The Hague found wanting

13 March 2015

ent show 13 marchAny person with even one artistic bone in their body will tell you how hard they have to work to ensure that their work does not become monotonous. It is a constant struggle, not only with oneself, but also with the other artists in the same line of work. One’s work should not reflect complacency nor should it look as though it has been plagiarised.


In some art forms, this is easier said than done, and this is true with comedy. Comedy has been around since humans learnt how to communicate.

Comedians come and go, but only a few become imprinted in our minds forever. Perhaps this is because the unsuccessful ones feel like remnants of comedians past.

It is imperative to take note that comedy is subjective; therefore one person’s understanding of a comical situation may not be the same as that of the other.

Now to the issue at hand, which is the latest instalment of the Free Your Mind show, titled The Hague.

It goes without saying that the monthly stand-up comedy show has established itself as the place to be when you want to laugh yourself silly.

The fact that the Warehouse Theatre was packed to the rafters made this very evident, with audiences eagerly waiting to have their over-worked minds lubricated with their monthly dose of comedy.

Even after no more seats were left, people chose to occupy the remaining nook and crannies where they could stand so as not to miss the show.

The Hague team seem to have arrived to the party dishevelled. They looked presentable at the front, with their shirts tucked in at the front, collars folded, but with their dress shirt hanging out of the back like a penguin’s tail.

However, I choose to address them as a collective without singling out any comedian, but I would be remiss in my duties if I did not commend Slick for being a wonderful host. He did his part, in keeping with the title, which cannot be said for the rest of the crew.

Clad in a black robe, behind a huge table that seemed to engulf him, and cornered by microphones he could have easily passed off as a judge at the International Court of Justice (of clowns).

The show’s title had me fooled as I thought the night’s focus would shift to a more political or crime inspired direction.

At this point, anything apart from racially charged jokes would have had me rolling on the floor with laughter.

As long as we live in diverse communities, with people of different skin colours and beliefs, we will always have something to say about race.

I like that we can look at the racial issues we face and laugh at them, but by Jove there must be limits!

At what point do we say “Ok we have heard the joke about the over-crowding Damara people or the joke about the Zimbabweans who sell cockroach killers, so what else do you have up your sleeve?”

Am I to believe that as long they receive a few laughs, our comedians are perfectly content with their material? I suppose that is the real definition of complacency.

To my chagrin, these racially charged jokes are not new and inventive, but they are the same ones we have heard for years, just recycled, repackaged and delivered by a different person.

An example would be of the woman sitting next to me who hit a bull’s eye every time she shouted out the rest of the joke before the comedian was through with it.

Even if there is some distinction in the jokes, the delivery method is the same, which gives an all around feeling of familiarity.

It seems the majority of our comedians, if not all, choose to nurse on the bosom of satirical comedy, but seem too scared to explore further.

Comedians, whether they admit it or not, tend to target one specific audience, which is why their jokes become monotonous.

I believe that if they change their perspective, and, for example, not focus on how Namibians view Zimbabweans, but the other way around, they may have a few punch lines in there to keep audiences laughing for days.

Additionally, should they choose to ridicule an area that they are not familiar with, it’s best to research it thoroughly.

Occasionally, the audience may not pick up on the error, and others may think it was meant to be a joke.

However, when you persist with the same joke, steadfast in your belief about it, it becomes evident that you have no idea what you are talking about.

Still, it was easy to see that these comedians were on the right path because they had the audience laughing, although room for improvement always exists.

This has not dampened my appetite for Free Your Mind as I anxiously wait to see what the next show will bring.
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The Windhoek Observer is an English-language weekly newspaper, published in Namibia by Paragon Investment Holding. It is the country's oldest and largest circulating weekly.

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