Where do old stand-up comedians go when they retire?
“Easy,” says comedian Chris Mapane (pictured), “they don’t retire, they die”.
He thinks on this for a moment, then says: “They don’t even get UIF. In the old days, it was common to see a comedy line-up of seven old guys and just one young guy. Now we have lots of young guys coming up, so the industry is growing.”
Some of these young guys will perform with Mapane in David Kau’s popular, Blacks Only show at Gold Reef City this weekend. They are Deepfried Man, Jason Goliath, Thapelo Tips, Donovan Goliath and Skhumba.
Aside from expecting “jokes, jokes and more jokes”, from his set, comedy lovers will get to see how Mapane has grown in half a decade.
“I’m at the stage where I’m performing purely for the craft,” he tells me. “You know, when you start out, you’re performing just to prove that you’re funny? Then after that, it’s about trust and an audience trusting that you’ll make them laugh because now they’ve seen you and expect you to be good.
“Right now, I’m passed those stages. Now it’s about the love of comedy.”
Speaking of love, Mapane and Kau have a bromance that saw them don maids’ uniforms for DJ Zinhle’s Pepe Roots music video.
“We’re comedians,” he laughs, remembering the video, “and good ones too, I might add.
“The video was challenging, but we wanted to prove one can be funny in any instance. Whether you are wearing a maid’s outfit or acting in Generations, we are comedians so we could make that funny. But the only way you’d see me on Generations is if Khapela wasn’t around. He just looks like he’s going to die.” Ouch.
Whether during an interview or on stage, it’s clear there are no sacred cows in Mapane’s eye. Especially not when he mounts the roving Blacks Only stage.
“The nice thing about Blacks Only,” says Mapane, “is that it’s put me in a position to perform in any venue and this will be the first time I do it at Gold Reef City.
“But what’s even better about Blacks Only is that you get to perform in any language you’re comfortable in.
“Comedy is communication and as long as you and any message you’re trying to convey are heard and understood by the crowd you’re performing to, then it’s fine.”
With that mindset, it’s easy to see why stand-up comedians don’t need UIF.
• Catch Blacks Only at The Lyric Theatre inside Gold Reef City on Friday and Satuday. Tickets are priced from R140 at Computicket.