Rolling with the punchlines
IN JUST more than a decade on the comic boards, Loyisa Gola has not done a solo show at the Baxter. Plans for a two-week gig fell through when the superb satirical TV show Late Nite News with Loyiso Gola was nominated for an international Emmy award.
That means he has had to cut his Baxter season to five shows, on November 19 to 23, before heading to New York for the Emmy ceremony on November 25.
His Baxter show is simply billed Loyiso Gola Live. There is no opening act; no band.
“It is pure stand-up. It’s just me and the audience,” he says. “The tickets are priced low at R60 to R80.”
Cheap seats? “Yeah, I wanted everyone to be able to see the show.”
After the Baxter and the Emmys, Gola will do gigs in London and Switzerland. The latter is a new spot for him but for the past eight months, he has been going to London once a month to do gigs on the vibrant comedy circuit.
In his shows abroad, he is sometimes introduced as a South African, but often he is not. “We are not American but we understand Chris Rock. I don’t have to be British or anything else to tell comedy. One doesn’t need another narrative to be funny in another country – you’re funny anywhere.”
LNN is on a Sky TV network in the UK and becoming popular. In London, people come up to him and tell him they recognise him from TV. The show has not been picked up in the US, but he is hoping that may change from the buzz surrounding the Emmys. LNN has been nominated in the comedy category of the Emmy’s global competition.
Gola says that The Office won two years ago in this category. “I want to win,” he declares.
LNN is screened in South Africa on eNCA and on e.tv.
The Gugulethu- born comic knew what he wanted just over a decade ago when he headed for Jozi to make his way in comedy at the age of 19.
He had started doing stand-up at school and then cut his teeth in Obz on the Cape Comedy Collective, but then it was time to move.
“Cape Town was too small for me,” he said over cappuccino last week at the House of Machines in Shortmarket Street. Gola, 30, is not shy about saying what he means and he is known for his hard-hitting observational comedy.
Before the advent of LNN three years ago, he was in countless TV series, but it is in LNN that he has moved to the forefront of developing a uniquely South African comedy platform that I reckon can hold its own against acts like John Stewart and The Colbert Report.
Gola works with a hugely talented bunch of writers, such Kagiso Lediga and Conrad Koch. Beyond the humour, each episode gives a succinct précis of what’s going on in the Rainbow Nation. For instance, when the secercy bill was being punted, LNN explained it all – never mind in plain English, but in plain comedy. I for one did not understand what was going on until I watched its critique, truly.
In between the hectic shooting schedule for the LNN – wrapping up its eighth season on November 28 – Gola has been performing at premier comedy festivals, including in Edinburgh and Montreal. Catch him while you can as with a schedule like his, who knows when he’ll back in Cape Town.
● Tickets R60-R80 from Computicket at 0861 915 8000.
FIVE-NIGHT STAND: Loyisa Gola is set to tickle Capetonians’ funny bones.