Comedian Alyn Adams is one of the comedians performing for the Heat City Comedy Festival
Cannabliss: is a one-man stand-up comedy show written and performed by Alyn Adams, which is scheduled for one performance only at the Heat City Comedy Festival: at 6pm on Sunday, 4 August at the Seabrooke’s Theatre. Tickets at WebTickets
The third annual Heat City Comedy Festival returns to Durban venues for six days of hilariousness featuring an astonishing array of some of South Africa’s most exciting, boundary breaking and innovative comedians, from July 30 to August 4.
Your full name / stage name:
Alyn Denzel Adams
Where are you from – which suburb
Westridge in Durban. After 22 years in Jo’burg, however, I now live in Hilton.
Tell us about yourself and where you came from?
I came from St Augustine’s Hospital in Clark Road, which makes it awkward whenever I’m told to go back there. Just your typical white kid raised from the working class to the middle class by apartheid, except I was also raised by Catholics, so the guilt doubles automatically.
When was your first comedic gig and how did it go?
My first comedic gig is lost in the mists of time at university and I was probably horrible, and my first improvised sketch-comedy gig was in 1994 with Comedy Games at Jam & Sons in Durban which went exceptionally well.
My first stand-up gig was in a double act with John Vlismas called The Johnny Alyn Show, also at Jam & Sons in 1994, at which we both died horribly on our bottoms, to sanitise a popular phrase. We learnt our lesson fast: never play a gig for jazz journalists enjoying a promotional freebie, especially when the comedy is set up at the opposite end of the room from the food and alcohol… and the jazz journalists.
How does a comedian choose material they would want to base their comedy about?
I’ve always favoured a Magic 8 Ball.
What type of material is taboo in stand-up comedy; or at least in South Africa?
Whatever the loudest and drunkest member of the audience finds offensive, even if they’ve misheard, misunderstood or misinterpreted what you just said.
If you wanted to put a comedic dream team of South Africans together, who would it be?
Whoever could show up on time and sober, work the room you put in front of them, and require the least supervision off-stage to keep them out of jail or the papers – I don’t usually qualify.
If someone asked to be your apprentice and learn all that you know, what would you teach them?
Everything I know, presumably. I realise that sounds vague, but it would be an awful lot to write down in a press release; I’m 54, and I read.
Is Stand-up Comedy your day Job, or are there other ways to pay your bills?
I write. Sometimes, for money – which I think answers both questions. Who’s asking; SARS?
Is there future for stand-up comedians and how could people like you already in the industry create a platform for there to be a future?
One might just as well ask, ‘What are you, the audience without which stand-up can’t exist, doing to create a platform for the industry in the future?’ I reckon there’s certainly a future for the industry, as long as comics keep writing jokes and people are still prepared to come and watch them – but it is a two-way street. It doesn’t help if only the comics show up at the venue…
The other thing that both audiences and established comics are responsible for, if newcomers are going to get the chance to keep reinvigorating the industry, is vigilance about freedom of speech. As our state gets more authoritarian, naked emperors are going to want to stop comics from pointing it out – everyone who cares about the future of comedy needs to be awake on that score, and ready to fight for the Constitution.
What is one piece of advice you can give about humour and life?
Grumpy, humourless people who think jokes are frivolous die, every day. So does everyone else, obviously, but a sense of humour helps you to be a bit happier beforehand.
How can we make Durban the comedy mecca for stand-up comedians?
Pay close attention:
Every. Time. There’s. A. Comedy. Show. Go. See. It.
Tell. Your. Friends. Till. It’s. Sold. Out.
If. You. Work. In. Media. Spread. The. Word.
It’s amazing how top comics will flock to your city if they are assured of crowds and money, and how they could turn your home into a comedy mecca if you’d just meet them halfway and go watch their shows. If you come, they will build it.
If there was one comedian to meet, who would you meet and why?
Whoever invented the phrase ‘traffic calming zone’, so that I could demonstrate the level of calm that speed humps induce in me.
Anything else you want to tell us?
Speed humps do not make me calmer.

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