What do you get when you put five stand-up comedians, two musical acts, a magician and two (nearly) naked dancers on the same stage? Another year of the Jive Cape Town Funny Festival, which returned to Cape Town and the Baxter Theatre on 1 July.

Show producer Eddy Cassar has once again hand-picked the acts for their unique contribution to the almost two hour show, and he has clearly not lost his touch, because the 15th edition of Cape Town’s annual winter comedic tonic has
been playing to full houses and standing ovations ever since its opening night.

When word got out that Marc Lottering would not return to his usual headliner slot, many people wondered who could possibly take his place. After all, Marc has always been a popular member of the cast and a big drawcard to the show’s diverse Cape Town audience.

The answer is two-fold: Sifiso Nene made his debut at the Funny Festival, and soon had people talking about his subtle yet hilarious digs at SA’s cultural divide (“It takes a village to raise one black child. In white families, it just takes… Mavis.”). I have personally seen people falling out of their seats from laughing at his antics – he is THAT good. I hope Sifiso returns to Cape Town really soon! Otherwise I’ll have to go look him up with I’m in Jo’burg in September.

Sifiso Nene talks about eyebrows.

Closing the show is Emo Adams and his humerous musical stylings, deftly supported by a guitarist and … drummer? Not quite sure what to call the guy keeping the box beat, but I digress. Emo’s set has people in stitches, he is never off-key, and he earns bonus points for his fab adaptation of Punjabi MC’s Mundian To Bach Ke which closes the show. Off-stage, this is a man who travels to Jo’burg and walks off the plane straight onto the Funny Festival stage almost every day, while also navigating life with three youngsters and a newborn at home. Respect.

Emo Adams hits the right notes.

But that’s not to say the other acts don’t deserve glowing reviews, because they do!

Alan Committie returns as the MC – the glue that keeps everything together, and the person responsible for warming up the crowd ahead of each act. It’s a massive responsibility for an ensemble cast like this one, and he does the job exceptionally. As a loyal Committie fan, I’m always in awe of his ability to effortlessly improvise within his carefully crafted set.

Alan Committie’s word games always draws the laughs.

Lindy Johnson opens the show and sets the scene for the rest of the evening. She’s made waves on the comedy scene since she won the talent search that first brought her to the Funny Festival stage, and has since moved to the bright lights of Jo’burg. With her megawatt smile, big hair and even bigger personality, Lindy is the perfect show opener.

Lindy’s love life is as entertaining as the rest of her set.

Up next is Ozzie magician and mentalist, Matt Tarrant. He tries to convince the audience that he is not that great a magician and entertainer to wow the entire crowd, but once you’ve seen his mentalism act and astonishing close-up card manipulation set, you’ll stay up at night wondering “HOW THE HELL DID HE DO THAT?!?!?” He is brilliant, and if you love magic, he is a must-see.

Matt Tarrant’s mentalism skills are rad to the power of sick.

Carvin H. Goldstone, the Jewlu from Durban (go and check out the show to understand the reference) is fantastic. When I initially read some reviews about him, there was consistent reference to his clean, family friendly sets, which of course made me wonder, “… but is he funny?” Boy… this guy is brilliant! His delivery is hilarious and sincere, all at once. And his keen observations and impersonations are on point. I will keep an eye on his show dates to make sure I see him in another setting in the coming years.

Want to know why Carvin H. Goldstone reminds you of someone? Come to the show to find out.

Funny Festival regular, Kev Orkian, closes the first half on a musical note. He is fantastic as the single-guy-in-need-of-love-and-a-visa Armenian, and he is larger than life on stage. The fact that Prince Philip is a big fan who once delayed going to another engagement to congratulate Kev on his show in person should tell you everything you need to know about this incredible performer.

Calling all the single ladies. Kev as the lovelorn Armenian is looking for you.

And then there’s Obakeng Moroe. A fine performer and awesome human, it is almost impossible to think that Obakeng has ONLY been doing comedy for six months. He is the most recent new comic talent search winner to grace the Funny Festival stage, and judging by the audience’s reaction to him night after night, Obakeng has a bright comedy future ahead of him.

Obakeng has hairdresser trouble. Come and see the show to find out why.

Last but not least, dancing duo Ash and Brad Searle (a.k.a. The Big Boys) bring some serious eye candy to the stage. Their set has everything: dancing, comedy, pom poms, six packs, daring gymnastics, the flash of a butt cheek, comedy, dancing, hot bodies… sorry, where was I? If you’ve ever seen them at their spiritual home, Kalk Bay Theatre, you’ll be familiar with their awesome moves. If not, do yourself a favour and see them before Funny Festival comes to an end. You’ll leave, er, satisfied.

The Big Boys are certainly… talented.

There’s only a week left of this awesome comedy and variety show. Most shows are sold out, and if you left your ticket buying too late, it appears that your last chance to see the performers in action is on Monday, 22 July. Do yourself a favour and book your tickets at Webtickets before it’s too late.

You may not feel like venturing out into the cold at night, but once you’ve seen the 15th Jive Cape Town Funny Festival, you’ll be glad you did.