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Mel Miller pisses people off. In a thirty-eight year career, he's pissed off right wingers, left wingers, liberals, conservatives, whites, blacks, Indians, Germans, Japanese, the British, jews, muslims, christians, the Apartheid government, the ANC, men, women and censors. He's likely to continuing pissing them off for some time, too - which is fine, since more than a few have done the same to him. A true legend of South African comedy, Mel started mixing comedy and folk music in 1964. He shot to fame in the country's first television comedy series, Biltong and Potroast, in 1976 - "It took me twelve years to become an overnight success," he crows. Never out of demand for corporate or charity gigs, he greeted the Nineties resurgence of local comedy with gusto. His presence as a guaranteed killer headliner helped establish venues like Hysterix at the Randburg Waterfront, and ensured the success of large-scale events like the 5fm Comedy Jam. His presence on a Comedy Express bill ensures a packed house, and his routine is a highlight of the Smirnoff International Comedy Festival every year. In 1997, his two-hander with Shaun Griggs, Things To Do In Joburg When You Haven't Realised You're Dead, rocked full houses at the Liberty Theatre On The Square, Sandton, and in 1999 he delighted crowds at the Grahamstown Festival with Captain Chaos Returns.
With his gravelly, chain-smoking delivery and his habit of pouring undiluted vitriol on a vast array of targets, Mel literally rips brave club and corporate audiences apart. The faint-hearted and politically correct may bewail his brutal delivery, but at its heart lies the honesty of a latter-day Lenny Bruce. With no time for pretentions or pomposity, Mel Miller strips away euphemism and stupidity to tell it like it is, leaving his crowds helpless and hysterical as they realise nobody is safe and nothing is too serious to laugh at.