The festival will take place at the Alexander Theatre, Orbit Jazz Café, Thirteen and the Bannister Hotel in Braamfontein as well as The Market Theatre and Bassline in the Newtown precinct. With 42 comedians scheduled to take part, this will be one of the biggest gatherings of comedy talent ever assembled on the continent.
There will also be fringe shows staged at Braamfontein venues; Kitcheners, Great Dane and Anti Establishment. These shows will feature emerging talent in the build up to the festival from Monday, 2 and Wednesday, 4 November.
The Johannesburg International Comedy Festival is built around key concept shows each featuring a great mix of local favourites and specifically chosen international talent.
The shows will be hosted by a spread of comedians including Loyiso Gola, Ndumiso Lindi, John Vlismas, Kagiso Lediga, Tats Nkonzo and Mashabela.
The local contingent of acts includes the likes of Jason Goliath, Donovan Goliath, Trevor Gumbi, Deep Fried Man, Celeste Nthuli, Stuart Taylor, Loyiso Madinga, Carvin Goldstone, Siya B, Nina Hastie, Smowkey Nyembe and Tracey Lee Oliver.
World class continental talent will be represented by the likes of Salvado [Uganda], Daliso Chaponda [Malawi], and Carl Joshua Ncube [Zimbabwe] amongst others. There will also be an array of international talent that’s been carefully curated, including; Maureen Langan, Orlando Baxter, Mike Leibowitz (USA), Francesco de Carlo (Italy) and Yacine Belhousse (France). The Johannesburg International Comedy Festival hopes to be a true representation of the globalization of the stand-up comedy art form.
In a major vote of confidence for comedy in the country, the largest comedy festival in mainland Europe – the Montreux Comedy Festival in Switzerland – has partnered with South African comedy producers Podium Comedy to form Bimha Productions, which will produce The Johannesburg International Comedy Festival.
Says festival director, Takunda Bimha, founder of Podium Comedy, who previously managed Trevor Noah; “I have been dreaming about building a world-class international comedy festival in Jo’burg for some time now and the partnership with Montreux makes it a reality. Podium changed the face of post-apartheid comedy in South Africa, and moving forward, the intention is to play an even more impactful role in the future of the genre on this continent.”
Adds Gregoire Furrer of Montreux Comedy in Sweden; “The Johannesburg International Comedy Festival will put the country firmly on the worldwide comedy map as one of the most important comedy properties in Africa. After 25-years of producing Europe’s biggest comedy festival, we are extremely excited about this new opportunity and the adventure that lies ahead.”
“It’s great to be part of a festival that’s an organic extension of the burgeoning subculture of the Johannesburg inner city. In Braamfontein, a creative energy fills the air. It’s a precinct where artists are pushing the boundaries. Now, this festival does the same, its taking us away from the monotony of the big casino venues and plugging us into the heart of the city. This is awesome; we are making history for comedy, for Johannesburg and for Africa,” says creative director Kagiso Lediga.