Laughing through lockdown
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Comedians Dalin Oliver and Kagiso KG Mokgadi are grateful to be back on stage performing for a crowd after months of lockdown
Stand-up comedians Dalin Oliver and Kagiso ‘KG’ Mokgadi say returning to the stage after a long lockdown feels like a new lease on life.
Mokgadi will be performing his latest show, KG Mokgadi Live in Cape Town at the Protea Hotel Fire & Ice next Friday.
Mokgadi said he felt privileged to do stand-up comedy for a living.
“I used to work in IT, but stand-up comedy feels like it’s family. It’s my favourite thing in the world,” he said.
Mokgadi said the most difficult part of the pandemic was not earning a living.
“It was difficult watching comics who had no online gigs or writing gigs. It was devastating to have been concerned about the future of our profession,” he said.
“A lot of us were booked to work online, which was a lifesaver. It wasn’t easy, but I’m glad we got to go back to doing the thing we love.”
The Day Zero comedian said he missed travelling the most.
“I had been booked for gigs in Tanzania, Nairobi, Namibia and South Sudan and all of them were cancelled,” he said.
He added: “When the border opened again and I performed in Windhoek, it felt like a sense of normalcy had returned.”
Mokgadi said he felt like the audience was less conservative than they used to be.
“People are sort of saying they’ve seen the worst and heard the worst, and they are hungry for laughter.”
The Pretoria comedian said he was busy and had shows lined up.
“Depending on whether or not there is a fourth wave, I will most likely tour the country.”
Dalin Oliver has just finished his show, Stay at Home Comedian at the Artscape Theatre, and said he was delighted to be back on stage for the first time since September 2019.
“It feels like new life has been injected into me. I can’t believe I even forgot how to do admin for a show,” he said.
Oliver said without stage time, it felt like the profession was dead.
“In lockdown, you would have so many ideas, but you couldn’t run to perform it. Not being on stage and not being able to engage with the audience was scary,” he said.
“In the first week after lockdown hit, I had multiple shows cancelled and online shows weren’t the same.”
Oliver said being able to do comedy again felt like driving his very first car, a Mazda 323.
“The first show slowly warmed up, just like the care((SUBS: NOT SURE WHAT THIS MEANS)) did. I was nervous before I got on stage but I also felt content to be there.”
He added: “Getting back on stage was like putting that Mazda into sports mode and attacking the punchlines.”
The comedian from Retreat, said the pandemic had changed the way he does things now.
“I wrote down all my material for the first time. We saw what it was like to have your love and passion taken away as a creator,” he said.
In Stay at Home Comedian, he shared his experiences and interactions during the lockdown.
“Comedy and identity are related. I looked at where I am now and what I’ve been through. The more life experiences I go through, the more material I have.”
Oliver said he wanted to continue pushing new content.
“I want to continue performing and touring around South Africa and taking Stay at Home Comedian to as many people as possible.”