We had the opportunity to catch up with Schalk Bezuidenhout and talk about his experience filming Trippin’ With Skhumba, and what the future holds.
Now that Trippin’ With Skhumba has come to an end, we can only hope that a second season is in the works. For the show’s last episode, all six comedians came together for a final stand-up show.
According to Bezuidenhout, a lot of hard work has gone into getting to this point in his career. It may look like an overnight success story to some, but people don’t always realise the hard work that’s going on behind the scenes.
“I am grateful to be able to make a living doing what I love. There are so many people, specifically comedians, who aren’t making enough doing shows, who are still paying their dues while working a 9 to 5 job. Every comedian on the lineup tonight is a full-time comedian, and being able to do it full time is a moerse gift.”
Favourite moment on Trippin’ With Skhumba
It’s always hard to pick one favourite moment, but Bezuidenhout’s had to be his very first paying gig. He said that even though it was “very very awkward,” it was fun to go back to that strip club in Kempton Park because “it still looks exactly the same.”
“When I saw that stage again after all these years, I remembered that first gig again like it was yesterday. So that was a lekker memory. The bad gigs or at least the difficult gigs are no fun when you’re doing them, but after a while, when you can look back, you appreciate them. All the tough gigs make you a better comedian.”
He added that you don’t learn anything from a good gig. Sure, it’s good for your ego but have you learned anything from it? Comedians have a saying, “don’t let the good gigs go to your head and don’t let the bad gigs go to your heart.”
“The bad gigs still go to your heart, and the good gigs still go to your head but the two balance each other out, at least.”
Schalk Bezuidenhout’s advice for aspiring comedians
“Just start, it’s really that simple.” He adds:
“Every comedian on the lineup tonight began at open-mic nights and at comedy clubs. You don’t just write a one-man show and expect tickets to sell. You need to build up a following in the clubs first.
That said, Schalk feels that aspiring comedians don’t realise how easy it is to start.
“Go to Melville’s comedy shows, talk to the organiser and ask for a spot. People freak out when they realise how easy it is, especially when your dream seems to be out of reach. It’s easy to dream about being a princess one day because it’s unattainable. But if someone tells you today that you can be a princess, all you have to do is confirm your availability by 17:00, then many people chicken out.”
His advice is to “just do it, just get on that stage.” He adds that the first time is going to be tough, but once that first gig is out of the way, each gig after that gets easier.
On stage stand-up versus cameras rolling
“Reality is difficult. You adopt a persona when you’re in front of the camera, rather than just being yourself. Good reality is when you forget about the cameras and just be yourself. You have to concentrate real hard not to adopt a character.”
Can we expect a ‘Keeping Up With The Bezuidenhouts?’
Schalk jokes that his parents are probably “too boring for that,” but adds that his days are pretty boring and uneventful too. A large part of a comedian’s day is just returning phone calls and responding to emails.
That said, Schalk would love to do a show such as Skhumba’s one day, to travel through South Africa.
“It’s definitely on my bucket list to have my own reality show. Skhumba set the bar high for a local travel show. It’s good quality, it’s good content. Anybody who wants to do something similar now will have to match that standard.”
Promoting local content
When it comes to big brands like Showmax promoting content, Bezuidenhout says shows like Trippin’ With Skhumba exposes more people to stand-up comedy. That, in turns, boosts a comedian’s career.
For many viewers, Trippin’ With Skhumba is their introduction to the comedy scene. And if they enjoy it, they’ll keep going back. But the next time it wouldn’t be necessary for a TV show to convince them, they’ll keep in touch with comedians and support them. He explains:
“Comedians in South Africa cannot build the industry on our own. We need the support and help of large corporations like Showmax, Comedy Central and DStv to give us exposure.
If he had to write a two-sentence review of Trippin with Skhumba, it would be:
“An unlikely friendship. And a great mentor.”
What does the future hold?
“I hope Hotel goes on forever, I love it.”
We love it too, Schalkie, we love it too.
Catch Schalk Bezuidenhout’s one man show at the Baxter Theatre on 30 May. Tickets are available through WebTickets.
— Schalk Bezuidenhout (@schalkiebez) April 15, 2019
— Schalk Bezuidenhout (@schalkiebez) April 16, 2019
I will be performing my international one man show (South African White Boy) in Edinburgh – 2 – 26 Aug. It's a lot of shows so I need a lot of people. Please tag your friends and let them know! Now if you'll excuse I've got a visa to beg for. https://t.co/LOaapv0z6r pic.twitter.com/kobzyK0sJm
— Schalk Bezuidenhout (@schalkiebez) April 12, 2019