Alyn Adams has been a thoughtful, witty, controversial, supercilious, angry and frequently misunderstood comedic writer since 1994.
With degrees in Drama, English and Education, Alyn began writing his own jokes via live improvised comedy in Durban, in 1993/94’s Comedy Games, a shameless Whose Line Is It Anyway? clone. He soon switched to solo stand-up and was a founder comic at the Johannesburg (neé Civic) Theatre's Punchline Pub in 1996.
In the mid-Nineties’ “alternative” South African comedy explosion, he discovered that he needed at least a decade to learn his craft, one gig at a time. However, he also needed the money, so he took any jobs he could get, even the ones he was under-qualified for. After 18 years plugging away and getting masses of stage-time, he finally knows what he’s doing; these days his cheeky, self-deprecating style can win over any crowd, with the possible exception of the terminally drunk. His routines include observational comedy with a surreal twist, surprising tales from history, a cappella song parodies and, when all else fails, emergency jokes. The common threads running through all his humour are an eye for the absurd and bizarre mental gymnastics.
Alyn Adam's was a regular act (1996-1999) at Hysterix, Joburg’s first dedicated comedy club in the then Randburg Waterfront, and its sister branch in Hatfield, Pretoria. He has since built a dogged cult following at pub & club gigs all over the circuit, puzzling some but delighting many others, especially those who read. In 1996 and 1997, he performed in Durban, Johannesburg and Grahamstown with the smash-hit Durban Poison Comedy Roadshow (revived in 2006), and also featured at the Smirnoff International Comedy Festival in Cape Town (1996/1997) and Durban (1997). In 1998 and 1999, he toured a solo 90-minute stand-up show, Rant Boy, to theatres in Johannesburg, Durban and Grahamstown, garnering a Vita Award nomination and the admiration of dozens.
Alyn’s stand-up writing brought him to the attention of the publishing industry. A three-year stint writing weekly opinion columns for the Mail & Guardian Online in the late Nineties was followed by his appointment as the staff writer for FHM magazine, upon its South African launch in 1999. Part of his actual job description from publishers UpperCase Media (UCM) was “make it funny”.
He left the post of FHM entertainment & books editor in 2002, but was re-employed on UCM’s next project, Heat magazine. Again, he was hired as a writer; but had been promoted to features editor before he resigned again in 2006. This departure was to allow him to launch a short-lived stand-up comedy club in a shopping centre built on a Khoi-san graveyard that he still doesn’t like to talk about.
UCM then launched ZOO magazine, so from 2006 until the publication’s closure in 2008, Alyn was once again a staff writer. He then served as FHM’s copy editor, senior copy editor and later deputy editor, before moving back to Heat as deputy editor and then head rewriter, before parting ways with Media 24, UCM’s parent company, in 2012, to devote himself to personal projects.
In 2002, his second solo stand-up show, F*** Off, Mr Chips, debuted at the Hilton Festival. This performance prompted the KZN Sunday Tribune to hire Alyn as a weekly opinionista; he has since produced more than 500 Headspace columns.
Since April 2012, he has also produced a resident column for the bi-monthly magazine Afropolitan. In 2003, he wrote Jack And His Big Stalk; an adult panto presented by Carnival City casino and Parker’s Comedy, commissioned by Joe Parker.
Throughout his years in a day-job, Alyn remained a popular stand-up act on the Gauteng club circuit, as well as a host of independent gigs around the country, including Durban, Bloemfontein, PE, Cape Town, Pretoria and even Walkerville. He’s equally at home as an MC, having hosted several venues, including The Blues Room (Sandton), Parker’s Comedy and Jive (Fourways), Funnybones (Northcliff Corner) The Underground (Cool Runnings Melville) and Bubba J’s (Atlasville). He has also been the munki-punk band BOO!’s intro-comic-of-choice for more than 15 years.
In 2008, he won the Goodwill Award at the Acappella Comedy Industry Awards, presented to the comic “easiest to work with”. His Sunday Tribune column Headspace won the first Times Comic Pen award at the 2012 South African Comics’ Choice Awards.
Alyn also works as part of the troupe the Joburg Comedy Cartel, comprising himself, Vittorio Leonardi, Warren Robertson and Shaun Wewege. They launched the Cartel with a successful tour to Durban in October 2010, followed by a series of gigs throughout 2011 and 2012 at Houghton’s Foxwood Theatre. They are available for corporate bookings, either individually, or as a four-hander.
Comics Choice Awards Winner – Alyn Adams | Times LIVE