Tsitsi Chiumya & Bongani Dube of Trevor Noah's NationWide series are funny AF!
Upcoming comedians Tsitsi Chiumya and Bongani Dube are part of a new crop of comedians handpicked by Trevor Noah to feature on his NationWild series.
While both of them are reppin’ Limpopo, 25-year-old Tsitsi hails from Lebowakgomo and already has a Safta which he won for Scriptwriting – TV Comedy as part of the ZANews team.
Bongani who says he’s 29-years-handsome was born in Venda and realised he was made for comedy after two years in the corporate world.
TshisaLIVE had a light-hearted chat with Tsitsi and Bongani who has us chuckling with their answers.
When did you realise you wanted to get into comedy?
Bongani: Well… I guess like the first time I failed in tertiary, I was ‘Erm… maybe academics is not for me, lemme try and do comedy'.
TshisaLIVE: Eh. Failed a module, a course of the whole degree nje?
Bongani: Ehhh no let’s just leave it at failed. LOL!
Tsitsi: My journey was a lil bit weird because I was studying Games at Wits when the comedy bug bit. But I always knew I wanted to impact people, you know in a smiley, laughy way.
What did the folks say when they heard y’all wanted to become comedians?
Bongani: Well, I eventually got my degree so comedy took a back seat for a while for me. I got a job in advertising but I was never happy, something was always missing. Then went to pursue it (comedy) till one day while I was on stage, someone stole the steering wheel of my car and the next day I went and quit my job. I told them Jesus took the wheel and that was a sign.
TshisaLIVE: So you think it was Jesus huh?
Bongani: Yeah, I’m kind of convinced it was Jesus. Yeah, my VW steering is probably chilling in his cabinet in heaven. So yeah then I told my mom, who said "Child that’s a hobby” but now she sees it. Jesus knew what he was doing when he took that wheel.
Tsitsi: So with me it was weird for them because I was doing Game Design and I was doing amazing. Plus, I think I was one of just two black South Africans doing and finishing the degree on the continent. But I started feeling frustrated because everything I did was attributed to the fact that, “He’s the black guy". So I casually told my parents, ‘I’m gonna focus a bit more on the comedy'.
But my parents just thought it was a hobby, so they were fine. But then I moved to Cape Town and found my comedy feet, which enabled me to travel a lot. I also loved it because it was so inclusive - it was anything I needed it to be. The folks never actually understood how comedy could be a career though. My mom always says I use Trevor Noah as a scapegoat. So every time she’ll just go like, “Ai wena le Trevor, everyday ke Trevor!”
So what do you think makes a great comedian?
Bongani: Tsitsi go ahead…
Tsitsi: Eh… (this goes on a couple of seconds) *crickets* A great comedian neh?
Tsitsi: Good jokes and a great package of a human being. Like a clean appearance, right views and a person who learns from other peoples' experiences. You have to empathetic towards how your audience will take your views, you know their tolerance. Paying attention to detail.
Bongani: Ayt… I’m about to give it a go… Eh... you have to be able to read a crowd, helping them understand where you come from even if they have a different view and to stay firm in your opinion. Never ever change your opinion because you need to have a backbone but don’t talk down to people.
What is your favourite Trevor Noah joke?
Bongani: This is an interesting question. My favourite joke is the joke he does about escalators in Namibia. I love it because I see it all the time where people are really excited or like really scared to get onto an escalator. It’s so relatable.
Tsitsi: My favourite people haven’t seen yet. He did as he introduced me at Lyric Theatre. But my fave, fave is the Vernacular. It was so funny, a whole joke just based on one word. The smart play on the word, on the idea.
Trevor Noah presents NationWild will be launched on September 24 as a first on Showmax. This is a 13-part, 23-minute comedy showcase where in each episode you get to see one of South Africa’s youngest, funniest comedians picked by Trevor. Each episode features Trevor as MC, an interview with the featured comedian about their ladder to success, and then that comedian’s set.