Amid gloom, laughing it off is a growth industry
The Goliaths are the comedy industry equivalent of a Kardashian and Patrice Motsepe love child: sexy meets business savvy. Much like the Kardashians keep rolling out new TV series, the Goliaths keep launching new comedy clubs.
Less than two years after setting up their first in Melrose Arch in Johannesburg, the Goliaths opened a new club in the city last night in Braamfontein.
They are also testing a venue in Menlyn, Pretoria, and plans are afoot to expand further in Gauteng before moving to Cape Town and Durban in the next two years.
It’s an ambitious scheme for the comedians, who left the corporate world in 2011.
“It’s incredibly exciting for us to have our second club. With the Melrose Arch club we were able to give a world-class international comedy stage. Braamfontein is the Oros in the bottle, it’s the concentrate,” Goliath and Goliath director Jason Goliath said this week.
The company is made up of Jason, his sister Kate (MD), cousin Nicholas (operational director) and friend Donovan Goliath (no relation), who is creative director.
Shortly after Nicholas and Jason started their stand-up comedy careers they met Donovan, also a stand-up comedian. The three soon realised there were not enough platforms for comedians to perform.
Fast-forward six years and what started as a “crazy, wonderful, comedy coincidence” for Jason is now a respectable business and one of South African comedy’s strongest brands.
The Braamfontein club in the Bannister Hotel seats up to 80 guests cinema style, giving it the look and feel of a New York-style underground comedy room. Tickets are R80, compared with R150 at the Melrose Arch club.
Not that the price has put patrons off. The multimillion-rand Melrose Arch club can seat up to 220 people and has operated at 70% capacity over the last year.
While patrons were spending less on food and beverages at shows, the Goliaths said ticket sales had remained stable, and they attribute this to comedy’s ability to “transcend the economy” because people want to laugh to try to forget the real world for a while.
“From a comedian’s standpoint, we are looking to make Braamfontein South African comedy’s favourite room,” said Jason.
“Melrose might be the audiences’ favourite room because of the decor and ambience, but for the industry, Braamfontein will become legendary.”
From left, The Goliaths: Jason, Nicholas, Kate and Donovan.