In 2011, John Vlismas and Taffia Keight met at a quiet coffee shop and pored over a very bad sketch of a design concept on a paper serviette. The vision was to create an awards ceremony unlike any other, for the burgeoning stand-up comedy talent in South Africa. The awards should run on an honor system, and be made by professionals to their peers and self-governing in terms of integrity.


Vlismas had been working on the idea for a decade, but needed the involvement of a meticulous Keight in terms of logistics in order to create a brand package around the concept.


The result was a sponsored premium variety show, world-class Waldo statuettes and buy-in from a staggering 96% of the known local comedy industry.


In 2015, The Annual South African Savanna Comics’ Choice Awards® (#SavannaCCA) celebrated it’s 5th birthday in style, having grown its footprint from one main event to three around Gauteng and an audited media value in excess of R50m.


2016 sees a further growth to nine branded events, with prime television real estate awarded throughout the calendar to partner Vuzu TV’s rapidly expanding channel.


The Savanna CCA’s will also celebrate its largest number of winners in 2016 as there will be ten categories.


2017: In keeping with a celebration of the breaking down of comedy borders and amplifying the work of some comedians this year to redefine a law that could spell jail for local comics, the theme for this year’s Awards is “The Freedom of Funny”. This theme talks to the universal, borderless and inclusive nature of comedy.


We are also thrilled to announce that in the spirit of re-invention, and never becoming comfortable, nor formulaic – the main show will be hosted by long-time supporter of quality SA comedy, The Lyric Theatre, Gold Reef City. 

2018: Over the years, the Savanna Comics’ Choice Awards has looked at so many elements of humour. We’ve looked at the business side, the social side and the feel-good factor. We’ve explored the freedom of comedy and how sharp it’s blade can be. This year, we change lenses again and we dive into one of the most underrated tools in a comedian’s box of tricks - the “Rhythm of Funny.” 


2019: Like the Loch Ness monster, money in the comedy industry is rumoured to be huge and fantastic.

But no one seems to ever see it, except for very few - who don’t seem to have any proof.


The topic of funny money remains a mystery to the many. 

What is it? How big is it? Where is it? And how do you get it?


The comedy industry has burgeoned in the last decade,where there were 30 or 40 comics working full time - now there are hundreds of comedians regularly gigging in SA. The industry that may have been worth R60-80m a few short years ago now generates hundreds of millions of Rand annually in performance fees, product endorsements and television and radio deals.

In its ninth year, the CCA’s promises a show that will lift the lid on this enduring enigma.

From the financial black hole that is the open spot, to the hugely paying unicorn that is the 90’s corporate gig - and onto the holy grail that is the national 12 month full-rights usage campaign - there are so many levels of money in comedy, and everyone wants to know the numbers. What do agents charge? Who pays the tax? 


Now, we are perched on the edge of another exponential growth spurt as the world eyes Africa for the next global comedy stars, and content deals are starting to show real growth across platforms other than linear TV.