SA comedians unite to bring the laughs during Covid-19 relief comedy festival

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Johannesburg – How does a comedian come up with good material during a difficult, dark time that is marred by death and destruction?

Well-known South African comedian Jason Goliath admits it was a challenge at first during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“In the beginning, it was difficult to understand what audiences really wanted,” Goliath told the Saturday Star.

“What made it easier was that I was in the same position as everyone else. Everyone in South Africa was affected by this pandemic, so it made it easier to come up with material that is relateable, funny, and not offensive.

“What was difficult however was finding the version/recipe for entertaining crowds in the digital space.”

Having worked tremendously hard on new material during the lockdown, Goliath is delighted to be returning to stage to perform his new material live in front of South Africans.

This weekend, Goliath, along with some of the best comedians in the country which include the likes of Sifiso Nene, David Kau, Celeste Ntuli, Ndumiso Lindi, Joey Rasdien, Mpho Popps, Nina Hastie, Robby Collins, and many others will come together at the Radisson Hotel in Johannesburg for the Covid Relief mini-comedy festival.

The festival, which is hosted by The Johannesburg International Comedy Festival (JICF) and Radisson Red, kicked off last night and will run until Sunday.

The festival, in association with the Department of Arts and Culture, is set to deliver some desperately needed laughs over three hilariously jam-packed days, offering some comedic relief during this pandemic year.

The unique comedy showcase will also involve panel discussions, podcasts, behind-the-scenes digital content, as well as photo opportunities, and after-show drinks – all of which fans can partake in.

The Saturday Star caught up with some of the comedians to chat about the pandemic and how life has changed for them.

Nina Hastie. Picture: Instagram

Comedian and actress Nina Hastie

The best Covid-19 pandemic joke you have come up with so far is….?

I think the best Covid-19 pandemic joke I have is the National Arts Council.

What is the best pandemic pick-up line you have heard?

These questions are tricky… I heard someone say are you Covid-19 because you take my breath away.

If you could go back in time and prepare yourself for the pandemic, what would you have done differently?

If I could go back in time and prepare myself for the pandemic I wouldn’t do anything differently other than maybe have married rich.

The best and worst thing about having to wear a mask is….?

The best thing about wearing a mask is that people can’t always see your face or expression. The worst thing about wearing a mask is that people can’t always see your facial expression. My face is very expressive people deserve to see that thing, it’s literally a gift.

SA comedian Robby Collins. Supplied image.

Comedian, writer and actor Robby Collins

How important of a role does comedy play in coping with the Covid-19 pandemic?

We have all lost someone or something to this pandemic. And right now is a time for healing. And comedy creates that space. To be able to sit together and laugh through our pain is important. We can’t get back what we’ve lost, but laughing about it together can help make us realize that we are not alone in all of this and hopefully lead to a kinder society.

The best and worst thing about the lockdown is…..?

The best thing is not having to come up with an excuse not to see certain people. And the worst part is not seeing certain people.

Jason Goliath

Comedian Jason Goliath

How would you describe the current pandemic to your past self if you could only give loose details?

Nothing will prepare you for what I am about to share, but I promise you, you will be fine. The “world” will be going through a massive change. I know you are not a rules kinda guy, but these rules need to be followed for your safety, but also the safety of those you love, your country, and your industry. Stand-up comedy will not be the same for a while; but people still need to laugh, they need that escapism even more than ever. It is an opportunity to be creative and an opportunity to push yourself out of your comfort zone. So whatever you do, remember to keep it moving. You got this!

What has been the highlight in your life over the past two years during the pandemic?

Even more so now than ever, realizing that time is our most valuable commodity. Use it wisely.

The best pandemic joke you have come up with is…..?

I have a few, keep a lookout for my new one-man show in December. Buy a ticket. Comedians have debit orders too!

COVID Relief takes place at the Radisson RED in Rosebank, from Friday, 1 October to Sunday, 3 October 2021. Tickets are limited so get yours at Webtickets.

For more information you can also visit www.jicf.co.za . Tickets at R155 per ticket and includes a beer or wine on the menu.

The Saturday Star

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