On Tuesday, award-winning comedian Loyiso Gola’s Netflix standup special called Unlearning premiered on the streaming platform, and it’s undoubtedly some of his best work yet. The show has also made history as Netflix’s first ever standup comedy special from Africa.
Filmed in Cape Town at the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art, Unlearning is a show Loyiso created about six years ago and unpacks issues around race and identity from an entirely new lens and perspective.
South African late-night TV host Loyiso Gola filmed his first full Netflix comedy hour, Loyiso Gola: Unlearning, in 2020 DC (During Covid), as the opening titles reveal. What he has to tell his fans in Cape Town and around the world suggests we still have work to do on ourselves once the pandemic is over.
While Trevor Noah left South Africa to make it big in America, Loyiso Gola already had become the “Jon Stewart of South Africa,” co-creating and anchoring his own send-up of TV news in 2010 with Late Nite News with Loyiso Gola. Five years later, Gola began spreading his wings to the UK and the U.S., first releasing an hour special in 2016 via Vimeo, Live in New York. Gola also performed on BBC’s Live at The Apollo in 2018, and put out a half-hour special for Netflix as part of the Comedians of the World collection that kicked off 2019.
Now 37, Gola finds himself questioning a lot of the things he was taught in schools and by society. Hence, the need to unlearn.
What Comedy Specials Will It Remind You Of?: Trevor Noah might obviously come to mind. The Netflix algorithm also suggests you look to comedy specials from another South African, Tumi Morake, as well as American comics such as Dave Chappelle and Deon Cole.