America, here comes King Carl

10 Oct, 2012 - 22:10 0 Views

The Herald

the industry in the past two years has been a surprise to many including the man himself who sets himself some mighty high goals.
Growing up as a “nomad” meant Carl stayed in most neighbourhoods in the capital Harare and second capital, Bulawayo.
However, it was when the young man left Bulawayo to join his mother in Marondera that he skipped grades.
Being rather on the bigger side physically than your normal Grade Five pupil, Carl went into a Grade Six class because he looked just as big instead of his rightful Grade Five. The anomaly was only found out midway through the term and the authorities called his mother to ask how they would proceed since none was the wiser.
A voice rang across the line “How well is he doing in Grade Six?” Carl’s mother asked.
To that came the answer that he was doing well, so then it became most probably a first, or rather a reported first, and that someone in the country jumped grades out of sheer ignorance.
It made the writer crack a rib laughing thinking the comic was up to his usual antics but alas it is true.
Carl’s rise in the comedy industry has been nothing short of phenomenal, his first performance was in 2010, but as you read this article, the maverick comedian is already in America, charming the Americans with his wit.
“I will try and learn a bit more about comedy because if you get used to performing at home you don’t really grow or improve.
“You don’t know where you stand unless you measure yourself alongside those who are doing it.
“It’s like a cultural exchange, I want to learn how humour grows and translates across different countries,” he said.
True to his word, the affable character put up a splendid performance at the Harare International Conference Centre, last Friday night where he held more than a 1 000 people spell-bound with his humourous jokes.
The event dubbed “Carl’s Comedy Night”, was in preparation of his United States tour that will see the maverick comedian performing in different cities until his return to Zimbabwe in December. 
“Going to America allows me to see aspects of their culture that are funny. I get a better understanding of my audience by seeing how a country is set up and how it’s working then understanding what can be funny to that crowd, ” he revealed.
He said every comic wanted to make material for Zimbabweans only but he looked at it and told himself that he cannot limit himself. He decided to package his comedy in such a way that it can be understood not only by Zimbabweans but also across the globe. “Why would I want to preach to the converted?” he asked.
In July Carl had a whirlwind tour that took him to Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda under the “Night of a Thousand Laughs” banner, an event he said was a most memorable one.
“It was very exciting to be in Nigeria and we did a teaser show in Lagos and had an amazing response.
“The actual show was in Abuja and no one laughed, it was horrible. I guess on that side of the world the comedy is more physical, more slapstick, one moment the comic is singing the next he’s dancing. Here I am, I come talking unlike other comedians.
“I wanted to come straight home, I went to Kenya and everyone was worried about my performance but the organisers still had faith in me saying you are a classy act, very intellectual so sometimes you need to learn your audiences more.”
The problem he had was, he thought since Lagos loved him, the mutual feeling would be felt in Abuja but that was not the case.
“It was the first time I bombed and am at an age where I didn’t understand it; Kenya was the most awesome performance.
“Uganda was awesome as well and the nice thing about those gigs was working with some of the good comedians like De Drunk, Basket Mouth and so on.”
He said some of his other memorable shows include “The Big Announcement” in December of 2010 and he did that show because he was looking for an excuse to propose to Nelsy, now his fiancée.
“I was more scared about her saying no than the jokes, so I wrote one hour of jokes so that if she refused I would make fun of her and her family.
“We had known each other for eight years and have been going out for seven months before I proposed,” he said.
Stand Up Africa was also huge opportunity for him because he was now being positioned among the top comedians in Africa, a position he revelled in saying it was like the Africa Cup of Nations and Zimbabwe was in the Group of Death. When asked how he started his journey as a comic he said that it started when he was born and his late dad was a comedian who earned a living through making people laugh.
“We grew up thinking our father was the only one allowed to be funny.
“I went into graphic design and animation and I used to be into comedy doing animation.
“I used to write funny commercials that were shown back in the day, I just used to be a joker until a friend asked me to perform at one of her shows in 2010.
“I told one or two jokes and that was it, I found my voice,” Carl reflected.
His journey has been one filled with a lot of mixed emotions, though successful it has been, he says he tries to push himself into the deep end.
When he first started to perform in Zimbabwe he did an unprecedented one-and-a-half-hour show before moving to South Africa.
“That was another deep end and now going to the States is another one. I’m always scaring myself.
“I have been doing stuff that other comedians would do over a 10-year period but I’ve been fortunate enough to bump into the right people at the right time.
“It’s been very helpful and the fact that I have a website, most people come across me through what they see online and from there I get the enquiries then I get to travel,” he said.
During his stint in South Africa, Carl performed at the renowned Parker’s Comedy Club, which is the biggest comedy club in Africa.
With the main club located at Monte Casino in Johannesburg, he became and remains the only Zimbabwean to have performed there.
“It is were comedians are born in South Africa and if you perform there everyone else will give you gigs. That’s the one they are using right now to film Comedy Central. Becoming a regular at Parkers was a huge thing for me and I ended up doing it full-time that is why I moved, they also have satellite joints around the club.
They do comedy every single day,” beamed Carl. Although he didn’t get a nomination he was included as legible to contest the coveted South Africa Comics Choice Awards in Newcomer and Audience choice Awards.

Share This:

Sponsored Links