After months of toying around with the idea, I finally took the leap and introduced improvised rap comedy to my set last night. I’ve been opening for Sne Dladla in the return of his show The Joke’s On You at this year’s National Arts Festival and last night was something else.
We had a very small audience and, at the start of the set, I asked them to move to one side of the hall. Once they had settled, three suggestions were given: any audience member’s name (Michelle), the worst place to be in the awful weather we had (Grahamstown) as well as a quirky plant (cactus) that could also be incorporated into the song.
The aim of the game was to incorporate those suggestions in an off-the-cuff verse I was about to create.
“If this fails, we’re all responsible,” I said nervously.
What resulted was a quickfire, fun and slightly interactive improvised rap. Unbelievably fulfilling. It could have bombed so hard, but somehow it worked out and now I’m confident I can chuck this form of improv into any stand-up set.
Sure, I’m bound to hit a wall at some point, but that’s what this is about, right? We roll with the punches.
It’s been a good festival. Our run of Void was successfull and Nat Caf improv comedy has had a really positive run so far. The shift from last year’s struggles to this year’s progress: night and day. I’m really proud of our group. Yesterday was one of our lower-energy performances and audiences, but we’re working hard to ensure a quality product all round.
My family came through to Grahamstown this past weekend, with my nephew the one left until the end of the festival. Theatre, comedy and jazz are all on the line-up in things to see.
Forward we go.