In the past year, Afrikaans comedian Schalk Bezuidenhout has been the star of breakout South African art film Kanarie, taken a show to London, and been on the cover of Huisgenoot, but at heart, he still regards himself as a regular gigging comedian. In May he will be taking his new show Schalkie to the Baxter Theatre in Cape Town, and we spoke to him to get the lowdown.
This will be Schalk’s third one-man show in English with the previous two, Second language and Jersey Boy, both proving popular.
“I have been writing material like a crazy person, testing it in the clubs almost every night and I can safely say that I am very proud of Schalkie,” he said, explaining that he didn’t write to a theme, but rather just let life happen and then spoke about that.
“This show then is basically about what has happened in my life between Jersey Boy and now, and a lot has happened,” he enthused. “If you’ve seen my previous shows, it will be similar, I guess. I don’t write according to a theme. I write about my experiences. It’s different stories. Point is, it will be funny.”
With each show, his star has risen a little higher, and now with the TV series and a movie to his name, many would consider him to be famous. Not so, insisted Schalk, who said he could still have breakfast unrecognised in a Wimpy.
“You make it seem like I’m rolling in private jets. Nope. I still fly economy and I still ride Uber X. The only difference is that now I go into the SLOW Lounge before I board a plane. But even then you can tell that I am one of the little people in there. Because I’m the one eating snacks and drinking champagne like it’s my last day on earth,” he said with a laugh.
His performance in London at the Soho theatre back in October was sold out, but fans don’t need to worry they will be losing Schalk to Britain anytime soon.
He continued: “I am always happy to perform to local crowds, but I think every comedian wants to be funny to everyone, not just his or her own people. In SA, I’ve proven to myself that not only Afrikaans people find me funny, but all South Africans. And now I want to take that to the world. People overseas are also mostly so ignorant when it comes to SA and I want to go over there and tell them about us. Even though I have been performing overseas more and more (this year I am doing the full Edinburgh Fringe Festival), I think I will always be based in SA. If I can go and tour abroad every few months and make people laugh while seeing the world, then hey, why not?”
The international exposure has been good for his shows, with each becoming funnier, sharper, and more relatable to every audience, especially while he lightly teases those who are not Afrikaans for their preconceived notions of what an Afrikaans person is supposed to be like.
“You stay the same comic, but you evolve and grow – like with anything I guess. I’m sure even doctors operate differently 10 years into the game than they did when they were starting out. And please don’t think I am equating comedians to doctors. Comedians do way more important work.”
With all his travels, he said his return to the Baxter theatre on May 30 would feel something like a homecoming.
“Even though I grew up in Kempton Park (Johannesburg), Cape Town is where I started comedy and where I was based as a comedian up until a few months ago. So even now that I’ve made the move up to Joburg, people still see me as and refer to me as a ‘Cape Town comedian’. When I do stand-up in Cape Town, I feel like I’m home.”
Give us all the basic details, when, where, and ticketing etc?
Look out for Schalk in his show, Schalkie which will be running at the Baxter Theatre from the May 30 – June 1. Tickets are available from Webtickets. Get yours soon, because this will sell out.