With a country that can make light of issues like ours, we have plenty of materials for comedy who have made their mark in South Africa and even across the world. They can make jokes on just about any subject ranging from politics to their families and even controversial topics like religion, polygamy and more.
Top 10 South African Comedians
Without further ado and in no particular order, here are the top 10 South African Comedians making waves.
Trevor Noah is one of the top comedians in South Africa and on the continent, having gained international recognition since he became the host of “The Daily Show”, an American satirical news programme on Comedy Central. His humble beginning dates back to 2002 when he made his first attempt at being an actor and a radio show host, but he later gave them up to pursue comedy.
Although he’s known for his career as a comedian, many South Africans first recognize him for his early shows which covered growing up during apartheid as well as his hilarious impersonation of controversial politicians. He’s the first South African comedian to appear on the “The Tonight Show” and had made several other international appearances.
Very few comedians in South Africa can boast a career spanning a whooping three decades and six continents like Barry Hilton. His foray into comedy came about after working 6 years as an electrician but wanted to attempt something different.
Among the many things to note about his comic career is his style which is devoid of vulgarity, malice or personal attacks. Combined to his experience in the industry, Barry is now regarded as an influential figure that contributes in shaping the South African comedy scene. Perhaps, this explains why he was awarded the Lifetime Achiever Award by local comedians at the annual Comic’s Choice Awards.
Nik Rabinotwiz is a South African comedian of who is also of Jewish descent. He represents the unique cultural diversity of South Africa due to his ability to speak three of the country’s eleven official languages.
Little is known about how he started his career but his reputation as top South African comic was cemented when he clinched the Stand Up of the Year at the SA Comedy Wards in 2008. Since then, his fame has risen which has seen him perform on international stages in countries like Australia, Canada, Holland, the United Kingdom, the USA and Zimbabwe. He is a regular on BBC Two’s Mock the Week.
Loyiso Gola took the comic industry by storm due to his style of comedy which many consider to have divisive appeal. He’s fond of masquerading as a fool and the reluctant voice of a cynical generation but behind it all is a brilliant mind which has helped him maintain his relevance on the national comic scene.
His career is controversial because he’s always in the crossfire for stepping on someone’s toes and breaking taboos. Today, he has an impressive list of awards to his credit as well as two nominations for any Emmy.
Marc Lottering’s adventure into the funny business was in 1997 when he held his first show which he entitled “After the Beep”. Today, he’s an all-time South African favourite and has continued to leave his audiences in stitches. Marc is notoriously known for many things during his one-man shows and one of them is being politically incorrect.
His ability to make light of seemingly hot topics while making others bray in laughter is one of the reasons why Marc will always be considered as a veteran in the comedy scene. According to his personal website, at any time, you will either find Marc performing locally or entertaining home-sick South Africans abroad.
Famed for playing the character of a doctor in the film “Material”, Riad Moosa has made some giants strides in his career. Moosa is an Indian-born Muslim who grew up in South Africa but started his journey in the world of comics during his fourth year at the University of Cape Town where he was studying to become a doctor.
His success at stand up comedy would later drive him to abandon his medical career in pursuit of comedy and acting. He draws his style from his experience as a doctor to make witty jokes about health while also majoring on Islamaphobia for his one man shows such as “Strictly Halaal.”
David Kau’s story is a motivating one that shows that underdogs can rise to the top if they work hard at it. After discovering his ability to make people while at the University of Cape Town, David followed his passion which paved way for him to be South Africa’s representative at the 2001 “Just For Laughs” Comedy Festival In Montreal, Canada.
Over the years, he has won numerous comedy awards, hosted different shows and also went on a tour throughout South Africa, Africa and the United Kingdom.
Deep Fried Man
Like several other comedians on the list, comedy was not the first thing Deep Fried Man (known as Daniel Friedman) wanted to do. He had studied journalism and social media but made the transition to comics after he was declared the winner of the 2010 Comedy Showdown. He does what he calls “musical comedy” and can always be seen with his guitar on stage.
Like Deep Fried Man, Tats Nkonzo combines his guitar with humour and intellect to make some witty cracks, all of which have made him a force to reckon with. He once teamed up with Nik Rabinowitz to create a satirical comedy that touched on several pressing issues in the country while entertaining their audience at the same time and leave them wanting more.
Anne Hirsch’s career has a comedian started when she won a stand up comedy competition in 2009, a feat she has built on to become a television host. She warmed her way into the hearts of South Africans when she co-hosted The Great South African Bake Off as well as other top events likeATKV Awards, Bookmarks Digital Awards etc.
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