Judy Jake, one of South Africa’s greatest creative minds who has had a comedic career that began at the tender age of 8 reveals to ZAlebs the challenging road to Comedic success in an industry filled with male counter-parts and how she has traversed the bumpy, yet rewarding, road on course to becoming one of South Africa’s most recognized female comedians.
The first thing we chatted to her about is her amazing sense of humour that started off at such an early age and what motivated her to even go further into experimenting with comedy:
“Initially people thought that as a kid I’d go out there and actually make people laugh, which is not necessarily the case whilst growing up I usually just wrote jokes, you know when you’re at that age when you were curious about everything. So I just loved reading jokes and came up with the conclusion of writing my own jokes. All the material I wrote I then sent on to the Sunday Times newspaper where they were placed in the children’s section and that’s where I took my first bite out of comedy.”
We were quite impressed that Judy answered her calling at such a young age. ZAlebs was also taken aback when we found out that Judy was actually quite the introvert, despite effortlessly performing on stage “I still am shy on stage, I’m very quiet and it shocks people that I do stand-up comedy. My start up on comedy was really a spur of the moment thing because a group of friends of mine in Varsity approached me to do an act as they were looking for female comedians and they happen to find me funny so I didn’t even second guess myself, I was just like yea sure I’ll do it. Not realising that I was going to be on stage by myself and there was no turning back so I forced myself to overcome my shyness, I didn’t even know what I was going to talk about I just braced myself, jumped into the deep and off the pool and hoped to swim my way to the end.”
Many might also take Judy for just a comedian but she’s also responsible for many of the children’s television shows we see or use to see on YO.TV. from programmes such as YOTV’VS “Paws & Claws as well as “Mvubu & Friends”
“My gig on YOTV was yet another accidental opportunity that fell onto my lap, YOTV was looking for people who could speak Sotho, and unfortunately in Joburg many people can’t speak the proper siSotho so they auditioned all these people but were not impressed, the producers then hunted me down because they heard from someone that I could actually do the job quite well.”
We also asked Judy about her up and coming One Woman Show that she starts this weekend on the 10th of August and how she’s managed to handle the criticism from her male counter-parts in the industry.
“Doing this show has been a long time coming, in this business you need people who actually believe in you and your vision, and because I’m so shy and introverted I’d put myself down many times but manager and friends, put their foot down and told me it was now or never. So I’m very proud to say that this Saturday I perform my one-woman show it should be very exciting”
"When I started out it was just me as a female comedian and it was difficult from an audience perspective and not necessrily from my comedian peers, especially getting that acceptance from black males because I think they were just not ready to see a female on stage making them laugh. So like any rights of passage ceremony I had to prove that my jokes were as funny as my male counterparts and with the growth of comedy in our country many of my male audiences have accepted me as one funny comedian. What I also found interesting is that I was warned that the female audience was going to be as difficult in accepting me as a comedian which is quite the opposite, many of my followers who enjoy my jokes are in fact the ladies which I find to be quite a huge honor."
We wish Judy nothing but the best in her first one woman comedy show that will take place this Saturday on the 10th of August.