Since his days opening for Trevor Noah Robby Collins has come a long way. As a double nominee at this year’s Comic’s Choice Awards in the critical categories of “Headliner of the year” and “The Savanna Comic of the Year,” he is at the top of his game and is about to head out on a national tour with his new show “Iyeza”.
Speaking to him he seems as excited about this one as he was for his first gigs in Durban.
“I love being on the road speaking to different kinds of people,” he says. “I didn’t do a solo tour last year so I’m enjoying being back out there doing what I want to do.”
A comedian firmly grounded in his roots (his last show was called “Son of Carol”, a title later mimicked by Trevor Noah himself with his show “Son of Patricia”) Collins’ material often centres around his life, growing up and his family. Not a comic who is out to press an opinion, he is quick to point out the show is “just jokes”.
“It’s comedy. Story-telling, and sometimes, just jokes. But it’s all filled with my truth. I just want people to leave there feeling really good about themselves and life,” he says.
The show and its jokes have all been rigorously tested over the past six months in a variety of clubs, a process Collins explains is important for building a quality show.
“I do all my material in the clubs first. If you only do certain things in front of your audience you will later find out you have been fooled into thinking it was funny cause your fans might laugh at anything you say. I want this to be the best show I can create for everyone,” he says.
Material developed in front of crowds
The material itself has been developed during his time on stage. Collins swears he has not written a thing down, not even on his phone, and says the jokes are organic creations that happened with audiences.
“I was just excited to say these things. Getting up in the clubs every night just manifested into what it is right now,” he explains. “I’ve just tried to be as present as possible and store everything that works into the back of my head.”
The title of the show “Iyeza” comes from a trip Collins did to Robben island in 2018 and is a reflection of what he hopes the show will be.
“I did the tour on Robben island and one of the political prisoners from the Soweto Uprising was leading the group. He recognised me in the crowd of about 30 and we started chatting. Back in the day when he was on the island, and he said one of the best times was when they had 30 minutes of downtime in the quad. The guys would joke with each other, with lots of teasing and roasting and they called that “Iyeza”,” Collins explains. “It’s the Xhosa word for health and medicine and it just made me feel good. That’s what I want people to feel when they leave my show.”
In the long run, the show will be touring overseas, but for now, you can catch Robby in a variety of places across the country. He will be at the theatre on the square for the One Night Stand festival on August 1st, and then on to Cape Town and Pretoria with more dates to be announced. The full details can be found here.