Thursday, April 9, 2020

The starting line up at Maitisong’s comedy club

One of Maitisong’s new director, Gao Lemmenyane’s initiatives when he took over from David Slater, who managed the arts space for 20 years, was to set up a comedy club that would hone aspirant stand-up comedians, and, in turn, diversify the roster of evening entertainment staged at the Maitisong. This week, I had the opportunity to meet five of the six members of the new Maitisong Comedy Club.

Unfortunately, Desma Basson, who has experience as a news reader and rapper, and the only comedienne at Maitisong Comedy Club, was absent,
The comedians, Katego, Edward, Tefo, Bafana and Mr K, were exchanging ideas for the upcoming Maitisong Comedy Festival scheduled for September, observations pondered upon for their cross sectional familiarity.

Asks one of the comedians, “Why are panties hidden when on a girl’s body, but hung out to dry in the open?” To an array of answers, which appears to be the way the stand up comedians exercise their funny muscle. I happened to meet them on one of the days they staged their routines before each other (as if to a bigger crowd). Each member displays a character unique to them, which, with more honing, could be highly entertaining.
A workshop facilitated by South Africa’s NuBreed Comedy Club’s Kedibone Mulaudzi, in April during NuBreed’s own shows staged at Maitisong and NewsCafe, kick-started the six hopefuls in on an intensive program for September’s Maitisong Comedy Festival.
“They are required to write one joke each day,” Lemmenyane says.

Will the comedians be working with other South African comedians?

“We have an arrangement with NuBreed, who will also host the young comedians on an trip to South Africa to share stages and interact with NuBreed Comedy collective and other comedians in stand up comedy forums this June,” said Lemmenyane.
A June date, yet to be confirmed, will see the comics alongside NuBreed trying out their material before a small crowd in Gaborone. Regular performances are to follow thereafter.

A radio advert was placed on Yarona FM, Gaborone’s youth orientated radio station, and forms for joining the club published in Mmegi Monitor during April. The only restriction being all applicants must be over 18.

Says Lemmenyane, “From the telephonic response I was overwhelmed with, I had initially anticipated around 50 people.” Of the six present members, he says, “Well, I hope none of them pull out.”

He, however, does not rule out late applicants.
“Whoever is interested now has missed the crucial workshop; I don’t know whether they will be able to catch up. They can call the Maitisong office and talk to me, though I do not promise anything.”
Meet the Maitisong stand up comedians;

Name: Edward Fella
Stage name: Haven’t yet decided.
Age/Date of Birth: I’ll tell you later.
What made you believe you were a comedian? I crack myself up all the time.
What made you fill in the form to join the club? I realised it was a chance that would not come again.
What have you done (performances) to realise your comedy ambitions? Nothing official, but whenever I see a group of people, wherever I stand becomes my stage.
Who is your favourite comedian and why are they your favourite? Jerry Seinfeld and Chris Rock, I like their different styles.
What are you learning about comedy that you least expected? There is a lot more hard work involved than I thought.
Have you started working on your set for the June show? Yes!
Is research necessary and why? Only sometimes, otherwise life is enough.
If you had a television show what should we expect? Expect to look forward to it every week.
From your observation, what type of audience are Batswana? An audience that appreciates comedy will not take kindly to recycled jokes.
Humour differs between cultures, can you define local humour? The clever use of words without being disrespectful.
Why should people come to see you perform? I am original.
One or a few last thing/s you want the public to know about you… If you see me walking on the road, feel free to give me a lift.

Name: Katego Malaakgosi
Stage name: N/A
Age/Date of Birth: 20 yrs
What made you believe you were a comedian? I made my friends laugh.
What made you fill in the form to join the club? I saw it as a chance to groom myself.
What have you done (performances) to realise your comedy ambitions? Nothing yet.
Who is your favourite comedian and why are they your favourite? Chris Rock, because he is so creative.
What are you learning about comedy that you least expected? That people will not laugh at all your jokes.
Have you started working on your set for the June show? Yes, from day one.
Is research necessary and why? It shows you different styles and techniques of comedy.
If you had a television show what should we expect? Original Botswana content.
Humour differs between cultures can you define local humour? They are a bit uptight about swearing unlike other cultures.
Why should people come to see you perform? I will relieve them from day to day chores.
One or a few last thing/s you want the public to know about you… Whenever they see an advert of my shows they should come and support me.

Name: Kago Mopati KiMane
Stage name: Mr K
Age/Date of Birth: Withheld
What made you believe you were a comedian? I always make people laugh.
What made you fill in the form to join the club? I wanted to explore my talent and share it with others.
What have you done (performances) to realise your comedy ambitions? Not yet.
Who is your favourite comedian and why are they your favourite? Chris Rock, because he makes me laugh.
What are you learning about comedy that you least expected? It’s tough to become perfect.
Have you started working on you set for the June show? Yes.
Is research necessary and why? It is. It makes me learn things I didn’t know.
If you had a television show what should we expect? The best jokes ever.
From your observation what type of audience are Batswana? Batswana are loving people who require some respect.
Why should people come to see you perform? To get the best entertainment.

Name: Bafana Bobo Letsatsi
Stage name: Rib Cracker (Thubadikgopo).
Age/Date of Birth: 20 something.
What made you believe you were a comedian? Everyone says I am funny and a guy called Slim Boikanyo said; Bobo you can do this. .
What made you fill in the form to join the club? I want to explore my talent and market myself countrywide.

What have you done (performances) to realise your comedy ambitions? I have nine years experience in the arts. I am into drama, poetry and dance.
Who is your favourite comedian and why are they your favourite? Jamie Foxx and Kedibonye, I like their styles.

Have you started working on you set for the June show? I am a rib cracker! I am waiting for any show.
Is research necessary and why? Yes.
Why should people come to see you perform? I want them to see our home-grown talent.

Name: Tefo Ndlovu
Stage name: Tefo Ndlovu
Age/Date of Birth: 22 years of age
What made you believe you were a comedian? People find the way I look and talk funny.
What made you fill in the form to join the club? I have always had a passion for stand up comedy.
What have you done (performances) to realise your comedy ambitions? I was in the drama club at Ben Thema Primary School and people found my performances funny.

Who is your favourite comedian and why are they your favourite? Chris Rock, because he is truthful and funny.

What are you learning about comedy that you least expected? It needs energy and no inhibitions.
Have you started working on you set for the June show? I have started.

Is research necessary and why? Research is necessary because you need to know what you’re talking about and be truthful.

If you had a television show what should we expect? Expect to be happy every time it goes on air.
From your observation what type of audience are Batswana? They do encourage performers.

Humour differs between cultures can you define local humour? They do not like profanity.
Why should people come to see you perform? I am funny.

One or a few last thing/s you want the public to know about you… I love having fun.

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