Bongani Dube is a young comedian from Venda. Dube says that he speaks only two-minutes of Afrikaans and English. He will soon be travelling throughout the country in his first one-man tour, Up ’n Up. Dube has selected Durban as his first stop as he plans to bring nothing but laughter to audiences countrywide. Dube spoke with Tabloid Newspapers about his aim to bring comedy to spaces where it has not been featured much.
Tabloid Newspapers (TN): In a nutshell, who is Bongani Dube?
Bongani Dube (BD): I am a down to earth fun-loving, very laid back, imaginative, almost cartoon-like animated individual. I’m an all round optimist. Within every dark cloud there are fish eggs.
TN: When did you realise that your talent is in comedy?
BD:I have always been a funny guy, sitting in the front of Mrs van der Merwe’s English class, telling jokes with my friends and pulling pranks on one another. In primary school, I was bullied by the toughest kid in school. 17 -years old, Barbara was the bully of Sunny Side Primary. She made me tough and channel my anger into witty retorts.
TN:Where did you get the first opportunity to showcase your talent?
BD: It was in Pretoria with the comedy society. I had flunked my first year and things weren’t looking good. I got into a bus to Cape Town. After 18 hours in a bus, I wrote one joke and it was terrible. The crowd let me know off the bat that they will not be listening to this nonsense. So they boo’d me off stage.
TN: Do your jokes come naturally or you think hard ?
BD:The jokes come at me naturally, always having to be on point when dealing with every-day situations like trying to impress girls, the jokes can’t be pre-rehearsed, you feel them and just let them flow. I am a firm believer in letting it all just flow rather than trying to force it.
TN:Growing up, what was your dream job?
BD: I was never sure what I wanted to be. At one point, I wanted to be a police dog, later on, I wanted to be the next president, finally before comedy, I wanted to be an architect. But comedy was always the one thing that kept me out of the streets and trouble. No respectable gangster wants to be walking around with a dude that is not taking crime seriously.
TN:What’s the funniest joke you’ve ever told and you still laugh about to date?
BD:The funniest joke? That’s so hard to say, because the greatest moments on stage, are those unplanned improvised moments. So, I would say, the joke about Nelson Mandela being a terrible boxer.
TN: When people say “tell me a joke ” do you think “ah I would rather get paid to do that” or do you tell them anyways?
BD: Firstly, that’s the worst thing about this art form, people don’t often see it as a respectable art form. But, I do try to at least make them laugh.
TN: How does it feel when you say something serious and people take it as a joke because they know it’s you?
BD:That makes me feel almost like I am incredibly talented, that during my time of being serious and honest, my comedic timing and flare finds it’s way through. That’s a gift I don’t take for granted.
TN: If your joke doesn’t make people laugh , do you ever need to improvise to make amends?
BD: Always in a state of having to make amends and continuously learning from the crowd where to go from here. 75 percent of good comedy is knowing how to listen. 25 percent is having great comedic timing.
TN: Have you ever reached a stage whereby you run out of material and have to copy from old material?
BD: Is it copying if it’s all my material? But yes, it has happened before.
TN: Tell us about your national tour, where have you performed?
BD: My Nation Wild Show was phenomenal. The fourth highest paid comedian in the world, finds me funny, that is an incredible feeling. Now I’m working on making my own millions.
TN: How has the response been on your previous tours and what is your feeling about your next gigs?
BD: It turns out, a lot of people find me funny. Now it’s about understanding and mastering the business behind show business.
TN: Where do you see yourself in the next two or three years?
BD: Filling up international shows. My name on the bill and my crowd coming to see and witness all of this.
TN: How can you advise upcoming comedians?
BD: Don’t take anybody’s advice, not even mine, just be funny, then be really funny, then learn to make money from it.
TN: How do you want to impact society through comedy?
BD: Through charity gigs and having a beautiful message woven into my jokes.
TN: How many awards have you won?
BD: I haven’t won any awards, I am however, multi-nominated.