By wernerw - Posted on 27 February 2010
On Wednesday 24th I played at two venues - La Med Camps Bay and at Jokers Comedy Club in Athlone. This was the first time I was to perform at La Med and wasn’t quite sure what to expect. The lineup consisted of mostly of all the ‘Starving Comics’ guys and me.
The comedy kicked off round 8:30pm and I was first on the lineup but that is where the excitement ended. To be blatantly honest La Med did not feel quite right. The crowd were laughing - but in the way that you might expect a robot to laugh, on queue but without substance and soul. I am being a little harsh here - there were some people that laughed with soul.
I think it may be partly due to the fact that entrance to the comedy is free and many people just sit there - because well, it is free. In my mind free comedy is like free oral sex - doesn’t matter how bad it is, you cannot really complain about it or really appreciate its value.
After my set I went through to Jokers Comedy Club in Athlone, as it was still very early and I had my get out of jail free card for the evening.
When driving to to Jokers for the first time you get a sense that you are entering an area of Gangsters… bad-ass thuggery and crime, perhaps the kind of place where you might expect to find Discovery’s Ross Kemp doing a film shoot about gangs.
Compared to La Med - Jokers is an absolute hole. La Med is the place of young wealthy types that drives an Audi TT and at Jokers might expect a couple of donkeys. La Med has a fancy bar and at Jokers you get served your drinks, through a serving hatch. You pay for your drinks using tokens - quite old school. La Med has a fancy spot light and Jokers uses some tin foil and string to divert light onto the comics. La Med has sponsors logos all over the walls, Jokers needs a fresh slap of paint.
You would think that La Med is the better venue, but that is where you would be horribly wrong. You see Jokers is the real deal. It is not a pretentious-flash-your-cash kind of place. It is not the place where you go “to be seen”. Jokers is a place where comedy thrives and laughter oozes through the walls. The audience lives and breathes humour. Everyone here is friendly and will invite you to sit down and share a table with them - and they won’t take your wallet if you leave it on the table. The space is small, yet intimate and could comfortably seat seventy people. You get a sense that comedy legends will be born here.
Performing for this crowd is a dream, they pay attention to the comedy - they want to be there. They want you to succeed as a comedian, because if you succeed, they get value for their money - even though it is only R20 for non members. There is an old saying that says “laughter is infectious” - this cannot be proved more accurately outside of Jokers. At Jokers you arrive as a comic but you leave feeling like a part of some strange dysfunctional family.
So I will wrap up saying this. La Med you have some way to go before you can consider yourself a true comedy crowd, I really hope it comes together for you as you have great potential. Jokers you are a comics wet dream, keep it up!