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2008 Finalist: Yuk Yuk’s Great Canadian Laugh Off.
SA Comedy Award Winner: Stand Up of the Year 2007.
The year started with a bang, as John produced the South African leg of Henry Rollin’s 2007/8 world tour, taking in the Baxter Theatre in Cape Town and the Bassline in Johannesburg. John is currently developing a primetime television comedy pilot at MNet’s request.
In 2007, he produced and headlined Shady Okes at the Hammersmith Apollo in London. He also won the inaugural SA Comedy Award for Stand Up of the Year, with his one man show, Gay, Black & Immortal.
Of the stand up comedians working the circuit in South Africa today, John has the widest international profile. From his 2002 performance in Berlin, at the Maulhelden Festival, to his shows in Dubai in 2006 and 2008; to 2007’s Shady Okes in London and at the Bulmer’s Comedy Festival in Dublin; to his appearance at The Comedy Store in London in 2005; and his four trips to Canada, where he has played at Montreal’s Just for Laughs Festival and remains the only South African comedian to be invited to return three times, having impressed in Club Soda, Globecom and Bubbling with Laughter, and performing by invitation in the prestigious showcase Talk of the Fest with Drew Carey; to his 2000 participation in the Melbourne Comedy Festival, where he enjoyed a sold out run of 28 shows in the highly regarded Best of the Edinburgh Festival showcase.
While outspoken and sometimes controversial, Vlismas is a firm favourite in the corporate market, and spends over 60% of his stage time entertaining executives and their staff with tailored, material, proving that he has the ability to adapt rapidly and appropriately for diverse audiences.
In 2006 he produced and headlined Have a Heart (HAH) in aid of Child Welfare Johannesburg. In 2002, he hosted and co-produced the largest ever stand up comedy event seen in South Africa, Laugh Out Loud; which played to 7000 people.
Not content with stand up and MC work, John also writes for publications and spent sixteen weeks in 2007 attempting to attract litigation for his weekly column attacking the local Idols judges, syndicated in Independent Newspapers. He also completed a year-long column in the Star Newspaper’s Business Report, called Funny Money with Ronnie Apteker, and wrote a monthly column for In London magazine, for 3 years.
Recently, John has joined academic friend and mentor, Jonathan Foster-Pedley to lecture on MBA “Creategy” Electives at the Graduate School Of Business, delivering his talk “The Shared World” on applied intuition.
He has scripted and performed for the FNB Life Start, and SAB Brand Power national road shows, and regularly performs at his comedy club, The Comedy Underground, now SA’s longest running regular comedy event.
John has enjoyed much local success with his previous one-man shows, all of which he wrote, directed and produced: Whacked in 2001, Aggravated Assault in 1999, Man in Black in 1998, and Mr Ballistic in 1997. In 2001, his two-hander with Bevan Cullinan, Grinder confirmed his ability to sell tickets. The esteem in which John is held by the comedy industry is evidenced by such events as his role in Steven Wright’s South African tour as support act, and his performance for SA Tourism at the Sydney Art Museum in 2004.
WHAT THE CRITICS SAY:
“The country’s most recognised comedian” The Sunday Times
“…arguably the best stand-up comedian in the country today” Bongani Madondo, Daily News
“Vlismas impressed with his smart political jokes…” The Hollywood Reporter
“South Africa’s John Vlismas was definitely the highlight. This comic’s understanding of punchy dialogue mixed beautifully with his occasional leaps into highly amusing physical humour, making for a delightfully balanced routine” Impress Magazine, Melbourne
“Another delight was Barker’s cohort John Vlismas who delivered a high-energy stand-up set. A likeable, promising performer, Vlismas’ too-short set was an unexpected delight for the crowd who seemed to have come mostly for the more established Barker.” FOXTEL Magazine, Melbourne
“John Vlismas is one of the country’s most outrageous, original and manic stand-up comedians.” Christina Kennedy, The Citizen
“If John Vlismas can’t make you laugh, who can?” Jill de Villiers, The Citizen
“Vlismas is very much the face of comedy in the new South Africa.” Pierre de Villiers, Time Out