They call it a starter marriage and it’s said to last only seven years. This is the estimated time it takes young married couples to get out of their ill-fated matrimony. While seven years inflicts damage on nuptials – it’s the same time it took the Comics Choice Awards to mature into one of the biggest awards ceremonies on the continent.
On Tuesday, the awards organisers revealed the 2017 theme, and for the first time it has expanded to include other African countries.
Under the theme, The Freedom of Funny, the new awards will also take place at a new venue.
“This theme was chosen after the success of last year’s theme – For The Love Of Laughter.
“We saw a really good reception by the South African public to a more accessible, upbeat theme.
“Not to say we won’t take a darker turn down the road again, but for now, while the country navigates a tough period, we felt it would be great to celebrate positive aspects of comedy again,” says John Vlismas, co-founder of the awards.
He’s not able to reveal too much about the inclusion of other nations, but he says the organisers initially contacted 10 countries.
“This includes countries like Nigeria, Swaziland and Lesotho.
“Last year we invited ambassadors from other countries to present awards, to take part in the experience and to sell this idea,” says Vlismas.
About how the nomination and selection panel works, he says: “It’s actually a simple numeric system.
“Comedians need to register online and nominate themselves, then they need to be verified by a fellow comedian.
“It turns it into a self-governing system.
“When voting comedians also get three votes awarding gold, silver or bronze to nominees.
“Out of those, the one with the most gold will win.”
The 2017 home of the Savanna Comics Choice Awards will be the Lyric Theatre at Gold Reef City.
“The change is about the nature of the show. The Lyric essentially comes with a great crew and this year we’re presenting it as more of a traditional theatre show. It suits the look of the theatre.”
Under the banner of The Freedom of Funny, the awards will celebrate the power that humour has to break down barriers and open borders between African countries and encourage the free flow of comedy talent.
The comedians nominated this year will be announced on July 12.
The 2017 categories include:
The Savanna Newcomer Comic Award.
The Intermediate Comic Award.
The Comics’ Pen Award.
The Lifetime Achiever Award.
The Flying Solo Comic Award.
The Non-English Comic Award.
The Nando’s Best Friend of Comedy Award.
The Breakthrough Award.
The Savanna Pan-African Comic Award. This award will go to the comic on the continent (excluding those who hail from South
Africa) who has contributed the most to the African comedy industry.
The Audience Choice Award (public vote).
The Savanna Comic of the Year.
For more information on this year’s instalment of the Savanna Comics’ Choice Awards, you
can visit www.comicschoice.com