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Soli Philander on the future of SA comedy: 'Now more than ever before, comedy is a career'

2019-07-13 20:00
Soli Philander
Soli Philander (Photo: Gallo Images)

Johannesburg – On Wednesday the nominees for the Savanna Comics Choice Awards were announced at a press lunch held in Johannesburg. 

Among those recognised on the day was veteran comedian Soli Philander who was honoured as the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Speaking to Channel24 about what winning this prestigious title means, Soli says it was a humbling experience.

"The fact that it was other comedians that bestowed this honour upon me is intensely humbling. There are some extraordinary comedians out there, so it's really a little overwhelming. I feel incredibly honoured."

The comedian also points out why he believes SA comics are stand-out acts compared to their counterparts from around the globe. "I think South African comedians have owned the idea of outspokenness. Not just outspokenness for the sake of being outspoken, but being outspoken on issues and things that affect other South Africans. They're very courageous." 

With years of experience behind his name, Soli has watched the landscape of the SA comedy scene change over time. He tells us one of the most significant differences with comedy today is the sheer magnitude of the industry. "Just in terms of numbers, the growth is remarkable." 

Something else that has altered is the way people view comedy. According to Soli, "now more than ever before, comedy is a career."

He hopes to see more parents encouraging their kids to take on the industry. "I'd like to see parents and caregivers less reticent about the idea of their children wanting to pursue a career in comedy. I would say encourage your children; it is an industry."