Loyiso Madinga looks at the audience mischievously. Then he says: “Enjoy an Aids joke, people.” This was a part of A Long Way From My Village - his episode of the Netflix special, Comedians of the World.
Madinga was one of four South Africans - including Tumi Morake, Riaad Moosa and Loyiso Gola - who were chosen to join over 40 comedians around the globe in a special that was released at the beginning of this year. But back to the Aids quip.
That bit of the gag is significant because it’s a reminder of how Madinga is not afraid to make people uncomfortable. It was all good when he was making jokes about Jehovah’s Witnesses and people in wheelchairs. It’s always refreshing to see a comedian who is willing to risk it all.
“It was a risk. I’m literally going: alriiiight, let’s throw this joke out there. When people laugh, they’re telling you: ‘we get it, we understand, we are with you, we’re on board’.
“You don’t say anything without purpose. There’s a reason I said enjoy an Aids joke. It’s to send out a message to stop stigmatising Aids. If I had just said: ‘Guys, let’s not make this a stigma’, they would be like: ‘ok, and?’ My rule is: if you’re going to make a point on stage, make it funny.”
A Long Way From My Village is about more than just Aids, though. Madinga explains how he got the scars on his face, his love for eggs, and he talks about being African. He says he specifically wanted to give his episode that title because “in telling my story, I don’t want to edit out the rural aspect”.
“I can talk about when I was in France or wherever, but the realest thing is to always point back to where I am from. I’m a long way away from home. Regarding geography and quite literally the life I grew up, living is far from where I am doing the special in Montreal, Canada.”
Madinga is working on a new show. “I’m writing new material, which is hard,” he says. He is working different comedy rooms to see what works and what doesn’t.
He says it’s good to be exposed to different audiences. “You get to work a joke more than once. If I performed for the same people daily, they’d want a new joke every day and I wouldn’t get to craft a joke.”IOL