Here’s a Q&A we recently did with Britain’s Got Talent Finalist & stand-up comedian Daliso Chaponda.
Daliso you’ve had quite an eclectic career, what inspired you to take up comedy?
I have always had a mind full of stories, nonsense, secrets and nuggets I wanted to share. I just didn’t know how. I tried writing poetry. I tried being a gossip. I tried rapping (the less said about that the better). You are lucky I found comedy and was good at it before I tried politics. The planet may have dodged a bullet there.
You were performing back in Malawi, what was the reception like when you began?
I started in Canada at University, Malawi came much later. Instead of writing papers hopped up on caffeine like a good student I lurked in comedy clubs, wrote jokes instead of love letters and found my calling… like a priest. No white collar though.
You won over the judges on Britain’s Go Talent, what was the most memorable moment of that experience?
I love the little nuances of people when they are laughing. Some people’s shoulders jiggle. Some people smack the person to their left. I remember Amanda Holden’s arms go up in the air in a celebratory gesture when she’s delighted. I remember Simon turning and whispering something when I made the WKD reference. I still wonder what he whispered. Lots of tiny things. A woman in the audience clasped her hand to her mouth when I mentioned chavs. I saw a man wiping away tears in the second or third row. It’s hard to pick one moment. I remember the laughs.
Your first nationwide tour – What The African Said – has just been announced, with more dates added due to popular demand, what’s it all about?
When somebody says something shocking you hear “what did he just say? what did he just say?” If it’s hilarious it’s “you won’t believe what he said.” I have been a comedian for over a decade so the show is a combination of the best routines from my whole career plus the shocking/hilarious/silly/occasionally profound things I have to say about the bonkers world we’re in now. Trump/Brexit/Zuma in South Africa/Global warming/ Tesco’s anti-obesity measures… there is a lot to talk about. Anne Marie Morris just said the ‘N word’ publicly and gave me another 5 minutes of jokes. So much to say. So much to say.
Do you have any pre-show rituals? Or anything particular on your rider?
I freestyle rap to loosen the tongue and also make the mind nimble. I run on a single spot to get the blood pumping. I look at spider diagrams I make of my shows. I sit quietly and think of the first jokes. I pray. I peek through the curtains at the people in the front row. I thank my lucky stars that comedy is a job.
Finally, if you could give your younger self any advice, what would it be?
Work less. Relax more. I say this as I have spent the day writing sitcom scenes and doing loads of admin. I’m not even following the advice I would give young Daliso. You know what, I’d just body swap so I could be young again and he’d have to come back to the present and be overweight with flecks of grey in his beard.
For tickets to Daliso’s new tour, ‘What The African Said…’ visit https://www.livenation.co.uk/artist/daliso-tickets