Photo: I’ll Make You Laugh Press @ Lily Marriott PR
Fresh from his success on Netflix’s Only Jokes Allowed, award-winning comedian Schalk Bezuidenhout is set to take the stage across the UK on his latest tour: ‘I’ll Make You Laugh’. Dates include Manchester on May 7 at Home and London May 9-13 at the Soho Theatre. So if you’re looking for an evening of guaranteed giggles from when The Guardian describes as a “fast rising talent,” Bezuidenhout is for you.
We caught up with Bezuidenhout before his Manchester debut to discuss all things comedy, his South African roots and how Covid affected the standup industry.
When asked what audiences should look forward to the most when it came to his show, Bezuidenhout stuck to the theme of his tour: “I guess that would be my jokes!”
After studying Drama at the University of Cape Town, the comedian knows how to put flare into his stage performance and comedic anecdotes, bringing contagious energy to every stage. However, Bezuidenhout is humble about this, humorously adding “If you’re coming to my show expecting juggling or any fire-related performance, you’ll be disappointed! But if you’re coming to see jokes and stand-up comedy then this is definitely not a show to miss. In the simplest way, I want people to leave in a good mood.”
Bezuidenhout’s comedy focuses on the cultural differences between Africa, specifically South Africa, and Britain. This is clearly seen in his Tik Toks, where he disects and pokes fun at British manuisms. That being said, we asked during our interview, “As a South African comedian, is there a certain pressure to accurately represent South Africa on the global stage? And, how would you like to link your roots to the place you are now in your career?”
Bezuidenhout took a minute, explaining authentically, “I think I represent the South African that I am accurately. A South African can be many different things. The same as a royal and a Camden punk are equally British.”
Explaining the importance of his home country to his work, he continued, “I talk a lot about my growing-up experience so my roots will always be an integral part of my comedy. [I like to] give any South Africans in the audience a taste of home.”
Like many other sectors during the pandemic, stand up moved online, catering to audiences across the world stuck at home. Bezuidenhout was no exception, jumping his comedy onto Tik Tok, Twitter (@schalkiebez) and Instagram (@schalkiebez) to entertain the masses. However, online did have its draw backs deep into the pandemic, but that didn’t stop Bezuidenhout.
“There was no need to be stubborn about online not being the same as a live show – of course it wasn’t! But at least I could still make people laugh even if I couldn’t hear or see them.”
Yet, in some ways, digital comedy was theraputic during the pandemic, with Bezuidenhout joking, “I didn’t have that much else to do to be honest. I wasn’t interested in learning how to become a master chef and my girlfriend was going to leave me if I spoke to her non-stop. Even I sometimes get tired of my own voice., so doing comedy on my laptop in the study was the healthiest option for everyone in the flat.”
After 12 years of being a stand-up, we asked how Bezuidenhout navigated an increasing polarised world. Where does his comedy fit into it?
“My goal with my comedy has always been to spread joy. If that’s your goal you will always do just that, no matter how much the world changes. Comedy can sometimes be funny but leave you feeling depressed about the world we live in. I want my comedy to energize people and I think it does. It certainly energizes me!”
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