In Conversation: meet Jason Goliath
Larger than life and funny as hell, the next talent on our CSA Radar we’d like to introduce is comedian, Jason Goliath. Getting by with a little help from his friends (and family), the Joburg funnyman has been building a dream career for the better part of six years now. With TV, hosting and owning his own comedy club its easy to say that Jason is mastering the business of funny. He’ll *tell you a joke for free but best believe the full experience is well worth the price of admission.
Words: Tshiamo Seape
Jason is a busy man. We were lucky enough to catch up with him just a few days before the opening of his new comedy club. The man is on a role, and it’s about time everyone found out exactly why.
So Jason, how are you and what are you up to?
At the moment my core focus is the opening of our second Goliath Comedy Club in Braamfontein which is super exciting for us. Firstly, because it’s a dedicated comedy space in South Africa, (which is something that is really needed), and second, it’s in Braamfontein; it’s very much A New York style comedy club compared to the club we run in Melrose Arch. Instead of having a restaurant that’s cinema style – the shows are an hour and twenty minutes long, we’ll have multiple shows on a day instead of one show a day. The Braamfontein club opens on the 28th (of October). That’s about the most exciting.
I’m also enjoying being a presenter on “Man Cave” and all the other stuff I can’t really speak about yet.
Do you have anything special planned for the launch?
We’ve got a launch party planned for Saturday. We’re having 20 comedians doing five minutes each without a host. Each act brings the next act on and my favourite part is that it’s not structured like normal comedy shows were you start with your weakest and end with your strongest. They arrive and draw a number and it makes it difficult for even experienced comics to be funny in five minutes. Its really exciting for the young guys. You have someone who’s been doing comedy for a year introducing someone like Loyiso Gola. Its great even for someone who doesn’t watch a lot of comedy to see a variety of acts.
People familiar with you see you as this larger than life star, and I wanted t know how close this is to who you actually are. Is it an accurate portrayal?
I attribute this to the fact that I to started comedy very late in my life, but I’m fortunate enough that I don’t have to play a character on stage. I think that one of the reasons people enjoy my comedy is that I’m very honest and very much myself – the guy you see on stage is the guy that I am all the time.
I just love that I can be incredibly polished and incredibly crass at the same time.
You just mentioned starting comedy quite late in your life, so what clique were you in at school? Were you the funny guy?
I played rugby in high school which kind of put me on the border of being a jock, but I always liked making jokes and making people laugh. In high school I was also a chubby kid; I was a teaser. I would tease people first before they got a chance to tease me, and I think that’s where my sense of whit developed. I definitely wasn’t the coolest kid at school, but I also wasn’t the not-coolest. I was the guy people came to hang out with if they wanted to laugh. We literally had a crew of guys and we’d hang out and different people would come chill with us because they knew all we wanted to do was make people laugh.
What makes you laugh the hardest?
Life makes me laugh – people’s reactions to how similar and different we all are. I also just love that I can be incredibly polished and incredibly crass at the same time and make people laugh outside of their comfort zone. My favourite type of comedy is the type of comedy that makes you laugh before you decide you’re morally comfortable with the content or not.
Who are the comedians and entertainers that have influenced you over the years?
There are a couple. Number one, the biggest influence on my life and comedy career has been Siv Ngesi, who is the guy who actually suggested I try standup, just over six years ago now. Outside of the advice hes just been such an intepration in terms of how to approach and see the world. An example of that is whenever I ask how he’s doing he says “I’m amzing”. From a pure comedic point of view, its guys like Joey Rasdien, Kagiso Lediga, Robby Collins. These guys have always been available as mentors.
Staying on the topic of comedians, can you tell the one comedian in the world you’re dying to see?
I’ve seen Dave Chappelle live, who is still my ultimate. I saw Chris Rock live when he was in South Africa and I think that he played a big part in me wanting to try stand up comedy. I had tickets to see Jerry Seinfeld live, but I had a show on at the same time for Kevin Hart and you don’t drop Kevin Hart to see Seinfeld. Greatest of all time for me, although he doesn’t perform anymore, is Bernie Mac – he’s my guy.
Putting you on the spot, I want to hear your list of the top five SA comedians.
Number one would have to be Tol Ass Mo, just because he’s the best storyteller at the moment. Number two, Loyiso Gola because I believe he is the godfather and just technically supreme. Number three is Skhumba Hlope, because I aspire to have the stage presence he has. Number four and five will have to be Donovan and Nicholas Goliath because they’re my boys and they still make me laugh. It’s a big compliment because I’ve watched them more than anybody else and I still laugh every time I see them.
What do you tell up and coming comedians who are just trying to start?
When I started I got the best advice. Remember to have fun and start with something you find funny and not something you think the audience is going to like. Be original. Don’t go on stage and do someone else’s jokes – create your own content.
People are so sensitive, and I’m the type of guy who gets to laugh about the stuff we kind of whisper to our wives, partners, or girlfriends. The stuff that we think nobody else is laughing about
I want to move away from comedy for a bit and just find out what was the last book you read, or movie you watched – whats been keeping you entertained lately?
I’m not going to lie the last book I read was a set work at school – even then I watched the movie. The last movie I really enjoyed and made me laugh hard was Guardian’s of the Galaxy 2. I’m just waiting for Deadpool 2 then I’ll be done with life. I won’t have to watch another movie after that because it’s going to be the greatest movie of all time.
Last Question: If you could ask any South African one question, what would it be?
The only thing that springs to mind is Jacob Zuma and I’d have to ask him “what the fuck, man”? If I had the license to do it, I’d just ask him that.
*If you’ve kept with us this whole way you’re probably expecting that joke, so here it is.
“No, you’re a poo”