Rolling with the punch­lines


Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - GOODTHEATRE - ROBYN COHEN

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

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.

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