Chit Chat: Tats Nkonzo

2012-03-02 09:35

Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Mdantsane in the Eastern Cape. I moved to my sister’s house in Joburg when I matriculated
in 2003.

That isn’t too long ago. What did you do when you first got here?
I honestly had no plan, and the thought of university and studying again after all those years of school just killed my soul. I had no idea what I was going to do.

What was your career path before the funny business?
I studied advertising for three years and it was like a breath of fresh air. If you met me five years ago and asked me about my direction in life, I would have never ever thought it would have been comedy.

How did you get into comedy?
I saw an ad for the TV show So You Think You’re Funny. I took it as a challenge to see if I could crack it because creativity is what inspires me. I dared myself and auditioned for the show. I got through and lasted until the top eight.

How did your collaboration with Nik Rabinowitz come about?
I got a call from the producer of the show when I was eliminated to tour with the top three. After that a friend of mine appointed himself my manager and I did gigs at clubs.

Nik saw me perform at a club in July 2010 and called me a few months later to perform with him at the Concert Hall at the Baxter Theatre in Cape Town.

What was it like performing in front of a bigger crowd for the first time, and in Cape Town?
I still don’t know how I feel about Cape Town. And when you don’t know anyone there, it’s difficult to connect with the place and the people. It took me a few days to do my song at the end with Nik.

I was really nervous as I had no idea how the crowd would react to my lyrics.

What’s it like working alongside Nik?
He’s cool, although I only get along with his Xhosa side. He’s very playful and what you see on stage is who he is when he’s not performing.

What have been some of your career highlights?
I’d have to say it was probably between 2008 and 2009. I had no experience in comedy.

I was never even funny at school or growing up. Yet I took part in the first season of that TV show, made it far and then got married a week after I was kicked off.

How did you meet your wife?
I met her at a mutual friend’s wedding and she was also in the band.

Your act is strumming a guitar and singing. Why did you choose music as your medium?
I thought it was a unique act. Then I noticed everyone else was doing it and I thought they were copying me. To my dismay, I realised using music with comedy was nothing new at all.

Which other comedians would you like to work with?

Probably John Vlismas. And Trevor Noah inspires me.

What’s your take on the future of comedy in SA?
I think there are still bigger things to come for this industry as people are only really starting to notice it now. Nik has been doing it for a decade and only has his first DVD now.

Is your future funny and bright?
It is for now. And it probably will be until I can add to the profile of making comedy really big over here.

» Catch Tats Nkonzo as the opening act for Nik Rabinowitz’s solo show, Stand and Deliver, currently playing at Pieter Toerien’s Montecasino Theatre in Johannesburg until March 11

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