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GOLIATH and GOLIATH are Providing New Platforms for Comedy in South Africa

by Eva Rose Tesfaye on June 7, 2018

Goliath and Goliath are bringing laughter to Johannesburg with their new comedy club in Melrose.

Goliath and Goliath is an award-winning comedy and entertainment agency known for its stand-up and show productions. Most importantly, it creates new platforms for comedy in South Africa.

Goliath & Goliath recently won the Savanna Comics Choice – The Best Friend of Comedy Award. This award, voted by comedians, is given to an entity that has provided support, facilitated or championed South African comedy significantly in the last 12 months. This award has only been handed out twice and Goliath and Goliath has won both of them.

The agency was established in 2014 and is run by Managing Director, Kate Goliath as well as comedians, Jason, Nicholas and Donovan Goliath. The three male Goliaths are not actually brothers, although everyone thinks they are. Nicolas and Jason are cousins and Donovan has become so close to Jason that they act like brothers.

“We have actually stopped telling the story of how we aren’t related… instead we just lie and tell people we brothers,” Donovan told Bona magazine.

Jason and Donovan met in 2012 at comedy event and “immediately clicked.” Five years later they have run an agency together and have opened a comedy club.

Goliath and Goliath’s mission is to put comedy first. By providing opportunities for new and experienced comedians, they are developing and educating audiences and helping corporations discover the power of comedy.

Donovan Goliath did his first comedy show at the famous Cool Runnings Underground sessions. These took place every Sunday night and were run by John Vlismas, another South African stand-up comedian.

“I saw Tall A$$ Mo performing and he was talking about himself, I realised I also have interesting stories to tell. I love people laughing at my thoughts,” he told IOL.

Growing up in the former capital of the Batustan that was Transkei, he found himself in a unique position: “I look white, but I am coloured, yet I am culturally more Xhosa.” Donovan does a lot of impersonations in his comedy including Mandela the rapper, who has a tattoo that reads: “Mandizzy for Winnie or Life.”

Nicholas Goliath also got his start at the Cool Runnings Underground sessions.

“I did my English oral at school and my English teacher killed herself laughing and said she would pay to see me. Every Sunday I would go to the Cool Runnings Underground and my friends would always encourage me to go on stage. I used to enjoy watching John Vlismas and Joey Rasdien. They looked like they were happy on stage. The first time I went up was eight years ago. I had no script, but the audience exploded. The second time I again freestyled and the audience died on my ass.”

He believes that comedy has a crucial role in society. He enjoys making people laugh and forget about their problems. “There is so much hate speech out there. We have been through the struggle and now we can laugh. At that moment in life when it is bad, it’s the worst thing that can happen to you, but at least laugh about it. If we can’t laugh about it we can never get over it. And it’s time.”

Jason Goliath used to be the youngest marketing manager at Makro Crown Mines. That work ethic and determination carries through into his comedy.

“I am not ambitious. I am ravenous. I crave greatness. When I die there must be devastation and thereafter people must say: ‘Remember the great Jason Goliath.’”

The three comedians are also High Level Influencers for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) campaign LuQuLuQu.

Currently the comedy club has a Comedy Central Presents The Roast Battle 2018 going on from 6th to the 10th of June. Tickets can be found on their website.

Donovan’s advice for upcoming comedians is:

“You need to work hard at it. Find your unique voice and don’t let anything distract you or push you away from your style. The new generation of comedians is lucky because they have so many platforms to do research; it is easier for them to find out what makes society tick, and what could make their crowd laugh. But, the new generation has this as a disadvantage because their resources could influence their comedic style. So they must remember to always stay true to who they are in this tough industry.”

Feature Image via Flickr/Roger W

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Eva Rose Tesfaye
Eva Tesfaye has traveled around the world her whole life but thinks of Africa as home. She loves reading novels and watching plays (especially ones with people of color in them). She has a love-hate relationship with her big curly hair.