Presented by Savanna Premium Cider in partnership with VUZU AMP, Sunday World and Kaya FM 95.9

If laughter is a great way to stay warm on a cold winter’s night, then hundreds of comedy fans had the right idea when they attended the Savanna Newcomer Showcase at the Soweto Theatre last night to laugh with and at some of the country’s newest and freshest comedic talent.

The first event to kick off the Annual South African Savanna Comics’ Choice Awards (Savanna CCA’s) calendar, the Showcase opened the stage, literally, to 24 registered newcomer comedians from across the country who had to deliver five minutes of stand-up comedy.

The crowd hooted, laughed, guffawed, clapped and cheered as one by one, the comedians delivered their own style of comedy, ranging from full vernacular to a less-than-sexy strip show. A special guest performance by 2016 Savanna Newcomer Award recipient, Ebenhaezer Dibakwane, reminded fans why he was last year’s funniest newcomer.

Last night’s performers were (in no particular order): Andrew Hughes, Bongani Dube, Chantal Venter, Daryl Williams, David Mbambo, Esethu Somdaka, Etienne Davids, Isuru Jinasena, Gilli Apter, Kamalan Govender, Matthew Armstrong, Mfundo Ndovela, Nqobile Nontshinga, Pius Xula, Sbu Mnyandu, Shanray van Wyk, Siyabonga Mzimela, Teboho Thesha, Thabani Dhlomo, Thapelo Maka, Troy Tesla, Tshireletso Phasha, Tsitsi Chiumya and Vivi Khondowe.

“The quality of the talent this year is the best we’ve seen at the Savanna Newcomer Showcase,” says John Vlismas, co-founder of the Savanna CCA’s. Event host and comedy legend Kagiso Lediga likened the newcomers to “untamed talent”, going so far as to say they’re the Kruger Park of wild animals: hungry, energetic, sometimes a little unpolished, but certainly evidence that young comedy in South Africa is strong.

Beating the Joburg winter chill, the Showcase kicked off with a sizzling pre-show party that got the crowd warmed and ready for the comedy to come. Guests enjoyed an authentic shish nyama, complimentary Savanna Premium Cider, bashing beats from DJ Marco and Fistaz Mixwell, and the chance to get (temporary) tattoos done – all designed by comedians.

From here the industry will vote for their favourite newcomer in the Savanna Newcomer Award category when voting opens on 5 June 2017. The five nominees will be announced, along with all other categories, at the Nominee Press Lunch on 12 July 2017 in Johannesburg.

The Savanna Newcomer Showcase is presented by Savanna Premium Cider as part of the brand’s ongoing commitment to developing comedy talent in South Africa and across the continent.

The Savanna Comics’ Choice Awards would like to thank Protea Hotel Fire & Ice! by Marriott Melrose Arch for generously accommodating the out-of-town newcomers.

No under 16’s. Alcohol not for sale to persons under the age of 18.

Visit<> for more information and to buy tickets to the 7th Annual South African Comics’ Choice Awards on Saturday 9 September 2017 at The Lyric Theatre at Gold Reef City.