Amid gloom, laugh­ing it off is a growth in­dus­try

Sunday Times - - NEWS - By LEONIE WAG­NER

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.”

Pic­ture: Alon Skuy

From left, The Go­liaths: Ja­son, Ni­cholas, Kate and Dono­van.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.