DURBAN comedian and Sunday Tribune journalist Masood Boomgaard debuts his second one-man show next week, opting to reflect on South Africa in his material.
Tonight caught up with the comic to find out more about what he has in store for the audience this time around.
“My first show was about myself and my life experiences. In Funny Country (the name of his new show), I wanted to do a show about living in South Africa, a kind of commentary, a show where I could talk about the issues that bother and interest us in a humorous way. South Africa is a funny country, there are things that happen here that only happen here.
“I’m doing a show that anyone who lives here can relate to. I want people to come out and laugh at the things that make South Africa South Africa.”
We asked Boomgaard (pictured) whether his choice of theme for the show was related to the country commemorating 20 years of democracy this year.
“Doing a show about the craziness of South Africa is something I’ve been thinking about for a while and I figured this would be the ideal time, with elections coming up and 20 years of democracy being celebrated.
“The show isn’t really politics-heavy, but it does touch on the issues that are going to affect people going to the polls.”
Dabbling in socio-political commentary in comedy can be a tricky business, but Boomgaard says satire and social commentary have always been part of the arts.
“Throughout the ages artists have used the powerful platform of the stage to talk about things affecting society. It becomes edutainment in a sense.
“I do, however, believe you can address issues without being distasteful or disrespectful. In the case of politicians, ministers etc, I choose to poke fun at their policies and leadership rather than who they are as people.
“I recently performed at an event where President Zuma was present, and I made a joke about how inefficient some police stations are, and he found it funny.
“I like to think that in making him laugh I also gave him something to think about.”
So when he addresses such matters in his comedy, is it more about setting out to provoke thought or ruffle a few feathers?
“I don’t think I’m intentionally provocative.
“You can’t really deny that the things I talk about, like crime, corruption and bad driving are happening around us. It seriously takes a lot to shock South Africans and I can’t remember the last time anyone told me they were offended by what I was saying.
“The oddest reaction I ever got was someone shouting ‘Amen’ after every punch line, instead of laughing… Obviously what I was saying was hitting home, but not exactly in the way I planned.”
He juggles two very different careers and we asked if he found the two crossing paths and influencing each other at times.
“Being a journalist has been a blessing for me as a comedian. I’m always switched on, so I’m hearing and reading about all these crazy things and I’m constantly writing it down in my notebook.
“South African news gives comedians absolute gold. We really don’t have to look very far for the laughter. Half the stuff you couldn’t make up in a thousand years.
“The good people in Parliament have helped me write this show – and I thank them.”
• Funny Country is at iZulu Theatre, Sibaya Casino, on March 28 and 29. Book through Computicket.