Comedy Does satire matter?

Does satire matter?

It’s hard to imagine the host of Late Night News nervous, but Loyiso Gola was visibly so when he began his talk at Think!Fest.

Two time Emmy nominee, Loyiso Goyo performs his State of the Nation show during the 2015 National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, 6 July 2015. Photo:CuePix/Ruan Scheepers

Two time Emmy nominee, Loyiso Goyo performs his State of the Nation show during the 2015 National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, 6 July 2015. Photo:CuePix/Ruan Scheepers

“I don’t think of myself as an authority figure to speak on satire. I’m just a stand-up comedian who’s been thrust into satire,” he tells the audience. “I’m not used to giving lectures,” he admits, adding that he’ll just talk, and he invites the audience to speak up if they disagree.

“As a comedian, I thrive on laughter,” he says when asked about his nervousness at the beginning of his talk on the sixth day of Think!Fest. When talking about the making of his show, he emphasises the importance of getting the facts right.

“You have to be educated,” he says, no matter if you are a comedian, a cartoonist or a writer. “My opinion is less important than the balance of the story. You have to be cognisant of the historical issues when you are doing art, including the people you are insulting. You have to understand why you are upsetting them.”

So what does Gola think is the role of satire? “Part of being an adult is learning to unlearn all the bad things you’ve learned growing up,” he says. “You have to pick what you want to unlearn. Satire helps you unlearn and helps you engage with that part of your brain that makes you question and engage with material that you have learned about.” Satire, he says, makes it easier to say difficult things, and it also makes it easier for people to listen to difficult things.

His talk, The Thin Line, was the first of many upcoming talks this week on satire, censorship and freedom of expression. Speakers still coming up include Dario Milo, Conrad Koch, Pierre de Vos and Judge Albie Sachs.

Siphokazi Zama
Cue student reporter

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