Judging Policy

The Judges’ Objective

The overriding aim of JFC is to uncover and support new performers with the potential to make a sincere contribution to the artform and the industry, in the years ahead.

Some entrants will have had more stage time than others and therefore will be better ‘performers’, but we aren’t concerned if they are a little nervous or if they forget the next line. Who looks like they could have a career in comedy? Who could be a possible star of the future? Who could go on to present new, innovative and exciting comedy in the years to come?


Who are the judges?
What are they looking for?

The judges are invited by the producers of the event. They are drawn from industry, performers, media, and other local identities.

There is no formal, structured way of “marking” or “scoring”. Judges are instructed to identify performers with potential for creative achievement.

Some of the things they look out for are quality and originality of material, performance skills and audience response.


The Judging Pro-forma

The judging pro-forma is part of this policy. It makes some specific notes on what judges look for. Judges don’t rely on precise numerical scores; they make qualitative notes, for discussion amongst themselves, considering each act in the context of the whole night they’ve just seen, to pick a “winner”.

Judging comedy is subjective.


The JFC, judges, contestants and audiences need to recognise that no creative endeavour can be precisely “measured” to be “best”. Judges make a subjective – although final – decision informed by their own experiences in the artform and industry.


Deal-breakers: What’s absolutely Not On

-Doing material that the contestant didn’t write.

-No swearing or crude language. The Jive Cape Town Funny Festival is a family show.

-Material that is racist, sexist, homophobic or otherwise seriously offends the sensibilities of the audience. 


Complaints & Queries

Judges will only discuss their decisions with the responsible JFC staff members or representatives.

Comedy contestants and audiences are invited to contact the JFC office to discuss judges’ decisions. It is not appropriate to enter into discussion with judges themselves at a heat, where they have so generously volunteered their time.