#10TheatreFacts: Joe Emlio talks ‘South Africa’s American’ at the Black Irish

August 24, 2018

Joe Emilio has become a well-known name in the Cape Town comedy scene. His highly relatable performances have taken him to some of the biggest stages, both locally and internationally —from Cape Town Comedy Club at the V&A Waterfront, to Rock N' Run Festival in Namibia... and now he is getting ready to help the theatre lovers of the Northern Suburbs laugh their winter blues away. He’ll be perfoming his stand-up comedy show, South Africa’s American at the Black Irish (previously the Rabbit Hole) in Durbanville on the 29th and 30th of August 2018.


We asked Emilio to tell us a bit more about him as performer and the show to give you an idea of what to expect.


1. How did you get into comedy and when did you decide this is the career for you?

I got into comedy in 2011. I first started telling jokes at braais with friends, then eventually working on my original material and taking it to the stage. Haven’t stopped since. There is virtually no Open Mic venues for comedy in the Northern Suburbs of Cape Town where I stay, so I literally started organising comedy shows from day 1. And I still do till this day. This way I always have a stage to perform on. 

2. How would you describe your style of comedy?

I would describe it as a story-telling style. I have been told that I am theatrical, which probably comes from my drama background in college. I am not the type of comedian that just stands still on the stage and tells jokes —nothing wrong with that— as I like to move around. I’m observational and like to put a twist on everyday things that people relate to, with some 'call-back' material mixed in. 


3. Where does the idea for South Africa's American come from?

I have built this show around my journey in Cape Town. I was born in USA, then moved to Egypt for a while, and now I live in Cape Town. I love it here; fell in love with the city right away. Since day one I embraced the culture, wanting to call myself a South African. I do have the ID and passport, but it is not really enough. I slowly started to learn the South African way, but along my journey some funny stuff happened, which is what I talk about in the show. I am American, but I want to be South African: South Africa’s American


4. What would you say to someone who doesn't know you as a comedian and doesn't know what South Africa's American is about to entice them to come see the show?

I will put a twist on every day things that South Africans go through. I will talk about my journey and how I experienced these things through my eyes. Over the last 10 years my friends have given me various versions of what I need to do to become a real ‘Capetonian’, which I mostly have, but I guess I will let my audience decide if I have finally earned my stripes.  


5. What do you personally like most about performing South Africa's American?

I just love telling my story. I do believe it is a unique, interesting, and a funny story to tell. I don’t mind sharing it with the world. 

6. Who would be the ideal audience member to come see South Africa's American?

I like to think my material is quite accommodating to any audience. I am a 'clean' comedian. Basically anyone between the ages of 18 - 40 years of ages. As long as they are South African, or been living here for some time, I am sure we will have some laughs. 


7. Without giving anything away, what’s your favorite line from South Africa's American?

'You got to admit… I do look like the love-child of Jay Leno and George Lopez.'


8. Who is your biggest comedy inspiration?

There’s a few Dave Chappelle, Barry Hilton, Dane Cook, Robin Williams, Eddie Murphy. I was introduced to comedy from when I was 13 and just listened to everyone. I am a huge stand-up comedy fan. But Dave Chappelle was the first comedian I ever listened to.  


9. Comedy as a theatre genre usually addresses important or relevant issue through commentary by making people laugh at their follies or relatable situations. What message or experience would you like the audience to take away from seeing South Africa's American?

I hope that when people see the show they will see the uniqueness and beauty of the South African culture (and it’s funny side), thus feeling proud to be South African. 


10. What does theatre (the performing arts) as a lifestyle mean to you?

Eli Wallach once said 'I don’t live to act, I act to live'. That sums up how I feel about performing arts and stand-up comedy. I love the performing arts, always have. To be on that stage and make people laugh is unlike anything I can describe —it is hard to put it into words. I am a comedian for many reasons, but one of the most important reasons is to share the laughter. If I can help someone forget about their bad day, problems, issues, sadness or sorrow, for even just a moment, and help them feel better by laughing. Well… That is the magic of comedy and one of the many reasons why I love it. 


Venue: Black Irish (previously Rabbit Hole), Durbanville
Dates: 29 & 30 August
Time: 8:30pm
Tickets: R50pp

Booking: www.quicket.co.za
Opening Acts: Gary Castleton (29th) and Nelson de Gouveia (30th)


YOU CAN WIN TICKETS to see the show on 30 August 2018.

Enter by clicking here: bit.ly/TSCTCompetition


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