Dazzling. Glamourous. Hilarious. Unexpected. Unforgettable.
These are just some of the words to describe last night’s return of the Savanna Comics’ Choice Comedy Awards. After a three-year hiatus (and lots of changes and hard work behind-the-scenes), the 10th edition of the awards announced, honoured and celebrated the best of the best in comedy and comedic content creators.
Held at The Galleria in Sandton on Saturday 15 April 2023, comedians, celebrities, influencers and comedy-loving fans went all out, dressing to impress for the “Birthday Black Tie” theme. Just some of the famous faces that were spotted included Elana Afrika-Bredenkamp, Pabi Moloi, Nina Hastie, Candice Modiselle, Donald, Mbali Nkosi, Sandile Mahlango, Rob Forbes, Rozanne McKenzie, Chris Forrest, Kim Jayde and more.
From camera flashes popping on the red carpet to live DJ sets, world-class production and staging to electric performances and unstoppable energy, it was a night to remember. Happy 10th birthday, Savanna Comics’ Choice Comedy Awards! It’s back!
Of course, the highlights of the night were the announcements of the 10 winners – and a very special show moment to honour the Hall of Fame recipient, Alan Committe.
The 2023 winners are (in order of how they were announced during the awards show):
Breakthrough Act of the Year Award
Savanna Newcomer Award
Wazi M Kunene
Hall of Fame Award
Best Comedy Festival or Show Award
Johannesburg International Comedy Festival
Sauce of the Year Award, Presented by Mrs Ball’s
Funny Influencer Content Award
Robby Collins – For the campaign: Pothole FM by Joe Public & Dunlop
Funny is Funny Award
King Price – For the campaign: #TestTickles by Freckle
UpLIFTing Comedic Content Award, Presented by LIFT
Best Solo Show Award
Kagiso KG Mokgadi
The Joe Mafela Award
Comedian of the Year Award
Even though Alan Committe couldn’t be at the awards on the night as he was performing his show at Montecasino, he accepted his trophy live from stage via video link-up between the two venues. Long-time friend Eddy Cassar, presented Alan with his award, who went onto to deliver a heartfelt thanks to the industry for honouring him.
Each winner did five minutes of stand-up, in place of an acceptance speech, which ensured the audience was kept in stitches. Presenters included the likes of Carvin H Goldstone, Elana Afrika-Bredenkamp, Tsitsi Chiumya and partner Gina Koffman, James Chomi Ya Jeso, Kim Jayde, Khotso Rams and Angel Campy.
Hosted by comedian heavyweight, himself a Savanna Comics’ Choice Comedy Awards winner a few times over, Loyiso Gola carried the show and brought it all together. He closed the show with fellow comedian, Nina Hastie, when they presented the pinnacle of the night, the Comedian of the Year Award.
The show opened with what seemed like a rather, um, odd, in-flight safety briefing that quickly transformed into an entertaining live dance performance by award-winning, internationally recognised choreographer and DJ, Courtnaé Paul, accompanied by comedian cum dancer, Ambrose Uren.
A surprise show moment saw drag artist sensation, Edó, perform a captivating live-singing piano medley, while “flight attendants” handed out complementary Savanna Ciders and Grumpy Snacks to enthused guests to keep the festivities high.
Last night was also the time to finally reveal the refreshed and modernised awards trophy, lovingly called, Waldo. Now lighter and sleeker, it was much easier for the winners to lift their Waldo’s aloft in celebration.
“The awards exists to celebrate comedians and comedic content creators,” says Manuela Dias de Deus, the awards’ producer. “It’s about giving back to the industry and really using the awards as a platform to promote and support comedy in all its forms.
“Most of the awards were presented by previous winners and wherever possible we’ve collaborated and consulted with the industry to make these awards happen,” adds Manuela.
Missed it? Watch it.
If you didn’t make it to the main awards (why, though?) or missed the Savanna Newcomer Showcase earlier this year, Me Channel 115 will broadcast two TV specials to give fans a chance to experience it for the first time, or relive the moments.
Savanna Newcomer Showcase: Saturday 6 May @ 19:00 The Savanna Comics’ Choice Comedy Awards: Saturday 13 May @ 19:00
The 60-minute Savanna Newcomer Showcase special will air on Me Channel 115 on Saturday 6 May at 19:00. The Savanna Comics’ Choice Comedy Awards special will air on Saturday 13 May 19:00.
A big thank-you
None of this would have been possible without the ongoing support of title sponsor, Savanna Premium Cider. And to the new kids on the block, Mrs. Ball’s and LIFT, it’s nice to see new brands on board supporting comedy.
Thanks also to Me Channel 115, who has provided massive airtime to support to the awards. And the team at One-eyed Jack, who took custodianship of the awards and brought it back.