The Jive Cape Town Funny Festival celebrates its tenth anniversary at the Baxter Theatre this year, with a run that includes both local heavy weights and top international performers.
The Festival enjoys the support of the City of Cape Town, as the project has grown into a blue chip event on the Mother City’s winter event calendar.
Marc Lottering, Nik Rabinowitz and Riaad Moosa, who have all performed on the Funny Festival in past years, will make a celebratory appearance for a week each, as will the UK’s foremost piano comedian, Kev Orkian.
The Festival will also showcase the evergreen actress and soap star Shaleen Surtie-Richards, as the mistress of ceremonies, in her first introduction to stand-up comedy. The four-week Festival runs at the Baxter Theatre from May 26 until June 22.
Over the last 10 years, the Jive Cape Town Funny Festival has been the springboard for local emerging comedians to launch their careers.
Festival director Eddy Cassar has assembled a strong group of international comedians which include performers from Japan, the UK, Germany, Australia and the US. Cassar’s fondness for speciality acts is evident, as the international group includes artists from Cirque du Soleil and the popular international travelling cabaret show, ‘La Soiree’.
German artist and Cirque du Soleil headliner, Christian Lindemann travels the globe as “the world’s best pick-pocket” while Freddie Mercury’s alter ego and master juggler, Mario Queen of the Circus, joins the Funny Festival after a long stint in his home town of New York, with ‘La Soiree’.
Japanese multi-media performer, Yosuke Ikeda combines graphic art, mime and music in an interesting piece, which opens the show.
The international contingent is completed with Australia’s top comedienne and multi-award winner, Felicity Ward. Lindemann, Mario, Queen of the Circus, Ikeda and Ward will perform for the full festival.
The Funny Festival supports young local talent. To this end, University of Cape Town third year theatre and performance student, Schalk Bezuidenhout, whose rise in the industry has been nothing short of meteoric, will make his debut on the Funny Festival stage.
The winner of the Good Hope FM Laugh Master Competition also gets a spot on the show.
Past winners include Oliver Booth and Irshaad Mohamed, both of whom have become very industrious performers on the local comedy scene.
The 2014 winner will be chosen from a record entry of fifty seven hopefuls. The Laugh Master initiative has fast become an important developmental stage for aspirant comedians.
The Funny Festival would not be the same if it were not for the hilarious antics of Good Hope FM breakfast co-presenter Carl Wastie, whose embarrassment threshold knows no bounds.
The Funny Festival is popular with local clubs and charities, which use its generous discount pricing to raise funds.
“The Funny Festival was a natural progression in my association with the comedy industry. As the founder of the country’s first comedy festival, the Smirnoff Comedy Festival in 1997, the project ran its course and allowed me to introduce strategic changes, which created the concept we know today as the Funny Festival,” says Funny Festival director, Eddy Cassar.
The changes included removing profanities from the subject matter, introducing speciality acts to the bill and involving the audience in the show.
*Tickets are available through Computicket, with substantial discounts for groups of more than ten.