Laughter is not enough anymore

That is probably the wierdest thing you’ll see on a supposed comedy blog.

But it’s the truth.

It’s become my truth.

OK, Let me explain for a second.

I think I’ve done a lot of growing up, a lot of introspection throughout this year. It’s been a wierd one. Comically, I don’t feel I’ve been as strong as other years, particularly last year.

I’ve struggled with the pen and, to some extent, still do. The ease with which I would get into “the funny zone” has eluded me a little bit.

Instead, my mind has wandered into this massive space where I interrogate everything I do in this game, every move I make.

Why do I do this? Why am I so fixated with being the funny guy… the conductor of chuckles, the orator of the outrageous?

Laughing child. Pic: Strawberry macaroons blog

Has it always been a deep, lingering longing for acceptance? For acknowledgement?

Have I always been “the funny guy” as a way to feel wanted and not so out-of-place in this world I navigate?

I’ll tell you what I feel I am right now, though.

For the first time in my life, I feel as if I don’t need to be that guy. Something about me is OK with just being there, not freaking out about when the next laugh is coming. I’m becoming comfortable with silence.

Finally.

But that’s not to say I don’t want anything to do with comedy anymore.

Part of what’s been so confusing is having this new outlook versus my sheer love and respect for comedy as a craft. This whole I-don’t-need-to-be-the-funny-guy-all-the-time feeling has shifted my thinking towards one hard fact.

Truth.

What IS my truth in the comedy I produce? What is it I’m really saying?

I hope and pray to someday cement a place at the forefront of South African entertainment, but to get there I need to be speaking a truth. A genuine standpoint, a solid commentary to which people can relate.

All the country’s best comics are there because, to a large extent, they’re able to convey what their standpoint is when it comes to the things that get us talking.

Look at Trevor Noah’s social commentary on racial tensions. Look at Riaad Moosa’s reflections on the Indian South African experience. The list of A-list comedians goes on and on.

Riaad Moosa is one of South Africa’s premier comedians. Pic: 5seasons.co.za

Where do I fit into this? Am I just another number? Just another comic to play on stereotypes, or coax laughs without REALLY saying anything at the heart of it all?

I don’t know when I will gravitate closest to my voice as a comic. I don’t think it’s going to be easy.

But I’ll tell you what I do know…

Laughter alone is no longer enough. It is truth I seek.

And the day I could marry that laughter with a stinging ring of truth, a powerful resonance with audiences, I believe I would have stumbled upon something really special.

Here’s to reaching that day. Until then, I can’t pass up the chances to rack up the necessary stage time.

Stay tuned…

-Tyson

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