PREV Reddy, an actor and comedian, will stage his first stand-up comedy show outside of his popular alter ego, Aunty Shamilla.
The show, Qualified Disappointment, will stage at the iZulu Theatre at Sibaya Casino and Entertainment World on May 21.
Reddy said it was now the perfect time to return to his stand-up comedy roots.
“When I was still doing my audition rounds and working in film production, I went to different open mics in Durban and Johannesburg, which were terrifying but I learnt so much.
“Over the past three years, I have devoted so much of my life and self to creating Aunty Shamilla and making sure she is a fully-developed character, that I lost myself in the way. So I decided that with Shamilla’s career being well on the way this was the perfect time for me to do something for me.”
Reddy said the story behind the title, Qualified Disappointment, was based on the joke of the career options Indian children are given: “Which are doctor, lawyer or disappointment.”
“I thought because my career did not fit the traditional mould, I still managed to make a career out of it, so surely I’m qualified? People can expect a proper stand-up comedy show. I dabble in a lot of things from cultural upbringing to attending a government school and the whole instant rise to fame journey.”
He said he would describe his style as being more of a story comic.
“A lot of my jokes come through the story I’m telling. There isn’t necessarily a punchline at times because the stories in themselves are jokes. Themes and topics will vary but a heavy part of it is cultural upbringing and journeying into a career that sort of makes you the black sheep of the family.”
Recalling when stand-up first piqued his interest, Reddy said: “I think I was 12 or 13 and Vuzu (a TV channel) was playing an episode of Saturday Night Live with Tina Fey hosting. Her opening monologue, which was essentially an eight-minute set, had me in tears. I was amazed.
“Fast forward a few years later and Trevor Noah released Daywalker, which my entire family and I sat around to watch, and that definitely made me think that one day I would love to try that.”
He named Fey, Mark Banks and Noah as some of his earliest comedic inspirations.
“The list is endless but they are definitely first that come to mind. Their wit and ability to change a person’s perspective on a situation and instantly make it funny is a skill that will always amaze me.
“I think a lot of people forget that I’m just 26. I’m not really the aunty that everyone sees online. There is so much that you go through in your twenties that is really unbelievably tragic and hilarious. Performing as Shamilla, I don’t really get the opportunity to tell those jokes or share those moments which is why I think this was so important.”
The show will this weekend in Durban. Tickets are R150 via TicketPro
The show will also stage at Hotel Sky in Sandton, Johannesburg, on June 2, and at Protea Fire & Ice in Cape Town on June 3 and 4. Tickets for these shows are via Quicket.