Bongani Ndlovu, Showbiz Correspondent
IT was a sorry sight to see Zimbabwe’s funny man Edgar Langeveldt labour through his comedy set on Friday night in Bulawayo.
Langeveldt was the headline performer at the Umahlekisa Comedy Club’s fifth anniversary celebrations and a lot was expected from a man who is touted as the Godfather of Zimbabwe comedy.
Those who followed him when he started his career in the late 90s were also disappointingly astonished at what they saw on Friday night. Others who had heard about him because of urban folklore also expected more from the comedian who was the go to person for anything comedic in Zimbabwe for years.
The air of expectation was undoubtedly strong before the show as people wanted to see the man who made people love stand up comedy when not many knew what it was nearly two decades ago. And when Langeveldt got on stage and started speaking, his first punch line was met with a deathly silence.
He tried again to make people laugh, but alas, there was no response. He tried to gain the sympathy from the crowd when he invited them to pop balloons and possibly win a prize and again, there were no takers.
It was only after he started talking about the coloured community and taking a jab at his race, that he got some chuckles from the crowd.
As this was happening, comedians who looked up to him for inspiring them to take up the art form, stared stony faced in disbelief. They could not bear to see their mentor struggle on stage. He was unco-ordinated and his storylines could not make sense.
Possibly, it was because of the social lubricants that he had taken before the show as he was seen guzzling them down as he prepared to go on stage. Or maybe he has been out of the game for so long that he has lost his touch on stage which for a seasoned entertainer, should not be a problem because he knows how to tweak his jokes to suit the crowd in front of him.
Bulawayo is a different type of audience, hard to please and easy to offend, so the trick is to catch them on the first attempt and you will have them for life.
Whatever the reason, Friday’s set was not the Langeveldt that the older generation watched or the younger generation heard of.
It might have been just a bad day in the office as Langeveldt openly admitted that he was not the best comedian on the day, but was the worst. So for him to show that he had indeed failed could only spur him to improve.