other comedians? I’m a storyteller not a joke-teller. My stories are brutally honest and that’s where I find the funny. At the end of the day, most of us are going through, or have been through, similar things, so people relate to honesty.
What is the worst response you have received from a joke? What happened? I was speaking about diarrhoea at a fund-raiser and was asked to leave the stage. Lol. I’d been doing stand-up for about four months.
Last words? Comedy is growing in South Africa and our talent is world-class! Go watch as much live comedy as you can, it’s great social commentary, a wonderful stress-reliever and most importantly reminds us not to take each other too seriously.
* Tune into Famous Last Words for my episode with Jeannie D on Monday.