Lihle Msimang on the highs and lows of being a comedienne

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Being funny comes naturally to comedienne Lihle Msimang
Being funny comes naturally to comedienne Lihle Msimang

She is on The Lite Show with comedians Donovan Goliath and Mojak Lehoko, violinist Davina Gordon, and rappers Rouge and Ginger Mac.

The YouTube show is a wrap up of weekly news headlines with a comic twist. And because of its success in season one with over one million views, it's set to make a comeback with season two.

Comedienne Lihle Msimang (31) is one of the witty humorists who keep people informed about the world of current affairs in a way that's accessible and interesting.

At the beginning of lockdown, Lihle’s online comedy skits, Surviving Lockdown, were a breath of fresh air at a time when many were suffocating from being stuck indoors.

“I was booked for shows that had to be cancelled during the lockdown, so I wanted to come up with a way of channelling my creativity and that’s when I started the online show,” she tells Drum.

Soon after, Castle Lite decided to bring her on board for The Lite Show.

“It’s a fun and educational show where we get to be ourselves. We plan scripts ahead of time but there is a lot of improvising, which is exciting and always adds more humour,” she says.  

Read more l We spoke to Forest Whitaker about his new Netflix film – this is why you should add it to add it to your watch list movie

When she stared out in 2011, Lihle never thought she'd make a career out of making people laugh. Her parents wanted her to become an accountant. 

“I did accounting in high school but when it was time to go to university, I had to let my mom know that it was not my passion. I had to prove to her that I wanted to be in the world of television,” she says.

So instead, she did a BA in script writing at AFDA, the School for the Creative Economy.

Lihle has since written scripts for shows like You Got Got, Blacktax, Single Girls, Next of Next Week, and a few adverts and shows for Comedy Central.

“Being part of the creative world of TV is something I’ve always wanted to do. But I never thought comedy or stand-up comedy even existed,” she says. 

“I would often see posters of Trevor Noah’s show Day Walker and assumed it was a theatre play or production, but I had no clue about comedy until a friend advised that I try it out.”

Her first live performance was at Parker's Comedy and Jive at Monte Casino, where she won Nando’s Comedy Showdown.

Read more l Linda Sokhulu on staying relevant in a tough industry – ‘Nothing is set in stone and you have to keep exploring’

“Then is when I fell in love with comedy and I was confident enough that I could take it on as a career,” she says.

Being funny also comes with its challenges, especially in a male-dominated industry.

“People assume ‘female comedy’ is a genre of its own. The fact that there are few female comics is a problem,” she says. “When you think comedian, the first thing you see in your head is a man.

“Another unfortunate thing is the comedy industry cannot accommodate a pool of comedians and prefers to have one funny guy at a time, but there is space for everyone,” she says.

Despite the challenges, Lihle’s biggest achievements so far have been winning the Nando’s Comedy Showdown, writing for some of the best TV shows in the country, and being part of The Lite Show where she is able to be herself without reservation.

“For once, we get to have our voices unfiltered and unaltered. The show allows creativity, spontaneity, and for people to be themselves. And we brought laughs to people during a pandemic,” she says. 

Jokes aside, Lihle is also a mom to a three-year-old son, Motheo Msimang, and a wife to visual artist Isang Mokolobate.

“My son is too small to know what comedy is about. He still thinks people falling over is funny. 

“But I want to believe I am the let-the-child-be type of parent who does not want to box myself or my child,” she says. 

Fun facts about Lihle

Top three favourite comedians

  • Wonder Sykes
  • Mpho Popps
  • Khanyisa Bhunu

 Worst things about being a comedian

  • Being asked to crack jokes at awkward times
  • People thinking you’re joking all the time, even when you’re being serious
  • Performing on stage and there are no laughs

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24