Cape Town’s winter comedy tonic, the Funny Festival has a new sponsor, in the form of Jive Cooldrink, born and bred in the Mother City. The event, the country’s largest live comedy festival, will now be known as the Jive Cape Town Funny Festival. The month-long festival is running at the Baxter Theatre from June 10 to July 7.
The project, now in its ninth year, showcases the best of local and international comedy. The international artists represent a selection of top specialty acts from around the world.
The international “delegation” is headed by the UK’s leading comedy pianist Kev Orkian. Orkian is no stranger to Cape Town, a city he has fallen in love with. The international contingent includes Somali comic Prince Abdi; Canadian Mooky Cornish, a former lead clown of Cirque du Soleil; UK juggler, balancer and wordsmith Steve Rawlings; and “Spanish” crooner Wilfredo.
Add local comics in the form of Marc Lottering, Siv Ngesi, Alan Committie, Carl Wastie and Guy McDonald and a couple of hilarious audience participation skits, it all adds up to a great night out. Committie acts as ringmaster, holding the show together.
The Jive Cape Town Funny Festival has developed its own brand of comedy, which is strong in unique specialty acts, all of which are sought after on the global festival circuit. The show content is family friendly, though parental guidance is advised.
PETER TROMP chatted to ORKIAN and WASTIE in the lead up to the Festival.
You’re back again for this year’s Funny Festival. Cape Town must feel like a second home to you now. What keeps you coming back? (Here’s hoping you’re not living in Eddie’s doghouse anymore.)
I love SA; I love the people, the place and the views. There is nowhere in the world like it. I am planning on visiting SA more often in the future, and possibly investing in a home. Eddy’s dog house is just getting too small for me now. Especially because I have to share that with him from time to time.
Who are some of your favourite local comics and why?
I love Alan Committee. He’s like the brother I never had, and probably shouldn’t have had. I adore Marc Lottering. His energy and passion for comedy is unreal. Tumi Morake, Shimmy Isaacs, Angel Blythe, Piet Potgieter, the list goes on and on. Having the privilege to share the stage with so much talent, is priceless.
Imagine for a moment a world without pianos. How do you cope?
Well I imagined it, and I didn’t cope. I started playing the piano when I was three years old, so to imagine something taken away from you that has literally been a part of your entire life is like losing a limb.
You’ve featured alongside some of the biggest names in showbiz. Drop some names for us.
I’ve been very lucky to have worked with amazing artists over the years. Some of the most memorable are Lionel Richie, Katherine Jenkins, Cliff Richard, System Of A Down, numerous UK comedians, and one of my Favourites, Dame Edna Everage.
Since you’re pretty much and honorary Capetonian now, what are some of your favourite spots in the city?
I love Aquila Safari Park. Every time I’m there it’s just can’t get enough. I like driving around the coast towards the 12 Apostles. The V&A Waterfront is such a picturesque place and Cape Point is always a great experience.
You’re becoming a Funny Festival veteran. What keeps you coming back every time?
Doing the Funny Fest is always a pleasant challenge as it is late nights and early mornings, but the most rewarding thing is sharing a stage with some of the best people I will ever meet in my lifetime. During the month’s performances, you become more than a team of guys and gals who think that they’re funny. We become family and it stays that way, way beyond the show. For that, I will come back as many times as requested.
You’re not what one would describe a traditional stand-up act. How would you describe your comedy?
I love making people laugh and the Funny Fest gives me a chance to be random, which is the best type of comedy, the unexpected kind. It’s more than just an on the spot comeback laced with wit; it’s “no-brainer” in your face, “look-at-me-and-laugh” type stuff.
What reliably crack you up from day-to-day? What is your go-to laugh on any occasion?
Guy McDonald and the Good Hope FM breakfast show. Waking up and starting my day with the talented people I work with is more than motivating. Laughs run like Usain Bolt with a tummy ache off air at our humble SABC studio.
30 Seconds To Mars’s ‘Closer to the Edge’ video…YouTube it and witness the awesomeness that inspired me one morning a few years ago. It was expressive, it was personality-laden, it was me!
* Tickets cost R150 each and are available through Computicket. There are generous discounts for group ticket sales. The line-up is subject to change without prior notice.