A song for the moment

Every now and then I get REALLY into the singing thing.

As I write this, I’m half-screaming along to a Seal song. And I SO believe I’m nailing it.

I don’t have the guts to ask for the opinion of the blokes in my corridor. That’s not to say that I sound horrible, though. Hey, I’ve been in choirs, OK?

Excuse that little tangent.. I just had to.

Comedy. That’s what we’re here for, right?

Right.

NatCaf has been so crazy. The unpredictability of improv makes each show insanely scary. When it comes together, though, there are fewer things more rewarding.

I’ll never forget our second show (on the 6th of October). Things were really coming together that night. Our scenes, twists and games in general were landing really well.  The audience was in stitches and the whole crew was on the ball.

Word had spread about out first performance two weeks before that so a far larger crowd turned up. It felt like we were in a decent episode of Whose Line Is It Anyway?

NatCaf performing at the Union

The rest of October was loaded with performances. The last time I wrote here, I let you in on the beginnings of a comedy movement featuring some Rhodes talent.

That very talent was in blistering form at Professor Pickles’ Comedy Lab on 21 October. It was a full-on comedy showcase featuring Brendan Murray as the headline act.

A memorable night. I was due to perform just before the headliner and I waited in a dark recess area behind the audience as Matthew Jackson, Lincoln van der Westhuizen, Illy Kulati, Prince (Virgil Prins) and Richard Antrobus all had storming sets.

As chuffed as I was for each of their success, I feared I wouldn’t scale the emphatically high benchmark they had set.

The whiff of cigarette smoke swirled throughout the packed Union bar and the crowd’s laughter rang frequently by the time Brendan came on for a quick cameo. He was doing a short stint in place of a comic who hadn’t shown up on the night.

At that point I was convinced my set was going to fall short. Brendan’s one-liners were killing. Hard.

My pre-performance ritual of pacing and mini-jumps kicked in as Matthew (the MC) stepped back onstage to introduce me. The entrance music (Kanye West’sAll Of The Lights“) sounded and my deep insecurity was immediately masked by calm assurance as I stepped up.

Showtime.

I spent the first couple of minutes preoccupied with living up to all the acts that came before me. That eventually eroded as the set progressed and it gathered momentum.

It finished on a strong note, thankfully. I ended with a trusted closing joke and the audience response was electric. Definitely one of the most relieving conclusions to a set.

Brendan’s set was incredibly strong. His ease with comedy is striking and he was heckled a couple of times – something he handled with little effort.

Other stand-up performance highlights from the month:

Hobson Hall Leavers’ Dinner: This was always going to be an interesting prospect since the said hall has ladies only. Definitely a night to remember. The beginning was a struggle, with certain clusters of the audience not paying attention. The set gradually grew and ended on a positive note.

MSA Leavers’ Dinner: This was particularly heartwarming for me since it marked a year anniversary from my very first comedy performance at Rhodes. MSA were the first to grant me a platform towards the end of last year.

Rhodes Golden Key Year-end function: Had a complete blast poking fun at the University’s top academic achievers as they gathered for a function at the House of Pirates at month-end.

And just like that, we’re back in the midst of exams again.

It’s been a crazy semester. I’m glad to have finally taken steps towards performing on the regular this time. I’m grateful for all the support. My mind is a gorgeous mess and this comedy thing is a peek into it.

There’s still a long road ahead and a heck of a lot of work. Even for my singing.

I embrace it.

Stay tuned…

-Tyson

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