What’s next now that Prev Reddy is retiring his alter-ego Aunty Shamilla...

Comedian Prev Reddy. Picture: Supplied

Comedian Prev Reddy. Picture: Supplied

Published Mar 19, 2023


A new chapter awaits Prev Reddy, the man behind Mzansi’s “favourite” Aunty Shamilla.

After five years of pursuing his alter ego, Aunty Shamilla, Reddy announced that he would be hanging up her wigs and gowns in a few months to focus on growing himself in the entertainment space.

Reddy, who became an internet sensation for his parodys, explained how his upcoming plans to grow his brand drove him to retire Aunty Shamilla.

“I’m branching out into real stand-up comedy as myself (Prev Reddy). I did my first show last year, and we sold out all across South Africa.

“I also have my first stint in a movie, ‘The Honeymoon’, and I have another big project coming up at the end of the year, which I can’t speak about right now, but just with the trajectory of where I am going as Prev, it makes sense and feels right to retire the character because it’s too much to juggle,” said Reddy.

He added that he understood that breaks are needed and pushing himself to do everything could result in burnout.

Prev Reddy’s alter ego Aunty Shamilla. Picture: Supplied.

Reddy acknowledged the platform Aunty Shamilla gave him and said that he would have never got to perform internationally without her.

"Her character started by accident in my room after a fight with my mother. Aunty Shamilla grew exponentially thereafter, and took me to places I could have never got to on my own, and put me on stages and platforms.

“But now, I think it’s time to step into my own. She was a confidence booster,“ he said.

The Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards 2020 winner said his new journey into stand-up would entail a lot of life-based observational comedy.

“A lot of my content as Prev is story-telling content. I write what I experience. I just believe that everyday things we go through as human beings, if you look at it from a different angle or if you wait long enough, you can look back at it and realise how funny those situations were.

“I think comedy can also come from tragedy. If you go through traumatic things, but you look back and think it’s funny that I got through that.

“I tell my jokes through scenarios that I lived through and just from my opinion and point of view. A lot of it is life-based and experiences and situational.”

Prev Reddy. Picture: Supplied

Reddy, who refers to himself as an actor and comedy writer, too, said he looked up to international comedy A-listers Tina Fey, a Jewish actress, comedian, writer, producer, and playwright and Indian- American television actress, comedian, screenwriter and producer Mindy Kaling.

“They are my writing idols. I think as female comedy writers, they broke a lot of boundaries for the shows they created and developed and the characters they have written.

“The content they have created is also from a newer generation of their heritage while still being respectful.”

Trevor Noah and Mike Myers were also mentioned as his idols.

"Trevor Noah does a lot of life-based comedy with the things that he’s gone through. And Mike Myers, as a comic actor, he is just exceptional: the way he takes on different roles, from Austin Powers to Dr Evil and then Shrek.

“The way he embraces those different personas is very inspiring. I think both groups of people really shaped the comedy I do now and inspired me with the work they are currently doing,” he said.

Speaking about his upcoming support role in “The Honeymoon”, where he stars alongside South African comedy giant and actress Tumi Morake, Kajal Bagwandeen and Minnie Dlamini, he said: “I play Frankie. He is there to help Katya (Bagwandeen) understand that she has what it takes to stand on her own.

“Frankie is very funny, and viewers can expect witty one-liners from him throughout the film.”

Interestingly, he felt very intimidated working with Morake.

“She is awesome. On set, we were sitting and got talking about comedy. You can tell that she is a seasoned performer and that comedy is no joke to her. It’s a business, and she runs a tight ship. It was very intimidating.

“Imposter syndrome kicks in when you are sitting in the same room and about to be in the same scene with people you have watched and wanted to work with for a very long time, but it was cool. She is very, very funny.”

As for internet sensation Aunty Shamilla, Reddy has already planned her final soiree, “The Mummy’s Boy”, which will be happening in Durban, Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town throughout March, April and May. Tickets are on sale at Ticket Pro.

“We are doing shows around the country, but the Durban ICC is the biggest venue. It felt fitting to give Aunty Shamilla a big send off in her hometown.”

Thereafter, he’ll be keeping her famous robes and wigs in his office.

“There have been so many suggestions as to what I must do with it. Some people say I must put it in a museum, others said that there needs to be an archived room with Aunty Shamilla’s different robes and wigs, but I think, for now, I just want to keep it in my office with all her other bits and bobs around.”