Chigubhu: Living off jokes, laughter

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THE turn of the millennium brought with it vast kinds of art, among them the once cherished street theatre which was coated with a streak of hysterical scenes which would keep many glued at one point of the street in the central business district.news_bClive-Chigubhu-250


In Harare, Freddy “Kapfupi” Manjalima became a household name while down south in Bulawayo, omkula were the in-thing as they would gather a crowd similar to that at political rallies.

The dawn of the new age of comedians has, however, necessitated the rise of the somewhat Western-tailored stand-up comedy, slowly taking over from the now vanishing street theatre.

 This “new” culture does not need any script or props on stage so the comedian has their words only to impress an expectant audience.

While some believe it is just like any other art, many think stand-up comedians are nowhere close to normal and that their life is devoid of seriousness, but is that true?

Not necessarily, at least according to one of the rising comedians, Clive Chigubhu. Growing up with a small body among his peers, Chigubhu knew he had to use words “to compensate for the height” in evading being bullied at school and in his neighbourhood.

The Bulawayo-bred artiste did not know however that he would do this as a profession someday until his theatre teacher advised him to try stand-up comedy, which he fell in love with on his debut show at Ibumba Festival in 2010 where he left the crowd in stitches with his jokes.

In a wide-ranging interview with NewsDay yesterday, Chigubhu said comedy was an inborn thing which only needed a bit of cultivation and research to materialise into a profession.

“I was always loud when I was young because I was small and short, so most times I would use words to compensate for the height,” said Chigubhu.

“Humour is a part of me and the stage has always been my thing as I was in theatre at school until the day my teacher told me to try stand-up comedy which I loved since then.”

Laughter is often described as the best medicine and Chigubhu might just be one of the top “doctors” in town if that is anything to go by.

He has the ability to make grim life situations seem light, forcing a smile even on the face of the most serious guy at a venue and he enjoys every bit of it although he sometimes gets worried as people do not get his serious side any more.

“Comedy makes me feel good on and off stage because people always meet me and get a time to laugh but sometimes they cannot tell when I am serious or not. I have now accepted that, although I always wish people do not misunderstand me,” he said.

Chigubhu, who has risen over the years to become a regular performer at major events and festivals, said he has no fear as he has learnt the ropes from experienced comedians.

He said he is always inspired to break new ground in comic performances.

“I want to break the boundaries and I advise other upcoming artistes to gain knowledge from legends like Edgar Langeveldt and Michael K because experience is the best teacher,” he said.

He bemoaned lack of corporate support as detrimental to the growth of the craft citing that in some cases it is only Harare artistes who get the chance alone.

He has, along with a few others, pioneered the growth of the art in Bulawayo and the country and he believes talent needs God’s backing to be beneficiary.

“Talent takes you out of poverty and God gives gifts,” Chigubhu said.-Newsday

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