With the Annual Soweto International Comedy Festival starting on the 3rd and 4th of May 2013. One must wonder what hilarious material local and international comedians will have in store for the South African audience. ZAlebs caught up with Griff the comedian to find out what he's expectations are for this years festival.
You’ve opened up for comedians such as D.L Hughley, Monique and even artists like Beyonce’. Who’s is that 1 artist or comedian you’d still love to either open up for or work with in the comedy industry?
It's really weird because after you've been in the business 18yrs 2 weeks and 1 day (yes I'm counting) and you speak of people like D.L. Hughley & Monique all I can think of is "they're my peers" (we're in the same business) but they are real people that I still want to work with like the likes of Jerry Seinfeld, Chevy Chase, Eddie Murphy and a whole bunch more. I'm going to be doing comedy for a very long time but its not my only plan I still have bunch of tricks up my sleeve (and I don't wear long sleeves) (laughs)
Have you performed for the South African audience before, if so how different is our local audience in comparison to your American or even European audiences?
I come to South Africa twice a year to perform stand up comedy and I'll be here again in the future. I said in another article that the intelligence of the S.A audience is always so cool to me, you're a smart people and you can recognize nonsense when you hear it and you're not shy about letting people know that they're rubbish and I love that honesty in people. S.A audiences are really funny!
What’s the one thing you think new school comedians should refrain from doing in order to stay ahead in the comedy game?
I really don't like new comedians because my first TWO years in comedy I didn't make R500 but all of these comedians now are making R1000 and they're doing hacky stolen material (nobody likes a joke thief!) I'm sure you're reading this like 'you were a new comedian once... who helped you?' That's just it, nobody helped me, this isn't a profession that you can get help in, you either have it or you don't. Paying somebody who doesn't have it is only going to do one thing and that's hurt their career because some people told you, you were funny and that doesn't make you a comedian. Comedians are born...comics are made! (you can quote me on that)
What’s your expectations for this year’s Soweto International Comedy Festival?
I'm geeked about Soweto's International Comedy Festival , this is it's second year running and I'm happy I got chosen to perform at this years' festival. It's about time that a city with so much rich history and notoriety does something that can make change through a positive outlet and comedy is just that. The bible says that Comedy is healing so if you look at it in that light, were bringing medicine to people who need it. I've always thought we've had the same influence as Pastors and Priests.
Many refer to you as a “Christian Comedian” what’s your take on that? (Some people might not associate comedy with Christianity)
Although I perform at more churches and conferences then I do Comedy Clubs I actually hate the tag "Christian Comedian" because you're trying to put me in a box. I'm a comedian because I'm a NON CONFORMIST! Now if I just start doing what people said I was I'd be dead! Do you say The Christian policeman, or the Christian fireman? No, you just say the fireman or the policeman. Calling me a "Christian Comedian" is taking away from my "Muslim Money", my "Catholic Money" and my "Atheist Money". Comedians don't get caught up in labels, people do. I'm more of a Sociologist anyway because I understand human beings better than any professor in college. How else can you make someone laugh (it's an involuntary response that tells your body it has to do something) basically I'm like an X-MAN!
We’re going to be stereotypical here and ask you….what’s your favourite basketball team?
You know what's funny..I'm a DIE HARD Oakland Raider Fan! (American Football) but I love rugby (its tougher) I actually don't have a favorite basketball team believe it or not. I think its something wrong with tall people, you're not supposed to be that tall. Something is wrong with your skeleton when you're 6 foot 19, how many 7 foot 11, 80 year olds do you know? EXACTLY! they're like human Great Dane Dogs (Laughs)