Scene It: Tats Nkonzo hits interesting notes in The Clever Black

Reggie Watts said "Music is very similar to comedy: It's all about texture, timing, context, vocabulary, performance". Initially we were debating whether The Clever Black is a music show with comedy angles or a comedy show with live music…? The answer is it is one and the same, because whether comic or soloist, they do the same thing: “They're in the moment. They're listening.”


Multi-talented artist Tats Nkonzo is indeed listening to the rhythm of the country and our people. He is hitting some interesting notes in his third one man comedy show, The Clever Black, which runs at the Baxter Theatre until Saturday 27 June, 2015.


Produced by the incomparable SA comedian, Nik Rabinowitz, The Clever Black sees 2013 Comic's Choice Award for Best South African Breakthrough Act winner Nkonzo take the mickey out of everything from nation building to prominent murder trials and romantic relationships with his signature hilarious melodies played on his guitar.


Nkonzo is not only a gifted comic, but also a talented singer, without a doubt! He has a knack for finding humour in a number of topics, be it politics, relationships, child-rearing or disease songs to cure the world’s illness, but is it enough to set him apart from the rash of up and coming comedians out there? Can his performance match his great timing, context and posh English vocab when playing a “solo”?


Whilst we enjoyed his funny compositions, Nkonzo relied heavily on some celebrity audience members for jokes on opening night. This leaves one wondering what the rest of the run will be like without these cues to help the show move along. It remains to be seen if his cleverness is visionary or just reactionary in nature. If the audience does not produce the goods on the night, will he?


Having seen Sne Dladla perform a similar act when he opened for Rabinowitz earlier this year, it’s clear that Nkonzo will need to up his game at being a singing comedian, or comedic singer, if he wants to retain his award-winning status.


Apart from the content of the show itself, we also loved the set. With its gorgeous classroom-theme, it provides some cool props and focal points for the comic’s jests.


All-in-all we had fun, we laughed and we went home very relaxed. We would easily pay R120 to test the theory whether the very charming funny man Tats Nkonzo can produce the lols and giggles on any given night! If we can pair such a night out with food, we are even happier. So, if you are ever feeling peckish before a show, pop by the Baxter Restaurant for a tasty vegetarian bite to eat – we’re partial to the quiche of the day!


The Clever Black runs at the Baxter Theatre until Saturday 27 June, 2015. Tickets are R80 to R120 and available at Computicket.


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