IT’S been two years since Durban was wowed by local funny man Jem Atkins’ debut one-man show, Single Dad, and the comedian now is ready to offer the show’s sequel Single Dad II.
Atkins’ style of honest humour resonates well with the audiences who lap up the jokes and roll out the laughs at his true-to-life comedic material.
Single Dad saw Atkins offer up funny glimpses into surviving divorce, the corporate grind and a chronic fear of dating, all while raising his little boy (Jayden, now five) alone.
Atkins says he’ll be keeping it close to home. “I’ve been riding on Single Dad I since halfway through last year. I’ve been using that material for so long that I was getting bored with it and I decided to just bite the bullet and write a whole lot of new material based on where I am in my life and with JD (Jayden) and stuff that he gets up to. So it’s time now to do Single Dad II. I’m ready.”
After Single Dad I’s great reviews in Durban and at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, Atkins said he’s hoping for even better with the sequel. “To be honest I’m really hoping to do even better. I know I’m a better comedian now. It’s been a great two years, I’ve grown a lot, I’ve done a lot of shows and really put myself out there and I feel like I’m a just a better package.
“I tell people I write about my life, it’s really all I know. It’s just how I express my life and my son, and the good and the bad. I kind of have a knack for taking even the bad stuff and the hard stuff and putting a spin on it and looking at the funny side of it. Which really helps me, and it also just turns out to be something that people can relate to,” he said.
“I’ll be honest, Single Dad was my first ever one-man show and I was so nervous, I literally just threw myself out there and hoped for the best. I was very pleasantly surprised at how people related to it. I think because it’s about my life and it’s real, a lot of people look at it and say it’s true, and it’s funny.”
A major encouragement in Atkins’ career was recently at Splashy Fen when his son got to see him on stage for the first time. “He’s always asking to go to a show, but most of my gigs are late at night and in places where children aren’t allowed. But this was a clean show and it was beautiful. He loved that the comedy was about him. When I finished my set he ran across and gave me a big hug and I realised he’s kind of proud that his dad is doing this comedy and talking to people about him. I think it made him feel special. He even repeated one of my jokes the other day.”
• Single Dad II is at Seabrooke’s Theatre (Durban High School), 255 St Thomas Rd, Musgrave, on May 9 and 10 at 8pm, May 11 at 7pm. Tickets R80 at Computicket. No under 13s.