‘I will not make any more Rama sex jokes, I promise,’ proclaims Nkosinathi Maki halfway through his comedy show Schoolboy. If that wasn’t enough of a hint, please let this reviewer urge you to consider your tolerance for jokes about using margarine as lubricant before you commit to attending this show. Maki veers from matters like the ANC’s internal battles to the struggle to survive in Cape Town’s rental market, and makes frequent detours to talk about chicken. (‘I know Nando’s is too expensive because even white people are complaining,’ he remarks after an audience member gasps upon hearing what a full meal goes for at the popular fast-food outlet.)
In this production, we see a promising idea that sadly never reaches its potential, mostly owing to an untidy script and an apparent lack of solid direction. Maki does his best to adapt his material to a very white audience, and perhaps a slightly older group than he’s used to, but his frequent references to how certain jokes would have landed if the crowd had been different undermine his efforts. Nevertheless, the Oranjezicht natives at the table next to mine took the comedian’s jabs at their age and privilege in their stride and could be heard chuckling appreciatively throughout.
Maki has a number of humorous anecdotes up his sleeve that would certainly resonate with any audience, regardless of their background —a fact he should perhaps bear in mind instead of alluding to the differences between black and white comedy fans so often. With some guidance, ‘Schoolboy’ could be one for the books.
Schoolboy is part of the Cape Town Fringe Festival and can be seen at the Fringe Club on the 3rd and 6th of October.