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JIC Fest brings all the laughs to Jozi

The Johannesburg International Comedy Festival will see its first ever Afrikaans comedy show 'Snorseun' and a trio of SA female comedians are set to bring the house down.

SA comedian Schalk Bezuidenhout. Picture: @schalkiebez/twitter.

JOHANNESBURG - Get ready to die with laughter as the Johannesburg International Comedy Festival (JICF) kicks off on Thursday.

The opening gala, titled This is SatAfrika, will feature funny men and women such as Khanyisa Bunu, Phillip Dikotla, Phuphama Love Minus, Pule Welch and Orlando Baxter of the US.

The festival will also see its first ever Afrikaans comedy show in Schalk Bezuidenhout’s Snorseun as well as a trio of female comedians in the form of Nina Hastie, Gilli Apter and Claudine Ullman.

Other shows will feature South Africa’s very own Warren Masemola, Kagiso Lediga, Loyiso Gola, Khanyisa Bunu, Khutjo Green, in addition to Katie Burch (Australia), Thomas Wiesel (Switzerland) and Dane Baptiste (UK).

EWN caught up with Bezuidenhout and Baxter ahead of the opening gala.

For someone who studied drama in school, Bezuidenhout vows he never acts when doing comedy and gives the audience his true self.

“I try and keep my stand-up and acting separately. The last thing I want to do in my stand-up is act. People see right through it. Authenticity and honesty is everything in stand-up (and, of course, to be funny).”

He also can’t see himself doing one and quitting the other.

“That's like asking me to choose between my mom and my dad. I would be very sad if I had to stop doing either one of the two. It would also depend on what day you ask me. Some gigs are tough and then I miss acting. Sometimes the director on an acting project is an a##hole and then I miss comedy. So, to answer your question, I would choose my mom.”

I guess we'll never know whether his mom is 'acting' or 'comedy' - maybe we'll find out during Snorseun. But we’re also intrigued by his colourful and fun outfits, so he let us in on the ‘boring’ tale behind them.

“It's just how I like to dress. Some people think I have a comedy attire, almost like a clown that does kiddies parties. He doesn't go to Woolies in his make-up and wig and a red nose? Well, that's the difference between me and a kiddies party clown - the way I dress on stage is the way I dress when I do my grocery shopping and it's the way I dress when I board a plane and it's the way I dress when I go to a funeral. I don't have any other clothes.”

So, is there anything too sensitive or off-limits for Baxter on SA soil?

“No! I think it’s pretty much the same. Otherwise some comic would have warned me before the shows or told me after I bombed on stage.”

He’s also interested in meeting an African woman, so ladies, get ready.

“They [audience] can expect me to be really American. I hear that’s a great way to meet a South African woman after the show.”

However, he’s already met a very interesting character since he landed (not to date - obviously).

“I met a DJ in Cape Town that wore a top hat that fanned himself with vinyl records while performing. I don’t remember what his name was but that dude is a superstar in the making.”

Here’s the rest of the show details:

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