Improving craft no joke for Gola

Comedian Lazola Gola charms onlookers at the Village Green in Makhanda. He is presenting eight shows at the national Arts Festival this time round
Comedian Lazola Gola charms onlookers at the Village Green in Makhanda. He is presenting eight shows at the national Arts Festival this time round
Image: Werner Hills

Comedian Lazola Gola says the National Arts Festival has been a boot camp for him to improve his work.

And he knows how to work, with no fewer than eight shows at the 2019 edition of the fest.

Lazola spent a day with The Herald at the Village Green, where he went on a walkabout, trying on all manner of zany attire, taking a ride – sort of – on the “village train”, and charming everyone he encountered with his antics, including a beaming young woman for whom he even went down on bended knee in a mock proposal.

A Golden Horn Award nominee for Best Achievement in Scriptwriting in a TV Comedy, four-time Comics Choice nominee and international Emmy nominee for writing for Late Night News, Gola says he has received positive feedback for his show.

“People who have never seen me before have been saying that they loved the show.”

Gola, who has been coming to the festival since 2013, says he has learnt how to alter his work to better suit his audience.

“I have had a range of audience members – the other day I had a class of grade 11 and 12s, while the next day I had 60-year-olds.

“I didn’t change my show entirely, but tweaked it a bit to ensure that everyone laughed,” he added.

Gola said the festival was a chance for comedians to improve their craft by watching each other’s productions.

“Sometimes comedians chase laughs a lot – it’s good to watch other storytellers to learn how to tell a story, so as to not bombard people with laughs,” he said.

When it comes to his favourite festival spots, Lazola revealed that pub and eatery The Rat and Parrot’s bacon and avo pizza was one of his best things to eat in Makhanda.

● Lazola Gola Live runs until the July 6 at the Drill Hall.

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