Loyiso Gola: Pop Culture (3 stars)

This article is from 2019

Loyiso Gola: Pop Culture

An engaging hour of silly and serious material that eventually wanes

Opening with material about festival crowds, the weather and airline food, it might seem like Loyiso Gola is deliberately ticking off a list of clichéd observations. But this enthusiastic, wide-eyed globetrotter frequently manages to raise the roof with his leftfield analysis. He warms us up with some light audience back-and-forth, with the bigger laughs resulting from the tangents these interactions provoke.

Gola is more attuned to playing in front of London crowds which is a little too evident in some of his more south-focused references. A series of travelling tales fare better, particularly his various escapades in the US. He rails against political correctness and challenges recent reactions to the musical legacy of Michael Jackson; that could be an interesting argument to make but he doesn't back up his assertion, and the lack of focus is symptomatic of the second half of this hour.

While he starts off animated and engaging, Gola notably wanes later on. In tonight's show he frequently trips up over punchlines and muddles his words. Coupled with this, his attention moves to more serious topics whereupon the mood begins to stall. It looks like he's aware of this but seems unsure how to turn things around. There's a fantastic half hour of material within Pop Culture and some genuinely hilarious observations but an awful lot of filler kicks around too.

Pleasance Dome, until 26 Aug, 7pm, £9.50–£12 (£8.50–£11).

Loyiso Gola: Pop Culture

Stand-up comedy night by highly acclaimed South African comedian, Loyiso Gola.