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Comedian Lihle Msimang on the role of humour in an ever-changing world, Youth Month, and more

Glamour: When did you realise you were legitimately hilarious?

Lihle Msimang: Humour has always been an outlet I used my whole life, at school humour prevented me from being bullied. But I only started noticing I’m actually funny in my 20s. When I was supposed to be listening to a lecturer, I was watching Katt Williams, who inspired me to give comedy a shot. You can tell that I failed, neh? No, actually, I graduated Cum Louder (because I screamed the loudest when accepting my degree).

G: What doesit mean to be a female comedian in 2023?

LM: There has been a great rise of young female talent in the comedy scene all over the country. Since I started, there are more women daring to take the stage. I suppose it means in 2023 I’m no longer the yooungest female comedian. I’m in my 30s now, if I still held that title, I’d be worried.

G: What makes you laugh?

LM: People falling down and losing their shoes. I’ve been binge watching these videos and I’m beginning to suspect TikTok thinks I’m some weird lady. But those videos kill me. I don’t understand, are they wearing shoes that are too big? Ma’am, why are your shoes flying off because you fell?

G: What’s the role of comedy as the world continues to shift and change?

LM: Comedy is and always will be about making people laugh and feel good about things that affect us deeply. It’s medicinal and makes people feel better. Comedy can be used to speak out or against certain views and issues, which may sometimes rub people the wrong way, but some of these issues need to be ironed out.

G: This is our Disruptors issue, what does it mean to get recognition for doing something you love?

LM: It’s honestly a great privilege. In light of many people feeling stuck, doing something that makes you feel free, get paid- and seen for, is great!

G: What are some of your career highlights?

LM: I’ve performed on many stages, appeared on great TV shows, and even did some stage time in London. I’ve been a regular feature on the Joburg International Comedy Festival since being one of the first people to grace its stage when it launched in 2015. But my proudest moment was starting my own comedy agency called Zuberry Entertainment last year, and working with some incredibly funny humans like Mbali Gudazi, Linde Sibanda, Thabiso Mhlongo and TT Phasha.

G: What’s the secret to being a successful comedian?

LM: Be funny and put in the work to be even funnier. Always strive to be better than what you were, respect the audience, their time and minds. Always remember that even though you’re having fun and getting free tequila shots, you’re a growing brand and you have a duty to give the people what they came for: a laugh!

G: What’s your message for Youth Month?

LM: It’s never too late to start – you’re not too old to start over again. The advantage you have is that you’re young, so there’s plenty of time to learn from your failure and turn it into a win. I’m in my early 30s and I’m still trying new things, creating new dreams. Age should never stop you. Whatever you decide to do, do it with love.

Purchase a digital copy of our June/July ‘Disruptors’ Issue here, or grab a physical copy now in-stores.

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