When it comes to the local comedy scene, it has felt very much like a boys’ club for the longest time, so it’s refreshing to see that the future at least might be female, with great performers like Gilli Apter on the circuit. When she’s not writing, producing, directing and being one half of the duo behind the podcast Getting to Know Jew (the other half being Ryan Metcalfe), you’ll find Gilli on stage at all the best comedy spots in town. Fresh from slaying it at the Kings and Queens of Comedy show, Gilli told contributor Geraldine Fenn a bit about why she loves being a Joburger.
a joburg comedian’s insider tips for comedy in the city
‘I love Joburg because I’m a realist and Joburg is a realistic place – you get out what you put in. How Joburg looks depends on how YOU look at it. Depending on your mood, it can be the most beautiful city or it can be the ugliest. If you say “yes”, Joburg will say “yes”. If you say “no”, Joburg will say “fine”. But it won’t remove you from the WhatsApp group,’ says Gilli.
‘I used to spend a lot of week-night evenings going for dinner or a drink or a movie but since starting a stand-up comedy career just over two years ago, my nights are almost exclusively in the service of performing. So I spend my time at Joburg’s comedy spots.’
comedian gilli apter’s favourite joburg comedy clubs
Monday nights: Poppy’s, 7th St & 2nd Ave, Melville, 011-482-8775
Tuesday nights: Kitcheners, 71 Juta St, Braamfontein, 011-403-0166
Wednesday nights: Shakers, 300 Commissioner St, Maboneng, 078-032-0025
Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights: the new Goliath Comedy Club, Bannister Hotel, 9 De Beer St, Braamfontein, 011-403-6888/7888
Friday and Saturday nights: Goliath Comedy Club, Melrose Arch, 010-020-3678
And my favourite…
Sunday nights: The Box Comedy at PopArt Theatre, 286 Fox St, Maboneng, 083-245-1040 (this is where I had my first stand-up spot)
‘The rest of my downtime I generally spend watching comedy, or talking about it. I can usually be found performing at most of the spots I’ve listed. During the day I occupy myself as a comedy writer and director. My favourite kind of paying work is directing a commercial or video that has comedy as its driving force or narrative.
‘My favourite new discovery in Joburg is the original Chinatown. I’m obsessed with dim sum so I specifically like a tiny little spot called Yung Chen Noodle Den (4A Commissioner St, Ferreirasdorp, 011-833-5924) that has the best dim sum offering I’ve seen in a while. It sits on a corner directly opposite Johannesburg Central Police Station in what was formerly known as John Vorster Square, which is like a vault for the historical nightmares of apartheid. So historically speaking, the experience is a perfect example of the city’s beautiful/ugly dilemma.’