Loyiso Gola for President

2009-08-18 12:03

Loyiso Gola is probably the funniest young black comedian working the South African stage at the moment. To say his routine is 'observational' and his wit 'razor-sharp' is to just throw a few adjectives around. You really have to be seated in front of him to appreciate the man’s genius – you have to be there in the audience, taking in his barrage of unruly, rebellious, irreverent, socially conscious and (of course) side-splittingly hilarious banter.

And that’s what it feels like watching Loyiso Gola for President on the big screen. Sure, watching stand-up comedy in the cinema doesn’t bring the same experience as seeing it live, but the same electricity is carried over regardless. You’re still captivated by the performance and, if there’s any drawback, it’s the little tinges of envy you find yourself feeling towards the members of the on-screen audience. But even those soon pass as the act gets into full swing – and besides, in the cinema you can enjoy lingering close-ups of those squirming front-row saps who fall prey to the comedian’s scathing gaze.

And once you’ve forgotten about the whole cinema vs. live issue (it should take you close to two minutes) you realise that Loyiso Gola for President is really, truly hilarious – and smart, too. Gola has a way of throwing you into fits of laughter and then easing you back down with an insightful anecdote, before doing it all over again. From the moment he gets into it, right up until he hangs up his mic, the young comic has you convulsing in your seat.

Viewers will certainly agree that the thing that fascinates us most about the show is Gola’s unique voice and how he uses it to comment on the post-apartheid South African experience. The suave, metropolitan comic has a go at everything from township anthems and members of the press, to South African accents, white intellectuals, 80s South African popular culture, Parisian cab drivers and Helen Zille.

Having embarked on his career while he was still at school, Gola (who's just 25 years old) has been performing for eight years now. You can tell from his acute sense of timing that he’s had enough experience to learn how to work a crowd – a skill that no doubt contributed to him being the first South African comedian to receive a South African Comedy award.

Young as he may be, the Cape Town native knows his stuff. Loyiso Gola for President is the first performance to be featured in Nu Metro's Podium Comedy Series, bringing the best in local and international comic talent to the big screen. Loyiso Gola for President will be screened at all Nu Metro theatres nationwide for one night only - 20 August 2009, at 8PM.

Other comedians to look forward to in the series include Mel Miller, Trevor Noah, Riaad Moosa, Kagiso Lediga, Cedric the Entertainer, Steve Harvey, Katt Williams, Dylan Moran and many more to be announced.

Do yourself a favour and go see it. Your only disappointment will be that when you scream for an encore there won’t be any response from the projected celluloid.

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