With his trusty guitar, clever wit and enigmatic stage presence, Tats Nkonzo adds a unique flavour to South African comedy. We caught up with the funnyman to chat about his experiences as a multi-talented performer and his new one-man show The Clever Black.
Having graduated from AAA with a career set as an accounts executive, what made you change course towards comedy?
I was doing well in advertising, without really trying. Then, one day, I caught a glimpse of my boss in a moment of being stressed out. I had to ask myself if I wanted that. I didn’t know, so I took a gap year. And that’s when I discovered comedy.
From SA’s Got Talent to Idols you’ve certainly cultivated your talents by your time on stage, how have these experiences helped you in becoming the comedian you are today?
SA’s Got Talent has taught me to be sincerely myself. I deal with a lot of people and all are honestly chasing their dreams. I have to be authentic in order for it to work. Idols taught me the glitz and razzmatazz of performance and the need to be great in order to progress. Both traits are vital in being a comedian.
You’ve described yourself as ‘the funny black guy with the guitar’, where did you get the idea of combining comedy with music?
The first time I did comedy, I didn’t know how to write or tell jokes. But what I did know was guitar. So, I picked it up and the process became easier. I then kept at it with the guitar.
You’ve worked alongside many comedic heavyweights and have received international recognition for your own comedy; with that in mind, what have some of your career highlights been?
So many. Too many to count. And not all of them happen on the big stages. We’d need another few pages to tell the stories. My first show at Baxter is my current highlight. And Trevor Noah coming to watch my show was significant.
What can Capetonians expect from your new show The Clever Black?
To laugh. That’s it. They can expect to laugh. That’s my only job. That’s what I spend hours on planning… how to make them laugh.