Earlier this year, Dalin Oliver entertained audiences with his latest one-man comedy offering, ADULTING at the Baxter Theatre, leaving them all in stitches and wanting more. If you saw the show and want to see it again (which obviously you do and should), or if you for some strange reason missed out on the treat of seeing one of Cape Town's favourite comics on stage, you'll be happy to know that you have one more chance to see him in ADULTING this year.
Oliver is doing his final 2019 Cape Town performance of ADULTING at Café Roux in Noordhoek on Wednesday 30 October 2019. You get to mix stand-up comedy and dinner, what's not to love about such an opportunity? Read what Oliver had to say about the show, and then head on over to Webtickets to grab your tickets.
1. Who was the first comic you saw live? What impact did that experience have on you making your own mark in the industry?
I honestly can’t remember who the first act was. I would be lying if I gave you an answer. I do remember the first club comedy gig I went to though. It was at the old Armchair Theatre in Observatory on a Sunday evening in 2010. Christopher Steenkamp, Liam Bento and Carl Weber were on the line-up. Ironically we're friends and colleagues now. The funny thing is that I had a maths exam on the Monday. I opted to watch stand-up comedy instead of studing. I feel like a made the right choice —I was in third year at university by the way— and it was a first year maths course that I was repeating. So, definitely the right choice. How did I even become a maths teacher?!
2. How would you describe your style of comedy to people? What's your unique approach when putting a show together that makes it quintessential Dalin Oliver?
Relatable and relevant.
3. Do you leave the jokes on the stage or are you the type of comedian who tries to see the funny in all aspects of his daily life all-the-time too?
That’s a tough one. I’d like to think I leave the jokes on stage. I’ll be the first one to tell you that my jokes off stage are horrible. They are so cheesy. By nature, I think I’m a fairly cheerful person. I’ve been told by friends and family that I tend to lighten the mood when I’m in their company. That being said, I am a fairly introverted person. I like time on my own. I can hang out on my own and have a good time. A bit weird, I now. Socially, I enjoy the company of my close friends. It’s easier because I can be myself and not ‘Dalin the Comedian’. I guess there’s no expectation to be funny. I like it that way. Or, could all of the above just be lies and I’m actually really miserable? I guess we’ll never know. Insert evil laugh. I’m not even sure I answered the question.
4. This is your third one-man stand-up comedy show. I Came, I Taught, I Left gave audiences a glimpse into your life before the stage beckoned; your take on schools, teachers and staff rooms. Face For Radio saw you sharing your adulting thoughts and fears with audiences from the perspective of someone 10-years post matric. Now, with ADULTING you up the real-life anxiety inspired laughter a notch with a 30-year-old perspective of not-adulting to the level of people's expectations. Was it always the intention for your shows to link up in this manner or was it a happy coincidence that you've ended up with a comedy trilogy of this calibre?
It was a coincidence. The irony is that when I started writing Face For Radio my idea was to focus on the “adulting” material. The writing guided me and I ended up with a new show that I never intended on writing. So, here I am about two years later writing and performing the material that I initially wanted to do. I think I needed a bit more life experience. The timing is perfect though. I’m content and happy with everything that happened.
5. You seem to draw a lot on life experience and interactions with people when working on a show. How do your family and friends react to that form of content sourcing? Do they walk into a first viewing of a new show slightly petrified of being a featured element?
It’s the standard response from everyone, 'I bet you going to use that in your show'. This is not the case. I don’t use everything in my show —a fair amount but not all. I do give them a heads up if this happens. Initially my friends are a bit worried, but not petrified. Petrified because they owe people money and I give their full name, surname and address. I’d never do that though. I should try it. The raw reaction could be funny.
6. Do you find that your shows filter through to your work as a Radio DJ when people phone in? Do people ever try to pitch your own joke from a show back to you on air or at radio events?
Yes, I do feel that it does. Radio and comedy complement each other. I’ve become sharper because of radio. It’s all about time when I'm on air, so I have to use fewer words to get to a punchline. My brain is always switched on and thinking about what I can say to punch up and ad more humour to something that was said by one of my colleagues. There’s no time to pitch, you do it live. If it works it works. If it doesn’t, then it doesn’t —trial and error. People also love giving me jokes to tell on stage. I love it. It’s like team building between me and my audience members. I’m not going to lie, some [jokes] are horrible though. When people start telling me boring jokes, I reply with another boring joke. For example, what do you call an angry car? A cross polo. I know right. Horrible. Welcome to my life.
7. When attending a comedy show —from an audience perspective— the golden rule is "don't sit in the front row if you don't want to be part of the show". Do you sometimes see that panicked "don't pick me" look in an audience member's eyes? Is that panicked glint like a performance-aphrodisiac to comics?
Some people love the front row and some don’t. Either way, there has to be a front row. I find the panic in people’s eyes amusing, because I’m trying to figure out why you sat in front if you are this scared.
8. The counter to the hide-at-the-back audience members are the hecklers... What's your general approach to someone who tries to hijack your show?
Don’t heckle the comedian. Seriously, don’t. It’s not cool or funny at all. There’s no need for it. You're an adult with real life responsibilities. Surely you have better things to do. People paid to have a good time and watch a live show. You paid to watch a show and have a good time. Now you want all the attention, because you're trying to impress your date or look cool. There’s no need for it. I genuinely try to be polite and insult the heckler in a way in that doesn’t make the audience uncomfortable. If the heckler keeps going I’ll insult them as much as possible. Obviously in a manner that allows the audience to stay on my side. But yeah, it’s not something I enjoy. Don’t heckle, it’s the right thing to do. Like paying your tv licence.
9. People tend to forget or not know that one-man comedy shows may allow for improv, but also have a narrative and script that is carefully developed. What would you say to people who think comedy shows aren't true theatre in terms of that misconception?
Everyone needs to watch more live stand-up comedy. I’ve watched the smartest people do presentations/speeches and fail miserably, because they're unable to captivate audience members in 5 minutes. Now, imagine walking into a room full of strangers and making them laugh for 60 minutes and more. It’s such a beautiful art form. Original material. No covers. You and your own thoughts on stage. Your own stories. Your choice of words used as a vehicle to describe your experiences that then relates to each audience member in a unique way. I genuinely don’t think I answered your question. It’s 3:30am on Tuesday, please forgive me. Buuuuuut, if you came to my show at the theatre and you laughed in the theatre at stories I was telling in the theatre then I do believe that the word theatre is the constant and therefore true theatre?
10. If you have to describe ADULTING in one sentence to someone who doesn't know your style and hasn't seen your previous comedy shows, what would your sales pitch be?
ADULTING is like a fitted sheet; you never really know what you're doing, but you’ll figure it out, eventually. Okay maybe, possibly not, maybe never, but you’ll keep believing even though you know it’s never going to happen. From the above, it’s clear that I was never in sales.
Catch Dalin Oliver in ADULTING at Cafe Roux in Noordhoek on Wednesday, 30 October 2019, with tickets available online through Webtickets.