However racist we think South Africans are, the Americans can do it far more professionally – and shamelessly enjoy it too. They’ve even exported an all-black comedy tour to show South Africans how it’s done. How comedy is done, I mean, but we all learned fresh things about the colour charts too. By LESLEY STONES.
The Black Tie Comedy Tour claims to be fielding some of the funniest stand-up comic from the US in a lengthy show that’s certainly far funnier than any previous collections of local or visiting comics. The show is hosted by Godfrey, a charming, stylish guy with an amazingly malleable face that makes his expressions as funny as his gags. He’s got almost home-turf advantage, coming from Nigerian stock, and his tales of domestic life under a Nigerian father had the audience in hysterics. Godfrey does a welcome stint in between each of the other comics, and by the end of his act my jaw was aching.
Reece Waters is far more laid back, and like Godfrey, he’s also done his local homework and added plenty of material about South Africa. It’s hilarious to hear the cutting comments of a fresh perspective on our familiar situations. If you want to pick up white women, go to the Apartheid Museum he says. So when they’re feeling guilty about the past they can make up for it in the present.
All six comics in the line-up venture inevitably into sex, some more deeply than others, so to speak. The crudest and least funny was Roz G, the only woman in the line-up. Female comics are often far more vulgar than their male counterparts, as if they want to somehow over-compensate to earn their place on stage. But her humour didn’t go down too well, partly because her rapid-fire delivery in a thick US accent was largely indecipherable. I may have missed some funny lines in the drawl, but somehow I doubt it. Another disappointment was Earthquake, who gets a big billing and the biggest walk-on applause but didn’t delight the audience as much as the others; leaving the show heading towards a flatter ending until Godfrey breezed back on to pep us up again.
The themes were pretty standard fare, endless sex, lots of black and white differences, and a fabulous piece about flying from Wil Sylvince. Sylvince was another treat, using his Haitian background to give us a different view of familiar social and political issues. Short and rotund Aries Spears comes on as a street-smart rapper dude, delivering more observations about sex and some hilarious differences between black and white women that had all colours in the audience howling. He ends with a rap act that got a semi-standing ovation.
What the comics have in common – apart from being all shades of black – is a great sense of timing, a persona of their own, and an original way of thinking. It’s a high-quality yet down-and-dirty show, interspersed with flashes of sophisticated wit to fuel the surprises and the laughter. DM
The Black Tie Comedy Tour runs at Montecasino until Saturday, November 19.
"Joyfully to the breeze royal Odysseus spread his sail and with his rudder skillfully he steered." ~ Homer