COMEDY is no joke
Women in stand-up.
Imeet Thenjiwe Moseley on a cold autumn morning the day ahead of her appearance in her friend and fellow “laugh technician” Celeste Ntuli’s show, Home Affairs 2, at The Lyric. I had met her before, as a committed consumer of her hilarious YouTube videos, especially her #MySangomaIsTheBest clip, which I will show to any and everyone who says they haven’t seen it.
The KwaZulu-Natal-born lawyer-turned-comedienne says she took a roundabout journey to a full-time comedy career. She has just returned from the Cannes Film Festival, where she was performing, and where she was honoured by The Producers Network, which recognised her as a talented emerging producer.
“I’m old, but also new [to the industry]. I studied drama at Natal Technikon aaaaages ago, and graduated in 1998 – then started in comedy, but there was no comedy scene really, so it wasn’t working out. I went to America to work as an au pair in 2000 and then went to England, where I ended up staying longer than I had planned. I studied in England because I wanted a real job.” But is comedy not a real job? She laughs and says: “Uyabona, this mentality ekhaya that you need to get a real job ... so I studied law and got a real job. But I still wanted to talk and still wanted to stand in front of people and get a bit of attention-nyana.” She practised law for a few years. “I went back on stage in November 2012. I was actually out with my other learned friends and we went to a comedy club and they kept saying: ‘You can do this! Get on stage!’” One of her friends did the right thing and spoke to the promoters behind her back, asking them to give Moseley a fiveminute slot.
“I went on and never looked back,” she says.
When she became a finalist in the UK’s Funny Women comedy awards, she realised this was what she was supposed to be doing with her life. She quit law at the end of 2013.
“As it happened, my friend, who I went to Tech with back home, had also gone back to comedy. My friend Celeste Ntuli.”
As if on cue, Moseley’s phone rings. Ntuli will be joining us a little later.
“So when I came back home, Celeste said: ‘You’re getting on stage! You must come and do comedy.’ So I was very lucky I already had a friend who was an established comedienne here.”
Moseley, who lives in London 80% of the time, started testing the local scene. She did five minutes at Sway and was hired for a full set. The same happened at Parker’s comedy club.
“I wanted to do my comedy for people at home and I thought, there’s social media, so I am able to give my fans here comedy without being here all the time.”
She’s had so many requests for a DVD that producing one is among her current projects. “It means people can have my comedy without spending their data streaming me.”