Vernac comedy routines a hit at the Savanna Newcomer showcase

“In stand-up you either kill or you die”, stated Kagiso Lediga to the brimming audience of comedy enthusiasts who turned out in their masses to support SA’s newest comedy talent at the Savanna Newcomer Showcase on 6 May. Now in its second year, this year’s installment saw 36 up-and-coming comics each get five minutes on stage at the Soweto Theatre before being buzzed off by the event’s outstanding MC, Kagiso Lediga.

As well as friends and family of the cast and stand-up fans, the audience was made up of over fifty of SA’s top comedians such as Alyn Adams, Celeste Ntuli, Jason Goliath, Ndumiso Lindi and Eureka Nkese. They’d all been invited to see the newcomers in action so that they could cast an informed vote in the ‘Savanna Newcomer Award’ category at The 4th Annual South African Savanna Comic’s Choice Awards® (CCA), which takes place in August.

The newcomers were flown in by Savanna from all over the country and delivered the performance of their lives! Loyiso Madinga (a 2013 nominee) had the audience howling with tears of laughter with his rendition of a Sotho/English song, whereas first time entrant Stuart Cairns killed it with his Takalani Sesame reenactment and Zulu football commentating. The audience was treated to rapping, one-liners, storytelling and strummed guitar liedjies about sunburn, but it was the comedy in vernac that raised the roof and had fans springing to their feet for standing ovations.

Lots of entrants means a really long show, but MC Kagiso (affectionately known in the industry as Kags but as “The Savanna Guy” by the public) knew just when to amp the crowd and keep the vibe alive. Of course there were one or two newbies that bombed, but in a room full of comedians that was almost as funny as the guys who were great, especially with Kags spurring them on.

Liezl Dippenaar, Savanna’s marketing manager was thrilled with the outcome. “Positioned as The Official Drink of Funny, Savanna finds dry humour in unexpected moments, clever wordplay and poking fun at stereotypes – just like Kags. With a 25% increase in registered comedians for this year’s Savanna CCA’s, we’re happy to provide a platform for emerging talent to have their potential recognized with theatres erupting in applause.”

Voting only closes on 22 June, so winners weren’t announced on the night, but if you want to see who manages to scoop up one of the six awards come to the show. The Savanna CCA’s, in association with The Times, Mzansi Magic and Kaya FM, takes place on 2 August at The Teatro at Montecasino. Tickets will be available from Computicket.

You could also win a VIP experience by voting for your favourite comedian within the only category open for public vote; The Savanna Audience Choice Award category. Visit www.comicschoice.co.za and SMS the unique code of your favourite comedian to the voting line, giving your best SA comic the chance to win.

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