Imagine the nation being led by seven South African comedians and a cheeky puppet. There are some who might say that this is the case in reality, but none would say it as well as the group of comedians recently gracing the stage at the Grand Arena.
The crazy problems facing this country provide plenty of material for the sharp-tongued, and Mass Hysteria is a show deliberately designed to provide a platform, offering a selection of South Africa’s first class comedians in roles titled from the ironic Minister of Offence (John Vlismas) to the downright bizarre Minister of Gatsbys, Gaps and Gangs (Kurt Schoonraad).
Each comedian is introduced by a short video manifesto before appearing on stage to expand upon ideas inspired by his portfolio. First up was the youngster on the lineup, Minister for Youth, Mpho ‘Popps’ Modikoane, who started the show with a bang by exploring the hardships of being black and going to a model C school.
Chester Missing, the Minister for Nik Naks, Guilty Whites and Latex, embarrassed his ventriloquist, Conrad Koch with his racial comments while Rooster in Chief, Ndumiso Lindi and Cape Town’s very own Kurt Schoonraad delivered observational humour to squeals of approval from the audience.
Veteran comic, actor Casper de Vries, was hilarious in his role as Minister of Internet and Miniseries, and his delivery stood out as particularly dry and matter of fact. Joey Rasdien, the Minister of Religion and Evolution, took an intellectual and impressively well-informed approach to various religious theories, undermining the whole lot with comic ease.
John Vlismas, the Minister of Offence, perhaps filled his assigned role best, poking fun at everyone from the overweight to the homeless to the disabled. Renowned for being abrasive and tactless, Vlismas was nonetheless a favourite with the audience members who perhaps felt a bond with one another after realising that with him, the world falls into two groups – those who are John Vlismas and those who are not.
Sadly for such a great show, the Grand Arena was far from packed. It can only be hoped that word spreads fast to Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth, where Mass Hysteria is yet to be seen. For any South African worthy of his government-issued ID, this is one show not to miss.
Mass Hysteria took place at the Grand West Grand Arena on 16 & 17 August 2013.