What are we allowed to say in public? Who is allowed to say it? And who isn’t allowed to say it?
The recent controversy around retailer H&M’s marketing campaign as well as comedian Tumi Morake’s comments about apartheid have got people talking, or rather, shouting on social media.
It is this awkwardness about what is acceptable to say in public, and who is allowed to say it that comedian Stuart Taylor tackles head-on, with his latest show Funny You Should Say That, at the Baxter Theatre for the next two weeks.
Parents can call their kids monkeys, but H&M cannot call a black kid a monkey. Tumi Morake can talk about apartheid in ways that Afrikaners cannot, argues Taylor.
It’s these public utterances, racism and use of language that provides the backdrop to a thoroughly entertaining show by the 40-something comedic stalwart.
“Developing the material in the comedy clubs over the past few months has been a blast for me. I turned 40 recently, so I guess this show is my version of a ‘mid-life crisis’! I find that my tolerance for BS has gone down with age, so this show is about me being uncensored, saying what I want to say, and hoping y’all find my comic musing hilarious.”
Taylor delves into the nuances and contradictions of society around race, culture and social etiquette. Woven into his experiences of being a young father in a post-apartheid South Africa are Taylor’s observations of the use of language and accents, all the while threatening to use the K-word (which he does eventually).
It’s the kind of awkward moment that changed the mood of the room for an instant – the air so thick with confusion one could cut it with a butter knife. But it’s quickly punctured by another punchline to settle the nerves. Mission accomplished.
Along the way, there are caricatures of the Tik addict, the drunk uncle who paints walls and the aunt who loves to dance at children’s parties.
Taylor’s frame of reference is always his strong connection to his youth, growing up on the Cape Flats as it compares to his life now, as a middle-class husband and father with an appreciation for detail.
Funny You Should Say That is directed by the multi-talented award-winning theatre director and comic, Rob van Vuuren.
Taylor’s earlier work has opened doors for those who came after him like Trevor Noah, Loyiso Gola and Loyiso Madinga. He made his mark on the local scene with the weekly travel show Going Nowhere Slowly. He left behind a career in science, having graduated from Stellenbosch University, to pursue a career in comedy.
Tickets for this much-anticipated show can be purchased via Computicket at either www.computicket.com or via Checkers and Shoprite retail stores, countrywide, and are priced at R120 (Monday to Thursday shows) and R150 (weekends).
Follow Stuart on Twitter: (@TheStuartTaylor) or like his Facebook page (Stuart Taylor) for up-to-date info.