John Vlismas continues to reinvent himself as the SA comedy landscape evolves. His staying power was especially evident at the 2014 Just For Laughs Festival, Montreal – where he was selected to appear in a television special at the invitation of Comedy Central, which earned him a meeting with Warner Brothers execs.
No longer just performing to public and corporate crowds, Vlismas has entered the realm of producer/director. 2014 saw him spearhead the growth of Whacked:Special Projects from a fledgling production division into a major contributor to the Whacked bottom line, with the creation of top-rating television specials for Comedy Central, corporate videos and an innovative full day conference for 650 retail banking leaders.
While stand-up comedy remains his enduring passion, John has begun to explore the direction/production of several other artist’s works, as well as the design/creation of large line-up comedy shows and creative consulting for large corporate events.
However, this is not to say that John is not still fully involved in performance; he continues to innovate local comedy.
The award-winning comedian still uses his public appearances to push the boundaries and broach taboo subjects, while his ability to work to a tight brief and tailor his work to changing environments ensure that corporate bookings continue to fill his diary.
He is a much sought-after Corporate Comedian, MC and Facilitator, as his production knowledge allows him to fully integrate his role with the event company’s control over the function, ensuring slick and seamless execution.
His insightful presentation on the ability of performers to size up a crowd and move them using a heightened sense of empathy, “The Shared World” has earned rave reviews from the increasing number of companies that have hired him to present during their leadership and strategy sessions.
He was invited to speak at a Nedbank Biz Seminar on the topic of entrepreneurship in the creative industry, and was the only local speaker at the prestigious DSTV Creative Seminar at the 2014 Loeries.
The company he founded, Whacked Management, invests time and energy in finding and developing new talent, facilitating hundreds of talent bookings annually, designing and producing theatre and television and providing management to an expanding list of established acts.
As a Drama student, John won acclaim for his writing, first representing South Africa at the African regional finals of the Interplay World Fest of Young Playwrights in Nairobi and later represented Africa at the World Final in Townsville, Aus.
After two decades of groundbreaking work as a stand-up comic, John Vlismas returned to his roots as an ardent fan of theatre production. He began a production house to fulfill the needs of his talent management company’s stable.
In five years, his work has grown from assisting comedians with their solo theatre shows, to massive corporate events, such as the landmark multi-media extravaganza FNBLand conference, The Daily Maverick Gathering and the XON/NEC Summit – all of which John conceptualized and executed with hand-picked teams.
While building his corporate production portfolio, he has continued to produce work for major theatres such as The Lyric, Teatro, Theatre on the Square, The Soweto Theatre and ArtsCape. His own projects include the iconic Comic’s Choice Awards series of shows, including the Newcomer Showcase, The Grilling of a Lifetime and the ever-popular Main Awards Show.
Startling creative work entwined with an intimate knowledge of traditional and current technical solutions combine to give this creative director an edge.
Add to these qualities twenty years of performing to audiences in 8 countries, and this award-winning performer is able to turn a scribble on a napkin into a high definition show-stopper.
John is currently the creative head of his company’s production division, and on an 8-country roadshow for a major financial services provider, providing a platform for optimum cultural exchange between locals and global leadership.
The function was a great success. John was absolutely perfect – his presentation was on point and talked to the theme extremely well. - Evelyn De Wee, Imperial