Savanna Newcomer Showcase 2017


On Sunday 28 May, the Soweto Theatre hosted the sold-out annual Savanna Newcomer Showcase hosted by Savanna Premium Cider in conjunction with VUZU Amp, Sunday World, and Kaya FM 95.9. The showcase featured 24 up-and-coming comedians from all over the country. The showcase provides a platform for newcomers to show off their talents. This platform is especially useful as it puts the performers in the spotlight for this year’s Savanna Comics’ Choice Awards – which will take place in September – and exposes them to the comics who will be nominating and voting for them. The five nominees for the Newcomer category will be announced on 12 July. The Newcomer of the Year 2016 winner, Ebenhaezer Dibakwane, was a guest performer at the showcase. He told Perdeby how much the showcase and winning the award has helped him in the past year. He says that, as a performer, it is very valuable for his heroes to have thought him to be worthy; it has really propelled his career.

The format of the show proved to be a challenge for the newcomers. They each had five minutes on stage, after which music would be played and the host, Kagiso Lediga, ushered them off of the stage. Most comedians made good use of their time, with very few not finishing their sets in time. However, the audience was very disappointed that those who ran out of time could not finish. The line-up was randomly selected by Lediga, which – as newcomer Matthew Armstrong said – kept the comedians “on their toes”.

Definite crowd favourites of the night were Teboho Thesha, Etienne Davids, and Troy Tesla, although none of the comedians were met with silence. The Soweto audience impressed and pleased the performers, all of whom were excited to be performing for a crowd who is known to enjoy and understand comedy and to be very receptive. The audience was thoroughly entertained with social commentary, one-liners, political humour, multilingual skits, and cultural humour.

The line-up was very racially diverse, as well as diverse in gender with two women featuring. Both Chantal Venter and Gilli Apter were welcomed onto the stage, and both women proved that the gender boundaries of comedy are crumbling down. Perdeby spoke to Venter before the event to discuss the shrinking gap. She pointed out that “sexism is very real” in the entertainment industry, but the “gentlemen were very welcoming” as they were ones breaking these boundaries. Venter noted how diverse comedy is becoming, and how she hopes to continue enhancing this diversity.

Overall, the showcase was a success and it proved that great things are expected of the up-and-coming talent. 


Photo: Connor McCracken

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