Comedians Of The World – Loyiso Gola: The African African | Netflix special reviewed by Steve Bennett
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Comedians Of The World – Loyiso Gola: The African African

Netflix special reviewed by Steve Bennett

An intelligent observer of the world, Loyiso Gola makes barbed comments about white privilege in a dozen different ways over the course of his Netflix half-hour. But his purpose is to laugh heartily at the absurdity of the situations he so astutely describes rather than heaping on the guilt too liberally.

After breaking the ice with a dick joke – which is immediately and cheekily undermined  – the tone is set by mocking bilingual Montreal, where the special was taped, for its mere two official languages, compared to the 11 back home in South Africa.

Expanding on his theme, Gola playfully explains how Afrikaans sounds as ancient as Shakespeare to modern Dutch ears – an idea we are only left to imagine – while taking issue with Black Panther for mangling his mother tongue, Xhosa (A similar point is made by fellow ‘Comedian Of The World’ Logos Madinga in his episode, too). Gola returns to the topic of language later, pondering why we ever bothered to learn collective nouns.

Otherwise, he waxes lyrical on how toiletry products and cookery shows delineate the haves and have-nots of the world, a reminder of the division that exists, delivered playfully. That adverb can be attached to the way he approaches most his subject matter, even when discussing the most inflammatory of racist insults. 

As well as bringing a global perspective – including taking on India’s space programme – Gola also has a historical one, wondering how we could ever have waged major conflicts over spices. 

Given that he clearly has a curiosity to him, it’s a surprise that he struggled in his exams as a schoolboy. But his reenactment of the panic of facing questions he was ill-prepared for, and his description of the fine art of bullshit, is a strong, evocative and universally recognisable routine that forms a cornerstone of this impressive show,

• Comedians Of The World –  Loyiso Gola: The African African is available on Netflix now. Watch here.

Review date: 12 Jan 2019
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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