Johannesburg - I’m sitting with two astonishing comedians; I cannot stop giggling as the room is filled with laughter and jokes. I am having a conversation with Tshireletso “Mo” Mothebe, and Eric Jansen.
As the conversation rolls on I can’t help but notice how Mo refers to himself as the “Chocolate Baby”; ironically he is wearing a brown shirt.
It’s official, they are my caramel duo, you know, brown and white.
These two comedians are on the line-up of Trevor Noah’s comedy showcase that will be launching on Showmax on September 24.
A last born among three siblings, Mo (28) was born in QwaQwa, Free State, and moved to Pretoria at the age of 12.
His father, who is an accountant, always wanted him to study accounting and do numbers, but he has always been a joker. But Mo does have a degree in economics.
“I refer to myself as chocolate because growing up I was very insecure about my skin colour. They used to call me ‘Lefifi’ and ‘Mantsho’, which means black. At that point, I realised I needed a defence mechanism and I started calling myself Chocolate Baby,” he says.
“From there onwards, I started liking and appreciating myself, all the insults thrown at me couldn’t hurt anymore. “But now I am very confident and proud of who I am, my aesthetic and my abilities with the microphone and as a writer.
“My comedy is very observational, black middle class with a bit of social commentary. So it’s my life experiences, my perspective of things where I absorb information, like talking about the ills of society. At times I will make white people uncomfortable, but that is just the reality of the situation.”
Jansen (22) is a native of Reiger Park, Gauteng.
He is the youngest of three boys and the youngest on the line-up.
Eric dropped out of a computer course to pursue a career in comedy, although his family did not understand.
“Initially I was put on the computer path, three or four months later I just stopped and I started doing comedy. Although my parents didn’t understand, my mother supported me and my father was like: ‘Look man, if you don’t do something worthwhile within a year I will get you a job and you will do it for the rest of your life’. But a year later I was on Comedy Central’s Grab the Mic competition, I made it to the finals and then the rest is history,” he said.
“I tell a broad spectrum [of stories], I do observational humour. I have recently started with one-liners and there are a lot of blue roomers, the ‘dirty stuff’, that I am not familiar with because I do comedy based on my ‘experience’, you know. But more than anything, I do comedy based on observations and experiences.”
Jansen met Noah in 2014 and he always wanted to work with him, so this opportunity means so much to him.
“Being on the show means that what I have been doing for the past four years is paying off. It is working and it shows that I am on the right path. It shows that they believe in my ability to deliver to a bigger audience. And for my career it is a starting point, not an end product. And the fact that I am nominated on the Comics Awards speaks volumes,” he said.