How much do you really know about the stand-up comedian Jason Goliath? He’s performing as part of the live series on the 18th and 19th of August at the Lyric Theatre at Gold Reef City in Johannesburg, after just getting back from the invite-only Just for Laughs festival in Canada so we caught up with him backstage after a show to get to know the man behind the funny.
The Just for Laughs festival was “the best week of my Life, not only did I get to be part of a special filmed for Kevin Hart’s new LOL Network, but I was part of the biggest comedy festival on the planet with the best in the world.” He’s been doing comedy for 6 years now and he saw Kevin Heart, “performed with Michael Che, saw Jimmy Carr, Jim Carey, watched Nicholas Goliath shake Cedric the Entertainer’s hand and that was on day 1! It’s the Olympics of Comedy!” and South Africa, more especially Jason Goliath, has taken his place among the other global gold-medalists of comedy.
Jason is someone who always comments on his appearance, the way he does it is the interesting part. Being overweight has always been an issue that he’s had to overcome especially growing up. His solution is to always project positivity. It’s easier said than done, but when you speak to him you notice how comfortable he is with himself. For him “confidence is the only natural steroid and the more confident you are in what you do, the more successful you’ll be.”
This realization only happened in his late 20’s after a few failed relationships and business ventures. He then realized, if he’s destined to spend his life alone, he’d need to learn to love himself. Now that he’s on stage doing something he’d never had expected to do, we can see that confidence reflected in his set. Jason started his career in comedy at the age of 30 meaning that he started out with more life experience than someone in their teens or early 20s. He feels the 10-year difference helps him articulate himself better, he’s more relatable and he understands and engages with audiences better.
Jason admits that a comedians’ stage performance is only one part of the bigger picture and because of that the Goliath and Goliath comedy club has grown from strength to strength. He explains by looking at what Trevor Noah has done.
“Trevor has made himself accessible to people who aren’t able to see his live performances by recording his material, doing TV appearances and radio shows which have helped him amplify his core, the stand-up comedy. The Goliath and Goliath comedy club is that vehicle that helps drive the focal point of the Goliaths lives, that of stand-up comedy.
Jason also feels that the comedy industry is very supportive and always ready “to dedicate their funny to make your funny better. Comedy is a solo spot when you’re on stage but once you’re off, all the comedians are in it together, a kind of ‘Comedy-radery’ as Trevor Noah’s manager Ryan Harduth calls it, helping you be the best version of you!”
Understanding your audience is one part, the other is building yourself up, especially as a young comedian, not having to think about the material too much is important because you have to also focus on the delivery, performance, and properly getting into the set. The difficult part is performing to comedians especially if they’ve heard the set before, so it’s important to perform for the people buying the tickets and not the comedians.
The best advice Jason has received is that comedy is about trust. People need to trust that you’re funny particularly if they haven’t heard or seen you before. “When you start with something strong, they immediately buy into the fact that you’re funny and they’re more likely to travel a journey with you.”
Being funny is one thing, but it’s important to also have something to say. Jason’s message is “Don’t be vicariously happy through other people. Everyone can be happy exactly where they are. We also live in a society where people say; I’ll be happy if… or I’ll be happy when” and his message is: be happy now. He believes that everything can be worked on and sometimes things have to end because that’s not your path, and that’s what happened to him.
If you’ve bought your tickets to the Live Series, you’re in for a treat. Jason’s new set is really something to look forward to. There is a bit of strong language, a whole lot of honesty and we find out about his girlfriend and their relationship. His rule in life is that if he’ll do something in front of his mother, he can do it in front of everyone. Everything in the show is added to enhance the experience and to make it natural, “even in conversation we’re mindful of what we say and how it’s said, this applies to the delivery of a set also.”
Just like skydiving, “when you stop getting nervous to jump out of the plane, that’s when you won’t pack your parachute properly and that’s when you enter the danger zone. If you stop getting nervous to do something, stop doing it. Mel Miller who’s been doing comedy for 50 years said exactly that,” so when you’re watching Jason Goliath perform, know that he is packing heat and you’re in for a ride!