Sir, sir, tell us a joke!

2015-09-08 06:00
Dalin Oliver jokes about cricket and his journey from teaching to comedy in his one-man show at the Baxter this month.                                 PHOTO: 
Rizqua Barnes Richards

Dalin Oliver jokes about cricket and his journey from teaching to comedy in his one-man show at the Baxter this month. PHOTO: Rizqua Barnes Richards

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He came, he taught, he left.

By day he’s the sports presenter on Good Hope FM’s breakfast show, but when he leaves the studio, Dalin Olivier lives his true passion.

The Retreat teacher-turned-comedian will bring his hit one-man show, I came, I taught, I left, directed by Stuart Taylor, to his home town after two successful runs at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown.

Before the comedy bug bit, Dalin was all set to follow a career as a teacher.

It was in his third year at UCT that Dalin discovered comedy. Bored while studying for his finals, he started writing funny thoughts down. After positive reaction from his friends, he started “googling” comedy hotspots and got his first gig in November 2010.

“From my first gig I knew: This feels good. That space felt right, I felt like I belonged.”

At the beginning of his fifth year, he sat his parents down and let them know that while it was important to him to finish his studies, he didn’t intend to actually teach.

“They supported me through and through.”

He decided to do his teaching practicals at his old schools, Wynberg Boys and South Peninsula High School. After graduating, he also did a six-week stint as a temporary teacher at Wynberg Boys, which he says was necessary to prove to himself that he wasn’t actually ready for teaching.

“Knowing that I wasn’t going to teach, I thought this would be a hub of content, material-wise.”

Dalin describes his style as family-friendly and observational with personal reflections.

His comedy career has been growing steadily. He has toured with and opened for comedians like Riaad Moosa, Stuart Taylor and Barry Hilton and also featured on Comedy Central alongside Nik Rabinowitz and Kurt Schoonraad.

In 2013 he performed at the Grahamstown festival with the Cape Town Comedy Club.

“I said: ‘Next year I’m coming on my own.’”

Dalin started writing his one-man show in September that year.

“I had no idea what the show was going to be about.”

He put all his ideas on a mind map before approaching Stuart Taylor, who’d given him his first theatre show, for guidance.

“I trusted him and I respect his style of comedy.”

I came, I taught, I left changed completely when Stuart asked Dalin to describe the gist of what he wanted to say. The sentence he came up with was: “Teacher by day, comedian by night… try explaining that to parents.”

In the show, Dalin maps out his school-related career, comparing a model C, dual sex school with an all-boys school, looking at student life and then teaching alongside his own teachers. He also discusses cricket, which has always been a big part of his life, specifically coaching children.

Dalin says performing in different environments has helped the show grow and mature.

“I think I’m bringing a well-structured, compact product to the Baxter.”

Presenting a show at the Baxter is a dream come true for Dalin who told his father when he started performing that he wanted to produce his own show there.

“The Baxter is a sacred space.”

Dalin points to the history of the Baxter and says being afforded the opportunity to be on its stage is a humbling experience.

I came, I taught, I left will be on stage at the Baxter Golden Arrow Studio from Monday 21 to Sunday 26 September. Tickets, which are available at Computicket, cost R60 for the Monday night and R100 for the rest of week, with student, senior and block booking discounts available. V

For more information about Dalin or to get a taste of his comedy visit

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