REVIEW: BLACKS ONLY: JOKE APPROPRIATION WITHOUT COMPENSATION. With Kagiso KG Mogadi, Celeste Ntuli, Riaad Moosa, Mpho Popps, Loyiso Gola, Daliso Chaponda, Ruben Paul, Nina Hastie and host David Kau. CTICC.
KAT MANNE reviews
Kagiso KG Mogadi, Celeste Ntuli, Riaad Moosa, Mpho Popps, Loyiso Gola, Daliso Chaponda (pictured left), Ruben Paul, Nina Hastie and host, David Kau, brought their A-game to a packed auditorium at the CTICC for the hysterical Blacks Only: Joke Appropriation Without Compensation.
Wild. Uncouth. Uncensored. Everything traditional coloured aunties would say about your darkest cousin, queer feminist sister or the general unapologetic badass – Blacks Only is it. Preceding a spectacular line up for the 15th anniversary of the show, co-creator and MC, David Kau set the tone with tales of his mixed kids listening to “white radio stations” before translating the lyrics of a gqom track and comparing the complexity of the verses.
Each comic played heavily on stereotypes around their ethnicity, religion and gender and the Cape Town crowd provided a lot of spontaneous material with racially ambiguous latecomers and a handful of white people occupying the best front row seats. Not to mention the jabs at Cape Town’s low water supply somehow affecting the house lights and some scolding from Loyiso Gola’s mum as he began his surprise routine. The crowd was diverse, receptive but also selectively responsive. This is an element of the show that makes it authentic. Half of the audience would be in tears and the other half wouldn’t quite understand a punch line, or find it funny at all. This tested the skills of the seasoned comedians and they stepped up, dropping everything from relatable stories of poverty, micro-aggressions and code-switching to topical jokes on downgrading to Trump, racial identity and the ever-humorous polony politics of listeriosis all bound by the vast and varied instances of caucasian accolades.
White people took the brunt of the roasting
The irony of these encounters with white entitlement seem so obvious and frequent yet we barely hear them stated out loud without ad-hominem-fuelled gaslighting; but in this Blacks Only space, a white woman is on stage telling white folks not to appropriate shortly after doing the gwara-gwara, POC are screaming with laughter at the adventures of Sharon in the home affairs line and white people are applauding any mention of land expropriation.
White people took the brunt of the roasting with some specific criticism thrown at big-bellied blessers chilling at Cubana; and of course, women, with a few cringe-worthy moments like the celebratory applause for Women’s Month followed by a thanks for dressing up for men, or the premise of requiring a blesser leading to punch lines about a poor girl’s weave. Many of these were countered quite ironically by other acts, mostly by the sardonic lines of Celeste Ntuli (pictured above) who just doesn’t have the time for your s#*t. Things got a bit real when she noted the difference between white women worrying about book club and black women worrying about money, hours of cooking and giving in to disappointing late-night sex. Likewise, Riaad Moosa (pictured below) wasn’t playing around when he dove into the extent of racism in SA and spoke about his parents being banned from helping white patients while studying medicine during apartheid.
The intermission was interesting. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many people of colour at the CTICC – or white folks looking confused and uncomfortable. It was interesting to see white people carrying a similar weary expression that black people have in white spaces every day. Immediately, I could see the show at work.
The topics, closing lines and the responses from the crowd were ridiculous, hilarious and somewhat surreal. Blacks Only uses exceptional comedy to chronicle our harsh realities and adjust the perspectives of the privileged.
I don’t know, sounds like activism to me.
What: Review: Blacks Only: Joke Appropriation Without Compensation
Read: Details of the show