Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Laff your lungs out: the art of comedy

Local comedy has never been in such a good place. The comedy industry is Botswana is growing in leaps and bounds and 2013 is proving to be a particularly great year for the Laff-A-Lot comedy crew who are part of the association Comedy for Nation of Botswana (COFONABO).

The new home of comedy, Cresta President Hotel, has also proven to be a hit with the patrons as past shows managed to have sold out crowds.

The Laff-A-Lot crew has so far hosted top notch South African comedians Thapelo ‘Shampoo’ Seemise, Mashabela Galane, Nicholas Welch aka Pule, Franco Skim Sa Mapantsula and Roni Modimola who had rave reviews in local media and the public alike.

In their quest to present fresh and innovative concepts, Laff-A-Lot is back with their annual national tour, bigger and better. According to a Press statement released by Laff-A-Lot last week, the 2013 tour is peculiar as for the first time they have secured sponsorship for workshops that will be held before comedy shows.

Attendants of the workshops will be given a chance to showcase what they have learnt during live stand-up shows. The workshops are sponsored by the Department of Arts & Culture under the Ministry of Youth, Sport & Culture.

The Laff-A-Lot Comedy Workshops & Tour will be a four-town comedy series, which are set to build capacity while elevating standup comedy to mainstream level in the country’s entertainments sector.
The tour kicks off in Tshabong on 26 October at Mokha Lodge where Brooks hails from. It will then proceed to Gaborone on 1st November at Cresta President Hotel, followed by Selibe Phikwe on 8 November at Travel Inn. The Grand Finale will be held in Maun for the 1st time at Maun Lodge on 23 November, where Laff-A-Lot has 4 comedians.

The workshops will be conducted by Laff-A-Lot pioneers Modiri ‘Mod’ Keseabetswe and Bafana ‘Ribcracker’ Letsatsi, and event coordinator/manager Gaolathe Kediemetse. The main target for the workshops is to have at least 3 female comedians per workshop out of the 15 expected participants. This will help to build a pool of female comics around the country. According to Ribcracker, “There is still a huge gap left for female comics to fill in Botswana, and we hope by conducting such workshops will encourage more talented female comedians to come up and hone their skills. Laff-A-Lot is always ready to help and develop talent, and also give a platform to all upcoming comedians so we build a vibrant industry”.

The upcoming tour includes performances by 2013 President Day Competition Winner Kabo ‘Order’ Keitheng, Ouza Elijah, Sendimbah ‘Stokie’ Shitah, Jacob Tshweneyagae, Odirile Brooks, Zimbabwean born Charles Manase, Goodwill ‘Goodie’ Tlokwe, Phenyo ‘The Master’ Phaladi, Augustus ‘Legusty’ Mokgadi, Modiri ‘Mod’ Keseabetswe, Bafana ‘Ribcracker’ Letsatsi, Paphani ‘Paps’ Masalila and upcoming comics. The Gaborone show will have a specific focus on female comics and its dubbed ‘The Three Queens of Comedy’ as it features Kelly ‘Rekunde’ Mophaleng, Amantle ‘1st Lady’ Mmonadibe, and top South Africa Female Comic Lindzy ‘Lihle’ Msimang.

The Laff-A-Lot comedy crew has also been invited take part in the monthly Mafikeng Comedy Jam shows. Ribcracker and Charles will take part in the show for this month while Brooks and Rekunde will be featured next month. Brooks, Mod & Ribcracker have also been invited to perform at Morula Sun Casino & Hotel in Pretoria on 30 October. Ribcracker who has the experience of performing in South Africa will also open for the highly rated Trevor Noah when he will be in Botswana in November.

“We have had tremendous support for our past shows from both the public and the media alike and we would like to thank them dearly. We promise a scorcher of a tour with this production as we promise to surpass all the previous shows with brand new concept of fresh comedy,” says Kediemetse, who is also the media liaison officer. “The main aim really is to spread awareness about standup comedy as an alternative form of entertainment that is abundant in Botswana. But the ultimate goal is help comedians turn their talent in to a livelihood.”

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