”Written byKerryn Hopkinson
Alice Viskat and Evil Comedy offer up something new, refreshing and unique to Cape Town and Comedy as a whole
Comedy is an art form that often goes underappreciated and undervalued, and Alice Viskat, the founder of Evil Comedy, is keenly aware of this fact. In a recent interview, Alice spoke about the intricacies of Evil Comedy, a unique comedy event that defies convention. I had the privilege of interviewing her last week to speak about all things Evil Comedy related (and to talk some shit too, of course).
Evil Comedy is a comedy event that started in 2022. Unlike other comedy events, it isn’t only comprised of famous figures nor is it simply an open mic where anyone can participate. It is an event like no other – combining a mix of well-known comedians as well as less famous ones. The story of Evil Comedy shows how extraordinary the comedy industry is and the true power an individual can hold with the right community by their side. Started on a whim, it was never meant to be more than a one-time thing and yet here we are today – with Evil Comedy’s fourth installment being just a day away (and more coming soon).
Alice Viskat has always been a performer but comedy never crossed her mind until someone told her she should do stand-up. Yes, Alice is funny as hell but most people would take that compliment and not think much of it. Miss Viskat is different – when she sets her mind on something, she commits. Which is what she did – a commitment was made to put on a performance with a mix of comedians at all different levels and her on stage too. Alice herself described it as ramshackle, it was just thrown together.
However, at the end of the day 150 people arrived – when they had only catered for 50. People were sitting on the bar and crouched around the stage to experience the show. It was loved and enjoyed by all. As was the next one. And the next one. And chances are the ones in the future will be too. The shows are a unique experience – affordable yet upmarket, small but very special. Each show is different from the next with a new batch of performers – some of which are crowd favourites, and others provide the audience opportunities to find new favourites. It’s fresh and certainly a niche in the market. And who doesn’t love a night of good comedy?
The Evil Comedy shows are a unique experience – affordable yet upmarket, small but very special. Each show is different from the next
I don’t think we realize just how important comedy is in our lives. I certainly underestimated it until I saw Alice’s eyes light up as she illuminated me. “When people go to comedy shows, they forget about whether they’ve been fighting with their mom or having problems at home. You go in there and the real-world trouble fades away.” It’s a form of catharsis, it’s temporary freedom from any heaviness that lies within the heart.
And we don’t often appreciate the position comedians put themselves in to provide us with this. “There’s no character to hide behind. If people don’t like your performance, no one’s gonna laugh – it’s immensely vulnerable, revealing, and ridiculous,” says Alice. Comedians have a terribly difficult job – they often take the most difficult or sad situations and find the humour in it to bring other people joy. Alice spoke about the intelligence and self-awareness that accompanies those in the profession of comedy.
“It really requires you to dig deep sometimes and look on the bright side. And finding humour within your personal trials and tribulations also requires a lot of resilience. How can I make this more bearable for myself and potentially make it humorous for the people so it’s not just like something I went through.” She believes that this self-awareness and the situations that they are often put in makes many comedians so empathetic.
Alice cites this as one of the possible reasons why the comedy community was so open and welcoming to her. New to the scene, Alice had much to learn but was given endless advice and support from the people around her. She gives a special shout-out to comedians, JamJam and Melissa Ohlsson for their endless advice and help. And not to mention the support she received from other comedians keen to join and support the Evil Comedy movement. The comedy community is a beautiful one – where most people just want to ensure everyone succeeds – at least that has been Alice’s experience.
“There’s no character to hide behind. If people don’t like your performance, no one’s gonna laugh – it’s immensely vulnerable, revealing, and ridiculous,” says Alice.
If this wasn’t enough to convince you to attend an Evil Comedy event – maybe learning more about the face behind it will. Alice Viskat is a shining beam of light. She’s a dancer, a choreographer, a comedian, an actress and of course the mother of Evil Comedy. She does so much and still has an endless amount of energy. She is a person with immense passion and is energized by those around her.
At one point, I asked her what she lives for. Slightly welling up, she responded, “Human interaction. I think that’s why I do what I do, because in the arts you’re really bearing your soul. Good art is vulnerable and about connection. There’s no truer way to form a human connection with someone. Finding that common string in humanity that ties everyone together, that anyone can relate to on some level – that’s art.”
Alice has hopes to continue with Evil Comedy and grow it as much as possible. Whilst no set plans are in place, she aspires to expand it to Joburg and hey, possibly even internationally someday – who knows? Her power is insurmountable and she is the kind of person that can literally do whatever the hell she sets her mind to. She is sensitive and idealistic but also hard-working.
Alice has taken the job of an artist and claimed it, despite it not being an easy one. It takes vulnerability and self-awareness and bearing your soul for the entertainment and satisfaction of other people. Evil Comedy gives people a chance. It helps for up and coming comedians to get on stage with more well-known figures. It gives the audience a night away from their problems. And it gives everyone, performers and audience, a good laugh. And isn’t that what makes life bearable?