Carvin Goldstone’s brand of comedy is good, clean fun - and that’s just the way we like it, writes Marchelle Abrahams.
You know when you go to a party and there’s one guy who has the rest of the group in stitches? I mean rip-roaring, spill-your drink laughter. Carvin Goldstone is that guy.
The Durban-born comedian is coy when asked how it feels about being nominated for not one but three accolades at this year’s Savanna Comics’ Choice Awards.
“I was quite surprised that it was that many!,” quips the Durban-born funnyman.
This, coming from someone who managed to sell out the entire 1 200-seater Playhouse Theatre with his 2012 one-man show iBruino - a feat said to be only accomplished by one other South African comedian.
His meteoric rise in the comedy world has seen him win over legions of fans and numerous awards. But it was winning the Madras Masala Comedy show in 2006 that finally got him noticed.
It’s not just his fans that have an affinity for him - his fellow comedians hold him in high esteem as well. This isn’t lost on Goldstone as he discusses his Nando’s Best Friend of Comedy nod: “Your colleagues vote based on your contribution to the industry. I spent a lot of the year building the industry, especially in Durban. I was happy that they acknowledged that one.”
This year marks 10 years in the industry and he celebrated with a national tour, even taking his comic relief as far as Swaziland, Zimbabwe and Australia.
Often described as one of SA’s foremost comedians, it’s evident that Goldstone’s star is on the rise. But most commendable is his willingness to help up-and-coming talent. The founder of Next Comedy Generation has created a platform for new comics to perform to big audiences under his mentorship.
“I try and do a lot of work to grow the scene, because when I started out, there weren’t any mentors. I remember in my first year doing two or three events for the year. One of the things I wanted to create, especially where I live, is a scene where young acts can perform regularly.
“Now that we’ve got that on the road with the contribution of a lot of people, I’m entering a new phase so see how we are going to make South African comedy international.” Goldstone is dreaming big - he plans to take his concept as far as the Middle East, Asia and Australia with the help of promoters “to make comedy a global sport for South Africans.”
The funnyman knows a thing or two about making people laugh - and no one is exempt from his comical jabs - including his family.
His one-man show No Swearing made its debut in 2011 to critical acclaim and has over 212 000 views on YouTube. It’s his no holds barred commentary on SA culture, occasionally taking swipes at the Coloured and Indian community, which Goldstone admits he gets dibs on because of the “35% Indian in me” and the fact that his father is a “Zulu speaking Coloured.”
When it comes to race, he manages to strike a balance, never really picking a side, and is always careful to not overdo it or venture into disrespectful territory.
He identifies himself as a Durban boy, born and bred, and refuses to be boxed into any particular pigeonhole. “My stories are very personal and particularly to not just SA, but to Durban. When they are enjoyed across the world, I’m always a little astonished.”
Unlike other comedians, he tends to stay clear of profanity and toilet humour which has enamoured him even more to the SA public. “I never really swore in everyday language, so that made it easy to get on stage and not swear - I still don’t,” he muses.
He also notes that because of his no-profanity rule, families are more open to bringing their parents: “In one show you can have three generations of grandparents, children and their children which is probably the best dynamic I feel because I speak about family dynamics in the show. That’s a unique space that I find myself in and I’d like to stay there.”
His ability to poke fun at himself appears to make him more accessible to his fan base. Nothing is off limits - even his weight and ethnicity. This might be his formula for longevity, because even he knows the comedy world is a fickle one. And like a chameleon, he’s learnt to adapt and change his material: “Over the years I moved from being a niche act to a general act. I never used to really see myself outside of my own community, but the last few years has thrown me into the world, and that’s probably where I am going to live for a long time.”
Goldstone’s future plans include a world tour in 2018 which will take him across Asia, the Middle East, Australasia, and Europe.