MUST BE TALK­ING TO AN AN­GEL

AN­GEL CAMPEY IS NOT JUST A PRETTY FACE. OR NAME, FOR THAT MAT­TER. SHE’S ALSO AN AWARD-WIN­NING STAND-UP CO­ME­DIAN, MC, RA­DIO PRE­SEN­TER AND – MUCH TO HER MA­TRIC ENGLISH TEACHER’S DE­LIGHT – A STEL­LAR COM­EDY WRITER.

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Though based in Cape Town, Campey’s comedic tal­ent has taken her all over the world, from New York City and Canada to Nige­ria, as well as all over her own beau­ti­ful coun­try. Her wildly hi­lar­i­ous com­edy spe­cial, Devil’s Ad­vo­cate – pro­duced by Siv Ngesi, writ­ten by Campey her­self, and di­rected by Fleur Du Cap-win­ning di­rec­tor,Tara Not­cutt – de­buted in 2017 to sold-out crowds, and was brought back this year, by pop­u­lar de­mand, to the Na­tional Arts Fes­ti­val in Gra­ham­stown.

Au­di­ences just can’t seem to get enough of Campey’s ra­zor-sharp wit, up­roar­i­ous per­sonal anec­dotes, and her play­ing “devil’s ad­vo­cate” and thereby adding fuel to the flames of an al­ready hi­lar­i­ous view of life in South Africa. She is a com­edy force to be reck­oned with, and a wo­man on a mis­sion to have au­di­ences rolling in the aisles.

A LATE START

In­ter­est­ingly, a ca­reer in com­edy was not some­thing on the cards for the young An­gel, de­spite hav­ing the in­nate abil­ity to make peo­ple laugh since as far back as nurs­ery school. She en­joyed at­tend­ing and watch­ing stand-up com­edy through­out her life, but never con­sid­ered get­ting on stage her­self. That’s un­til she met South African ac­tor, and SABC and Mnet pre­sen­ter, Siv Ngesi.

“It didn’t even oc­cur to me,” Campey re­calls.“Only when I was 28, and had re­cently moved in with a new room­mate, Siv Ngesi, who was work­ing as a co­me­dian. He saw how much pos­i­tive at­ten­tion my blog – which I did for fun – and tweets re­ceived, and told me that I was funny and I should get into stand-up. I would never have fol­lowed up alone. It would have been a ‘maybe one day’ for­ever.The first show went re­ally well and the rest is his­tory. I owe my whole ca­reer to Siv. And seven years later, we are still room­mates, and still each other’s big­gest cheer­lead­ers.”

Campey’s first stand-up gig was in July 2011 where she made the fi­nals in the Parker’s Com­edy Show­down in Jo­han­nes­burg and was im­me­di­ately put on the map. “It’s so sur­real that

stand­ing up and do­ing what I love most in the world not only gets me paid, but also lets me travel,” Campey says. “I think the big­gest high­light for me would have to be be­ing hand­picked by Nige­rian megas­tar co­me­dian Bas­ket­mouth [Bright Okpocha]. After see­ing me per­form at the Jo­han­nes­burg In­ter­na­tional Com­edy Fes­ti­val, he in­vited me to per­form to over 4,000 peo­ple in La­gos, Nige­ria. Never in my life did I think I would ever visit La­gos, let alone stand on a stage and make them laugh.”

Campey also spent most of 2016 per­form­ing all over the Big Ap­ple and even did a stint in Mon­treal, Canada, at the Just For Laughs fes­ti­val – the big­gest stand-up com­edy fes­ti­val in the world.“I’m truly liv­ing my dream, and the ups and downs of be­ing an artist are can­celled out ev­ery time I have that mi­cro­phone in my hand, and get to cre­ate a mo­ment of hu­man con­nec­tion and laugh­ter from the stage.”

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE AU­DI­ENCES

The hu­man con­nec­tion is what it’s all about for Campey, and it is what makes be­ing on stage far more re­ward­ing for her than grac­ing TV screens or crack­ing jokes be­hind the mic on ra­dio. “The con­ver­sa­tion of laugh­ter and jokes and the in­ter­ac­tions between the en­ergy of the au­di­ence and my­self is the most re­ward­ing part of be­ing a co­me­dian,” she ex­plains. “Ev­ery au­di­ence is unique, so ev­ery night dif­fer­ent kinds of magic are cre­ated that will most likely never be re­peated. But it’s per­fect in that mo­ment.”

It’s easy to un­der­stand the magic of an in­ter­ac­tive au­di­ence that loves a good laugh, but what do co­me­di­ans feel when au­di­ences don’t laugh? “Au­di­ences are strange. Some nights

The hu­man con­nec­tion is what it’s all about for Campey, and it is what makes be­ing on stage far more re­ward­ing for her than grac­ing TV screens or crack­ing jokes be­hind the mic on ra­dio.

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