Funny festival laughing all the way to the bank
TWENTY years ago, publicist Eddy Cassar never dreamt his funny festival would be described as Cape Town’s biggest comedy festival.
Cassar has proven the funny business is a money business like any other.
Back for its 13th instalment, the Jive Cape Town Funny Festival will take place from July 10 to August 6 at the Baxter Theatre.
Its stellar line-up of acts consists of internationally acclaimed comedians Captain Frodo (Norway), Mario, Queen of the Circus ( US) and Paul Dabek (England). Locals standups include Alan Committie, Marc Lottering, Loyiso Madinga, Dalin Oli- ver, Ndumiso Lindi, Mel Jones and Daniel Mpilo Richards. Having a public relations and communications background has been key for the business, but how has he sustained a festival of this magnitude for so long? “There is no doubt comedy is a hobby, and brand building, communications and PR is a job. So it’s a nice combination. “In this business it becomes important to be professional with sponsors in collecting money… Those business skills assisted in the project’s longevity. It certainly is a business. Comedians are the ultimate entrepreneurs; they are selling their skill and they have to do all the business admin, all the marketing, everything themselves. It’s a business venture, but at the end of the day it gives me a thrill to take an unknown name and showcase it. People start earning money from their hobby, it’s a fantastic thing to see.”
Starting his business post-1994 was smooth sail- ing for Cassar because there was “an explosion” of local talent.
“All I did was basically har- ness that explosion of this new art form and showcase it. I never expected the reaction from the public and I never thought it would last for 20 years.
“To be a funny person is just not enough, you have to have entrepreneurial skills… There are numerous comics in this country who make a handsome living through their skill.” The festival will host 30 shows and by the end of it about 19 000 people would have seen them. Over the years, Cassar has scouted for local comedians on the underground scene. “There is a strong underground comedy scene, especially in taverns and shebeens and alternative areas such as Observatory. I am interested in exposing the guys who are working in shebeens and taverns and have developed their own network of venues in those areas.”