Funny forces, awkward baldness

We’re starting an army.

The ranks of Rhodes comics grows and is making an assault on campus.

This past Thursday saw the first open mic night hosted at the Union. A couple of my friends took to the stage, doing stand-up for the first time. I missed most of the acts because of a rehearsal at the drama department but arrived in time to catch the final two.

The first (that I saw) was Nyasha, towards the end of his set. A comic who, just a few months ago, was the main organiser of the Carl Joshua Ncube gig. I had no idea he was into stand-up. And this is what makes these open mics so significant. Everyone just throws themselves out there.

Nyasha did really well. He was battling a cold but worked through to a decent response from the audience. Next up was Langa (Illy), a fellow improv performer in the Nat Caf Improv Comedy collective.

Armed with a half-full bottle of beer, he charged up to the stage and began his set with a bit of crowd interaction to get the audience in the mood.

An interesting tactic. It worked for him. His material was solid and pretty clever. This was also a first for him, which is just too awesome for the scene that’s starting up here at Rhodes.

We’re all pretty much learning this craft and every showing that pops up is just that extra step in our development.

Friday night brought in a performance at the Pharmacy Faculty leavers’ dinner. The final year students had a pretty lavish send-off with the Great Hall transformed into a completely different space with flashy decor.

That night immediately confronted me with a bit of a difficult situation: One of the bits I do includes a parody of exam venue invigilator Dr. Sandile Khamanga – and he was in attendance.

Having to consider that joke on Friday kind of felt like I’d been gossping about him all this time. I delivered it anyway, and the response was one of the most animated, since all the guests know him from their day-to-day interactions.

The crazy part is that we ended up having an interesting chat after the performance. Such an awesome character, he is.

Saturday night was the first all-out comedy show on campus. The Union was once again the spot. That place is turning into a pseudo comedy club.

Anyway, I wasn’t having the smoothest of evenings. Before heading down to the venue, I decided I’d trim my scruffy hair. Disaster.

Something went horribly wrong with the clippers. My hair was ridiculously patchy so I had to keep trimming it shorter.. and shorter…

Basically, I’m bald now – which is incredibly awkward. There’s something profoundly disturbing about everyone glancing at my rather large scalp every few seconds during conversations.

[Moment of awkward silence]

The show on Saturday was good. Matthew Jackson (of Nat Caf) was the MC and kicked things off by bringing Lincoln on to the stage. Linc had a solid cameo and headed out to another event straight after his stint.

Next up was Virgil. (Yes, he’s also in Nat Caf)

Wow. His very first stand-up performance was just a few days before and I had heard about how strong his material was.

I saw it… and it was. Virg takes the most simple observations and adds the craziest twists. Exciting times for this new comic movement.

I performed after Matthew had his first South African stand-up performance go pretty well.

I tried out some new material, including an extension to a joke that usually gets big laughs. It landed, thankfully.

Coming up is the Nat Caf performance on Thursday night and then an appearance at Hobson Hall on Friday.

And so the troops march on to an entertaining beat… hopefully.

Stay tuned…

-Tyson

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