You haven’t been working out that much this winter? No need to worry. The Heat City Comedy Festival will have you in stitches and getting those core muscles working. Held from 19th – 23rd July at one of Durban’s most loved spots, The Winston Pub, over 25 comedians will be ready to dish out the jokes. Get your chuckles ready and bring your friend with the boisterous laugh for five days with Durban’s finest OG comedians and a few emerging talents. Each night is themed, providing a variety of comedic experiences. I had a short interview with one of the organizers and participants, Bob Perfect about the festival and what audiences can expect.
Tell me a bit more about what people can expect to experience over the five days?
People can expect to get an education in Durban comedy and a look into the deep pool of talent Durban currently has. There’s a trend to undervalue local talent and to use headliners imported from other cities to sell tickets, which I’m hoping to change with this festival. We have 031 stalwarts like Carvin Goldstone, Neil Green, Richelieu B, and Jem Atkins. We’ve got cats who helped grow the Durban comedy scene before spreading their wings, like Paul Cowan and Glen Bo. And then we’ve got a ton of up-and-coming talent who have been blazing lately like Troy Tesla, Kamz Govender, Tyson Heffer, Maxamillion, Kwanda Radebe and a whole lot more.
The nights that you are part of are called ‘Durban Poison’ on the Saturday and ‘Winston Alumni’ on the Sunday. Would you like to share something about the poison you will be sharing on the Saturday? And something about the Sunday?
I’m just straight up going to tell weed jokes for the ‘Durban Poison’ gig. Even if the gig was not called ‘Durban Poison’, it would still mostly be weed jokes ’cause I’ve gotta stay on brand. I’m actually super pumped for the ‘Winston Alumni’ gig. I started out doing comedy just after the cats on the bill and it’s been quite a journey to watch everyone grow. It’ll be like a high school reunion. I’m going to feel grossly unqualified and like I haven’t done enough with my life.
For those who do not know that much about The Winston Pub, can you share a little bit about it as a kind of landmark in Durban?
The Winston Pub is an iconic venue in Durban that’s half-jokingly referred to as “God’s Blindspot”. It’s a dark and dingy pub that acts as a home away from home to Durban’s creative misfits. The Winston has been were many people have gotten their first gig, whether they are a comedian or a musician. The Winston has had comedy in some form or the other over the last 7 years or so, with various promoters taking charge. I’m just the latest to be steering the ship. Since February we’ve been hosting Underground Comedy every Wednesday as a way to introduce new comics to the scene, and give a chance to work on new material in a low pressure environment. With the Heat City Comedy Festival I’m hoping more people find out that The Winston is a home for comedy as well as music, and that after the fest they join us regularly on a Wednesday.
And lastly, any details you would like to share about the organizers and how this festival adds to South Africa’s comedy landscape?
I’m pretty much doing most of the organizing with many of the comedians helping out where they can. There’s a lot of camaraderie in the Durban comedy scene, so all our gigs are team efforts. I’m hoping this festival shows Durban and South Africa that we actually have a lot of top talent here, and that if it’s supported, it’ll grow. Comedy in South Africa is starting to really develop, I just want to make sure that Durban’s a part of the conversation as it grows. We can’t expect bigger pockets from other cities to line our own, we need to invest in ourselves if we ever want to truly grow.
Get your tickets for Heat City Comedy Festival here.