Comic movement in full swing

It’s as if last term never ended.

Fresh from the busiest performance period of my life, this new term (only a week old) has already thrown up three appearances.

Straight after my showing at St Mary’s Hall Ball last term, I went on an aggressive “Get-me-to-appear-at-your-hall” drive. I hounded a few of my friends from the different dining halls around Rhodes.

It was pretty simple. I just needed a window of opportunity to be able to feature in as many venues as possible.

Kimberly East Hall was next on the agenda and it was their Leavers’ Dinner on Tuesday. I expected a challenge since I don’t know too many people there. I say that because it’s always an added plus if there are already people in your corner even before you lay the first joke down.

My Tuesday evening had started off at a rehearsal before I charged up to res and – while practising material to the wardrobe – got suited up.

I was a few minutes late for the actual dinner. The audience was chatting and having their starters when the Hall Head Student, Jamie Bezuidenhout, told me I was up next. There was no time limit so I took a few seconds to shuffle the set list.

Action.

Jamie gave an intro and I stepped up to face a few hundred “what-is-this-dude-about” expressions. I launched into the set with an opener that coaxed warm chuckles and instantly got me in the zone. The rest of the set gathered pace and thankfully wrapped up strongly.

There’s a huge sense of pressure I feel at the moment.

The thing is about performing regularly in the same area (campus and in town) is that people are very likely to see you more than once.

So far I’ve kept to the same set because, judging by the venues where I’ve appeared, I figured that the vast majority of most audiences I face haven’t seen the act yet.

Had I been hopping from town to town, it wouldn’t be so much of an issue to keep the same act, since it’s always going to be a completely new audience.

I’m trying to wear this set out as much as possible before working on a completely new line of Rhodes-related material.

Moving on to performance number two, Thursday finally saw the debut show of Naturally Caffeinated (Nat Caf) at the Union. Nat Caf is the improv comedy collective that we’ve been working on for months now.

Naturally Caffeinated Improv Troupe

It was a free performance and a good crowd turned up to see us pluck at spontaneous strings for their entertainment.

A decent show. Such a huge relief. The nerves were brewing throughout the week.

Improv is exactly that. Unscripted. It could have gone anywhere and that was the scary bit.

Matt, Kabs, Heather, Prince, Illy, Rachel, Tyson and Kelsey of NatCaf

The plan is to have performances at the Union Bar (a nightspot on campus) every second Thursday. Hopefully the first performance causes enough waves to maintain a solid following.

The week’s final performance came at the African Women Chartered Accountants’ Student Chapter Grand Banquet. This was on Friday evening at a restaurant at the 1820 Settlers Monument. I was asked to come through as an MC.

Definitely an interesting night. It was an adjustment having to spend most of my time speaking on a podium (where the mic was fixed) so it was a learning curve.

Once again, I cannot stress how thankful I am for all the opportunities at the moment.

On the horizon are performances at another leavers’ dinner. This time with the Pharmacy faculty and it takes place this Friday.

“Professor Pickles’ Comedy Lab” (a campus-based stand-up show with an established Cape Town comic as headliner) is another one on the cards for later.

Today I also received a request to appear at Hobson Hall’s leavers’ dinner a few weeks from now, which I accepted without hesitation.

Here’s to an eventful fourth term.

Stay tuned…

-Tyson

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