Expect the unexpected in South Africa’s comedy clubs, where diverse comedians will shake things up with their radical commentary, scathing satire, colourful impersonations, improvisation routines, open mic sessions and a whole lot more; anything and everything goes at these eclectic, laugh-a-minute, multicultural affairs.

Did you know?

Trevor Noah, whose performances sell out across the world, is South Africa's best known comedian

The post-apartheid era has seen comedy step into mainstream South Africa, bringing with it many different humorous styles and lingoes. From the eclectic, multicultural backgrounds and communities that form the heart of the vibrant yet controversial country, comedy clubs in South Africa only seriously started making an appearance in the mid to late 90s.

Most of South Africa's comedy clubs perform in restaurants, bars and other venues, on dedicated evenings. Cool Runnings in and around Gauteng feature comedy evenings at least once a week; The Comedy Express performs at different venues around the country and showcases stand-up comedians weekly; and Emperors Palace, in Johannesburg, features a number of comedy events at different times of the year, including Blacks Only Comedy Show and the Heavyweight Comedy Jam. Jou Ma Se Comedy Club at Albert Hall in Cape Town run by well-known comedian Kurt Schoonraad, features some of the city's hottest comedians every Thursday, and serves as a platform for up-and-coming comic acts. Theatres also provide stages for some of South Africa's top comedians.

A handful of clubs are dedicated entirely to comedy. In the mid-90s, when stand-up comedians were becoming more significant, the first club devoted to comedy opened its doors in Johannesburg; the venue was called Hysterix and it became a popular hangout for all things humorous.

South African comedy clubs have come and gone since then but comedy in South Africa is here to stay and continues to grow from strength-to-strength with international comedians mixing it up with the locals. Events like the annual Comics Choice Awards which chooses the Newcomer of the Year as well as the Audience Choice Award, make sure that audiences stay laughing.

The comedy clubs of South Africa may perform out of bars, restaurants and theatres every other night, but at the end of the day as far as inclusive, multi-cultural comedy goes it's still refreshingly young and developing at a rapid rate; a few years from now we should see dedicated comedy clubs setting up on South Africa's popular city strips.

Travel tips & Planning info

Who to contact

Whacked
Tel: +27 (0)11 326 0021

Jou ma se comedy club
Tel: +27 (0)21 447 7237
Email: info@kurt.co.za

How to get here

Comedy clubs are mostly town- or city-based, so easily accessible by car or taxi.