Bafunny Bafanasby Daniel Friedman / 15.06.2010
The premise behind Bafunny Bafunny is that if South Africa had to choose a team to represent us at some kind of Comedy World Cup, it would be these guys, complete with cute World Cup nicknames – Barry “the Cousin” Hilton, Kagiso “Ka Ka” Lediga, Markos Santanos Bankos, John “Die Voel” Vlismas, Lloyiso “Laduuuma” Gola, Nik “Bokkie” Rabbinowitz, Trevor “Delicious” Noah and Mark “Long Shot” Lottering. This is the premiere league – the comedy A team. And while some may have issues with the selection (why are names like David Kau, Riaad Moosa, Tumi Morake and Chris Forrest on the bench, you could ask), you have to admit it’s a heavyweight list of funnymen to see on one bill. So impressive is this line-up that I decided to hop into my time machine and brave the casino that time forgot – Carnival City – to check it out for myself.
And as much as my smarmy journalistic side would like to get all critical about the show, this is difficult. See, lately I have started doing the comedy circuit. It’s been going well. And it occurs to me that I have to tread lightly here in my dual role as comic and critic, so I will try not to insult anyone too deeply, for fear that I will end up annoying an important promoter or comic to the point of being told that I’ll “never work in this town again”.
So instead, let’s distract ourselves by talking about Carnival City. It’s very big. And very neon. Some would say that it’s a hideous shrine to excess, greed and money-lust, but I think it’s fairly charming. It’s so tacky that it kind of pushes through the ugliness and emerges on the other side with its own unconventional beauty in tact. It’s on the same level as a Jeff Koons sculpture, or at least a Tretchikoff painting. Ok, I give up. Let’s talk about the show.
My personal highlight was a fart joke told by Kagiso Lediga. It was an unusually stylish fart joke – lyrical and poetic and a little edgy, and it restored my faith in this underrated and misunderstood branch of comedy. Aside from that, I really enjoyed Gola. Vlismas was great although it has to be said that I prefer him in a smaller room (Carnival City Arena was too big for him to pick on people, and the highlight of his shows, for me at least, is the way he relentlessly picks on people), and Lottering was solidly funny. I appreciated the professionalism and craft of Banks and Hilton even though I personally don’t feel their material, and was disappointed in Nik Rabinowitz for doing the same stuff I saw him doing recently in his one-man show uNik, although the crowd, who laughed hysterically, clearly did not share my disappointment.
Then there was Trevor Noah. I would call him the “rock star” of the stand-up circuit, because of how many screaming fans he has, but to tell the truth he’s more like the “head boy” of local comedy. You can understand why he’s so big – he’s charismatic, has a winning smile, wholesome boy-next-door looks and a sense of humour that is fully in touch with the average South African’s desire not to be too hectically challenged. I am not going to hate on him just because he probably gets laid more often than I buy airtime.
Just putting it out there. I hope this doesn’t mean that I’ll “never work in this town again”. If you are an important Joburg-based promoter, call me.
My contact details can be found here. And did I mention that I love your tie?
Bafunny Bafunny is back at Carnival City on July 9. It’s also in Durban and Cape Town soon. For more info go here.