The audience at Maitisong is getting younger. A goal that the recent Maitisong Director, Gao Lemmenyane, in his fifth month in office at the 20-year-old arts centre determined in a past interview with the The Sunday Standard. He planned to attract the younger locals to the theatre.
Evidently, he has but with paltry attendance at the Maitisong on Friday for the Evening of Laughter & Fun, showcasing NuBreed Comedy Jamz, it is clear that Maitisong needs to tune up their ‘bums on seats’ game for shows that they organise. The attendance, though, was better than the previous edutainment play, Money for Shoes.
The stand-up comedy collective based in Jo’burg were invited in response to a survey that revealed that Maitisong theatre-goers wanted to see more comedy at the art centre. A comedy club was formed and they brought over three black stand-up comedians from Jo’burg named Kedibone Mulaudzi, Thomas Gumede, Nqoba Nqcobo and a white comedian named Karl, whose surname was indiscernible every time it was mentioned.
Thomas Gumede, who also served as the evening’s compeer, performed the first set, breaking the ice successfully by adapting material about his new experiences of visiting Botswana. Creating familiarity by relating his observations of Botswana and Batswana. He says they (the visiting comics) discovered their luggage had been stolen on arrival and were frisked by security after the ordeal. He talks about the encounter with mobile phones call centre cues, the Orange headquarters building which is actually white. Batswana who use, ‘the rand is weak’ as the reason for not accepting South African Rands in stores.
Kedibone Mulaudzi, who founded the NuBreed Comedy Jamz, performed the second round, to endless laughter. Mulaudzi, who began his professional comedic career in 2003, poked fun at local urban dance/house songwriting, childhood whippings, and Sotho church translators who embellish their metaphrasing at Crusades, changing phrases such as ‘if you love God, you should dance for him,’ to ‘Kwaito is decaying our kids.’ He also referred to the stolen luggage using the stolen luggage slip for comic relief.
Politically incorrect humour dominated Karl’s routine, which included Etv’s movie trailer voice-overs, giving natural disasters personalities. Karl’s obvious strength is his range of accents, which padded the reception of his jokes. The audience responded unexpectedly favourably.
Performing last was Nqoba Ngcobo, who stars in the South African performing arts school set soapie, Backstage and reportedly a favourite in the Jo’burg live comic circuit. He was repeatedly hailed as the headline act by Thomas Gumede. The heavy set comedian gave a one dimensional performance delivering a series of one liners, about relationships, alcohol, and weight control that prompted oft hesitant laughter.
The NuBreed Comedy show was very enjoyable and though comedy is one of the most difficult one man acts requiring comedians to quickly suss out the audiences’ dislikes and likes and adapt, Nqoba probably had an ‘off day’ but backed down gracefully.