First birthday for Comedy Night EL
Comedy Night East London is celebrating its first anniversary this month, and the road to putting the birthday show together has not been easy for founder Sheree O’Brien.
O’Brien, who has been in the entertainment industry more than 20 years, runs her own company, Splakavellis, and has partnered with Wiseguys Bar and Grill to bring East London comedy lovers something exciting every month.
Since its inception in May last year, O’Brien said it has been a challenging, educational, therapeutic and fun journey.
“Small cities are tough to break into because of mindsets. Stand-up comedy is really for comedy lovers, and the more you watch the more you fall in love with it and expand your knowledge of comedians.
“Unfortunately people still only support the big commercial names and aren’t supporting comedy itself.
“The names you don’t know today are the big names of tomorrow.
“In East London we have made strides and hopefully will continue to do so and have monthly sold out nights, even when we have a lineup of ‘upcoming’ comics,” she said.
The show has hosted the likes of the Goliaths, Trevor Gumbi, Loyiso Madinga, Tats Nkonzo, Ntosh Madlingozi and Schalk Bezuidenhout, among many. O’Brien also makes a point of giving local comics a platform for their talents.
She recently expanded to Komani where, on the last Tuesday of every month, they host the second leg of the show.
“Komani, on the other hand, has been far more difficult to break into, with attendance numbers being quite dismal after the initial sold-out launch.
“We’ll just have to see how that goes and make a call on whether to continue in a month or two,” she said.
O’Brien said the journey to reach this milestone had been “extremely tough”.
“People don’t realise that many of the big acts we’ve hosted don’t often do small club gigs like ours, which is why they’re either seeing them live in the city for the first time or after many years.
“Having Savanna partner with us since month three has assisted us.
“However, the truth must be told: our losses by February this year were so large that we almost had to call it quits.
“Luckily after many months of begging, Johnnie Walker finally came on board and gave us a lifeline. We are truly thankful to both Savanna and Johnnie Walker,” she said, adding that they were still looking for sponsors to ensure that a comedy culture continues to grow in the Eastern Cape.
This month’s first anniversary show takes place on May 29 and 30, and will feature comics Joey Rasdien, Chris Forrest and Alfred Adriaan. Tickets cost R120 and are available through quicket.co.za, or go to WhatsApp 072-107-0554 to book for either show. — firstname.lastname@example.org