No Swearing! Carvin Goldstone’s one man show.
On Friday and Saturday night, Carvin H, fresh off of opening at the Durban Comedy Festival, had his first one man show. Fellow comic, Jem Atkins reviews the Saturday night show.
Last Saturday evening saw me all dressed up at the Playhouse, seated near the back of the fully packed Drama Theatre, eagerly awaiting the man of the moment to grace the stage. Or just casually saunter up to the microphone – it’s a ‘bruinoe’ thing. Besides, it was HIS one man show, he could do what he wanted.
Before Carvin H Goldstone made his appearance, no doubt pre-empted by him standing off stage clutching his nervous stomach (something I’ve seen him do many a time), I eyed the excited, chattering crowd around me. The majority were coloured which made sense since Carvin has, over the years, amassed a large following of friends, family and community members, and they were all here to witness not only one of the finest coloured comedians I know, but also one of our finest up-and-coming South African comedians. Period.
skirting an edgy yet incredibly witty line as he highlights differences, similarities, and well thought out observations from his childhood and his life in general.
However, with a very light sprinkling of Black, White and Indian in the crowd, I couldn’t help but ponder the merits of doing all of the marketing for one’s own gig. (He walked around his neighbourhood handing out flyers, according to his opening gag). But surely, I thought, this man’s material, embedded as it is in the “coloured experience”, laced with witty anecdotes about his cultural upbringing, and then neatly packaged within the confines of “being coloured”, would appeal to a more diverse audience than this? I was about to find out. Despite his bearish size, Carvin is immediately likeable – his boyish charm and round, friendly face puts the crowd at ease, as he somehow manages to exude confidence as well as humility at the same time. His pre-show announcement elicited whoops and cheers from the eager crowd and it seemed that this was to be the order of the night.
Carvin H manages to do a type of comedy that many South African comics only wish they could, and before you say it – No, it’s not simply “because he’s coloured”. His tight observational set effortlessly toys with the different race groups in our country, skirting an edgy yet incredibly witty line as he highlights differences, similarities, and well thought out observations from his childhood and his life in general. His material ranges from the contemporary – Rugby World Cup, Ard Matthews, everyday trips to the bank – to ‘laugh out loud’ anecdotes about growing up in a “real house” in a community of mostly small flats, and eating “Post Toasties” (Corn Flakes) and everything in between.
What sets this man apart from most comics I know is not necessarily the calm, confident energy he brings to the stage, but rather the fact that his first ever One-Man Show (aptly named ‘No Swearing’) was clean. That’s right – I said clean: it contained not one scrap of foul language and no vulgarity whatsoever. As a professional comedian myself, I know what an accomplishment this actually is, and it is welcome relief from the usual barrage of loose vulgarity and curse-word peppered monologues that characterise a number of SA comedians, myself included. Add to this Carvin H’s talent for accents, and an occasional physicality that you wouldn’t expect from the big guy, and it’s no surprise that he had the crowd clutching their bellies and hanging off his every word for most of the show.
Much of his set involved accented dialogues between multiple players. This is something that is very difficult to do well, but Carvin switches between make believe antagonists with grace and perfect timing. His Madiba impression is both hilarious and freakishly spot-on!
I spoke to a few audience members after the show, and more than one likened him to the highly talented Canadian (Indian) comedian,Russell Peters, who also works the racial divide like a skilled surgeon, removing the awkward ‘fat’ and leaving only the finely trimmed humour that permeates our everyday multicultural lives.
Can Carvin H take his comedy show to a more representative South African audience? Absolutely! So, if you haven’t yet seen the man in action, I suggest you do, while his ticket prices are still relatively cheap!
Jem Atkins is a local stand-up comic and you can catch him on the local circuit as well as follow him on twitter
Photo Courtesy of Abhi Indrarajan