A Review: The Durbs Comedy Fest

Jil, our brand spankingly new Zero31 team member and citizen, reviews the Durbs leg of the Nando’s Comedy Festival that took place this weekend at the ICC. Her and Dark Knight popped along to let us know what we missed out on.

We’re dedicating this week on the blog to the South African comedy scene, amongst other things… what that has ended up meaning is that you can look forward to an interview with local comedic hero Nik Rabinowitz. Too amped.

Have fun!

Michael Loftus and Dan Cummins at the Durban Comedy Festival

That's me... Jil, already rubbing shoulders with my first comedy celebs: Michael Loftus and Dan Cummins.

Dear Durban,

I’m newish here, and I’ve finally been indoctrinated with your inside jokes and fondest amusing memories. I’ve made progress to becoming a local. For a month I was the awkward chick on the side coming into convos and laughing on queue, saying arb things like “Ha ha good one Barry. What? Oh sorry, obviously I knew your name was Claire”, and “Oh ja, I remember that night that we all remember so well and now laugh about cause it was funny and I know this cause I was there…not”. I now know! I’m no longer the awkward chick on the side who laughs for the heck of it (whom I kidding, I was born the awkward chick), but I now laugh in union with you all, in understanding of your sense of humour. How did I manage to reach this you ask? One glorious friday night out with the Dark Knight to the Nando’s Comedy Festival.

I was a last-minute step in as a zero31 representative as Factory was stuck in some far away place and wasn’t gonna make it back in time for the Comedy Festival. I was stoked, evilly so, but I had my game plan and I could now set it in action. Obviously I just couldn’t let Dark Knight attend on her own, it was dark and rainy and I just couldn’t. Plus someone had to understand the Afrikaans jokes. So I offered to take the burden of going to the very unappealing Comedy Fest, to keep Dark Knight company and laugh with her and have something in common with her other than dark hair. So it came to pass that my suggestion was accepted and we were off.

Realizing that we were now somewhat late, Dark Knight geared down and got us there within minutes, ’cause we didn’t want to miss a thing, not even the lines to get in. Upon arrival at the ICC, we smiled as we saw a mass of cars lined up to get parking. Sighing with relief at the fact that we live in Africa and no fool would ever be there on time, we had made it. The place was packed. Parking was as scarce as a unicorn in a horror film. But after a quick prayer we found one and started our long walk to freedom (happy birthday Madiba. sorry I’m late, I’m shocking with dates). Everyone was smiling and laughing, and the show hadn’t even started. We found our seats in time and the show began.

Dave Thornton at the Durban Comedy Festival

Dave Thornton... Mr. Casual.

Mark Eddie kicked it off with insane impersonations of muso’s and showed off some seriously good guitar skills. He engaged with the audience from the get go, setting the vibe  and pace for the evening. He turned out to be the MC-type guy, and after his little set, introduced us to the first act, Dan Cummins. He was fuh-nee, poking fun at how bizarrely slow Durban moves. It’s true, you can’t deny it.

Next up was Capetonian Nik Rabinowitz. The oke speaks isiXhosa, rad! He owned the crowd with his different SA cultural impersonations. It’s always funnier when you have more in common with the comedian. Just the way he was, the way he presented himself, he was born for this. iYoh iyoh iyoh iyoh iyoh…(if you were there, you’d get that). Then came a Mr. Michael Loftus. He’s one of the writers for the George Lopez show. He’s an old hand at this, he was comfortable and did his thing, laughing at his own jokes. Love it when they do that.

Queue short 15 minute intermission. Note the space between these two paragraphs to emphasize the pointlessness of the afore-mentioned intermission. Only nicotine addicted humans enjoyed this time, the rest of us wanted more. Anyway…

Opening the second session was Australian Dave Thornton. The poor oke was playfully booed by us as he walked on stage, all for being Australian. I say us, but it was more like everyone else in the auditorium besides Dark Knight and I who were too busy squinting to see the stage. Understanding the strong rugby heritage that we South Africans carry (again, I say we when it’s just those who watch rugby, which turned out to be quite a large amount there), he caught the reason behind the taunt and happily fought back. Once we were all friends, he got comfy and entertained. Next up was the Graca Comedian winner Carvin H. “A recovering anorexic”, poking fun at his waists girth, was the best opening line of the night. He had everyone’s attention, not because he was South African, let alone a Durbanite, but because he was funny and confidently so. The only downfall was his sets length, it was way too short. Bleak.

Steve Byrne at the Durban Comedy Festival

Steve Byrne

Finally it was the headliner of the Durban shows, Steve Byrne. A Comedy Central regular, he was happily at home on stage. Definitely not my favourite, but everyone else seemed to enjoy him. Back onto the stage after him was the talented MC, Mark Eddie. Between each comedian he’d do a little set then introduce then next guy. He is a talented guitar player, and I really dug the way he incorporated the whole muso thing into his sets. He ended it by saying he wished he was in a band, and whoosh! The curtains behind him dropped and a whole band was set up and within seconds they were jamming. Lights flashing, sound roaring through the auditorium. An epic way to end a hilarious evening. Everyone cheered.

Mark Eddie closing the Durban Comedy Festival

Mark Eddie closes the show like a mofo...

Overall, great night out. Personal faves were definitely the local boys Nik Rabinowitz and Carvin H, they got the best laughs. And as far as the international acts went, the Australian Dave Thornton got my vote. His Afrikaans line was the only one that everyone in the crowd understood very, very well. We’ve all either been at the receiving or giving end of his comment. Lets just say, your mother wouldn’t be pleased…

Got picked on by camera haters behind us. Posed awkwardly for a pic with Dan Cummins and Michael Loftus. Laughed far too much. Definitely a win for a friday night. If you didn’t go, you missed out massively..! Dark Knight and I left with happy hearts, sore stomach muscles and pained cheeks.

Your new neighbour,