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September 08, 2010

Nando’s Comedy Festival rocks the Baxter Theatre

nandos comedy fest

Michael Mittermeir performing at the 2009 Nando’s Comedy Festival in Cape Town. Photo courtesy Christoph Lenz

Proposed media tribunals, public service strikes and tragic road accidents are a stark reminder of the realities of life. Everyone yearns to regain some of that wonderful World Cup euphoria. As that is not going to happen anytime soon, why not head to the Baxter Theatre in Rondebosch, where the foundations are shaking in time to the audience’s laughter?

Good Hope FM and M-Net, in association with Graça, are presenting the 14th annual Nando’s Cape Town Comedy Festival, which runs until Sunday September 19. It’s the continent’s biggest comedy event and, to date, has presented more than 160 international acts to well over 100 000 fans, placing it among the world’s top five comedy events.

Re-experience the soccer gees (“spirit”) – or at least have a bellyful of laughs – by watching one of the “riot” of top comedians currently performing in the shadow of Table Mountain.

Award-winning stand-up comic Trevor Noah has taken the country by storm and propelled himself into the stratosphere in nanoseconds. He’s good looking, charming and sharp witted, and has already performed all over the country. Perhaps one of his early, notable achievements was being the only South African comedian to make it to the audition of NBC’s Last Comic Standing in Miami, in the US.

Noah has more than enough polish and dazzle to go round; he has appeared on radio, hosted TV shows, appeared in commercials and emceed big events. Right now, in case you’ve missed it, he’s all over town in a larger-than-life format as “customer experience officer” for Cell C.

Catch Noah on stage on September 11 and 12, and again from September 16 to 19.

Jonathan Arons, who hails from the Big Apple, already has a Grammy under his belt. He plays the trombone, dances, writes and, as a member of the Chops Horns, has backed up R&B artists such as Aretha Franklin, Alicia Keys, Mariah Carey, the Temptations and Gloria Gaynor. Arons has equally impressive “street cred” in the jazz and big band genres, but he is best-known for being the “trombone dancer” on top US TV shows.

Arons comes from a long line of artists and civil rights activists, and is proudly continuing the family traditions through performing and education.

Australian Dave Thornton has a fluid style and a ready, razor-sharp wit. In addition to his comedy work on stage, he has acted in an ongoing role for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and worked on radio as well. He has performed in a variety of comedy venues, toured abroad and worked with comedians such as Adam Hills, Tripod, Dave Hughes and many more.

Bobby Lee’s family planned for him to take over the family business in California, but after he was spotted during one of his local comedy stints, his future suddenly looked very different. Comedian Pauly Shore recognised Lee’s talent in 1995 and invited him to open his Las Vegas act. Lee went on to work for Shore’s mother, the famous Mitzi Shore, who owns the Comedy Store.

Lee later landed a cast role on US sketch comedy television series MADtv, becoming an audience favourite. Famous for his pain-inducing, physical humour, he has created his own hilarious characters and impressed audiences with his “takes” on well-known figures, including one-time presidential hopeful John McCain. He has also performed successfully on the silver screen, including in the comedy Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle.

Other “funny” names on the Nando’s Comedy Festival bill include Mo Mandel, Ian Bagg, Orny Adams and Ava Vidal.

Shows are not recommended for children under the age of 16 and each show lasts about two hours. For more information on the schedule, prices and discounts, and to find out who is performing when, visit www.comedyfestival.co.za or www.baxter.co.za.

The Nando’s Comedy Festival doesn’t only offer a platform for established comedians. Comedy newcomers get to take to the stage in the Graça Comedy Showdown. Don’t miss the final of the showdown on Monday September 13 at Zula Bar on Long Street at 21h00. The winner will perform alongside international comedy heavyweights on Sunday September 19.

To book your table at the Graça Comedy Showdown, phone +27 (0)21 424 2442.

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