PETER TROMP spoke to a few of the comedians who will line up at this year’s Vodacom Funny Festival at the Baxter Theatre from June 11 to July 8.
1. How did you start out in the business of making people laugh?
I started from a very young age doing comedy in class and making people laugh. I realised I had a gift for it later on in my teens, when I performed at the off chance for a school variety show. I wasn’t meant to perform, but the act didn’t turn up so I went on, and it took off from there.
I went into musicals and plays and always pursued the comedy aspect of my career, and here I am today.
2. How would you describe your brand of comedy?
It’s musical comedy, with variety thrown in.
3. Who are your comedy heroes?
Dudley Moore, Victor Borge, Les Dawson; all musical comedy acts.
4. How do you approach doing a festival differently to one of your solo shows?
I take each show as it comes. The audiences are always different, so the act will work better some nights and other nights even better. You just have to do your show and subconsciously adapt your comedy accordingly to the people watching.
5. Do acquaintances and random people ever do that thing to you that I’ve heard so many comedians complain about where they go, “So, tell us a joke”?
No. Actually I used to get that all the time, but now I don’t give them a chance to ask, I just tell.
6. Now, please, tell us a joke.
The Boy with Tape on his Face
1. I started out as an apprentice to a clown and from there discovered circus sideshow. After several years talking comedy for a living I decided to try and see if I could make people laugh without saying anything.
2. Stand-up without talking.
3. I love the work of Buster Keaton, but for talking comedy I can’t go past Joey Delaware.
4. I enjoy festival shows as it’s a chance to just be a part of a line-up and do some of my favourite sections from my whole show
5. I am lucky enough that most people don’t make the connection from my character onstage and me so most people tend to ask me if I enjoyed the show liked I watched it.
6. Knock knock?
1. I figured you could make three times your pocket money if you do a funny show for your aunts and uncles. So, I’ve been doing this for about 35 years.
2. Observational, idiot next door type of comedy
3. Bill Cosby, Richard Prior and Eddy Issard. I reckon Bill Cosby is the funniest man that ever lived. He is very funny and squeaky clean. Genius!
4. Solo shows are great and they give you a great opportunity to really gel with your audience for an hour and a half. The festival set up is completely different in that you get to work with other acts and you only do 15 minutes. The funniest part of the festival happens backstage. It’s great and I am looking forward to it.
5. I’ll tell you what I tell them: “Sorry, I don’t do jokes.” Really, stand-up is not about telling jokes. I’ve never heard a stand-up start his/her set with “Three guys walk into a bar…”, ever.
1. I studied to be a dominee (seriously), which basically means that I was NOT the class clown. Coming from a small Karoo town I was however that guy that could tell stories and jokes hours on end and maybe that is where it started for me, but in my wildest dreams I never thought of myself ever becoming a comedian. For some reason my broken English “vars from the plaas” style has just clicked with audiences.
2. I am an Afrikaans “boerseun”, just telling it like I see it, so you can describe it as observational comedy from Kraaifontein and Joubertina. I tend to shy away from the really confrontational stuff, rather focussing on stuff I find weird and funny, like my marriage. My poor wife gets it a lot unfortunately.
3. I have a few actually, but the stand-outs are, internationally Andrew Dice Clay, Bill Hicks, Jeff Foxworthy, Ron White, George Carlin, Lee Evans and Peter Kay. Locally, Kurt Schoonraad and Stuart Taylor are my heroes and awesome guys to boot.
4. I can’t swear, which is really, really blerrie hard for a true Dutchman. The nerves and expectations obviously is much bigger, but at the end of the day it’s the same actually; just a bunch of people rocking up to be entertained and then they get me! I think the nice thing is that I m such a likeable oke that even if they don’t laugh at my jokes they just laugh at me, a lot like my wife actually.
5. Yes, and then I tell the most disturbing, inappropriate offensive joke you can’t even imagine. You should then see their parents’ faces.
It’s really weird you know, nobody goes up to Duane Vermeulen and asks him to tackle the living daylights out of them, or ask Minki to show her bra.
6. So this guys walks into an abortion clinic…
Just kidding, just kidding.
Mom walks in on little boy on the loo reading his little book, but every now and again he slaps himself on the head. After a while she can’t contain her curiosity and asks him why he does this. He replies: “But mommy, it works with a tomato sauce bottle.” Get it?
* Book at Computicket.