Daliso Chaponda interview

We speak to Daliso Chaponda about new-found success, his UAE gigs, and finding little nuggets of positivity in the news

Comedians rarely skyrocket to fame. There is the odd Edinburgh Fringe Festival success that goes on to a longer-lasting TV career, but it’s not often that a comedian’s TV debut is watched live by more than ten million people.

Daliso Chaponda is the comedy sensation who shot to stardom during Britain’s Got Talent 2017. Since finding fame, he is preparing to embark on a four-month UK tour, the launch of his own BBC radio show and his very own novel. Ahead of a four-night tour of the UAE this month, with Dubai performances set for Friday September 29, we spoke to Chaponda about his new-found stardom and what UAE fans can expect from his shows.

“Actually, I was opening for another comedian in Dubai years ago – it’s like coming back after a promotion! [laughs]”

Following years of plying his trade as a comedian in Canada between 2001 and 2006, Chaponda routinely experienced the highs and lows of open mic nights before getting his big break on UK TV 11 years later.

“Before you become funny, you spend what I refer to as ‘the journeyman years’ hitting stand-up clubs and open mic nights. That was Canada for me,” he says. “You’ll have some brilliant experiences early on, which keep you going back, but then you’ll have some absolutely dreadful ones – there’s no school for comedy, so you learn by failing.”

Having had a hugely publicised breakthrough into the mainstream, Chaponda recalls the experience of being at the epicentre of the Britain’s Got Talent whirlwind.

“It was wonderful!” he exclaims. “It was simply astonishing, especially because I went in expecting so little. I was hoping for a few more corporate bookings, I never thought I’d get to the final. I was just hoping to get footage for a demo reel!”

Because of his experience in comedy prior to the show, Chaponda says he got through the whole process just by continuing to do what he does best – writing comedy and being himself. “I lost control of the situation in the best possible way. I’d dealt with press before, and I’d dealt with Tweets from random people saying ‘I hate you’, so it didn’t really faze me. The only people who had a hard time with me were the legal and compliance people, telling me what was offensive and what I couldn’t say on live TV.”

Like many comedians, Chaponda bases much of his content on what’s happening in the news, but keeps it light and tries to be uplifting. “That world is crazy right now. It’s almost too easy to be a comedian. But I prefer positive stories, because most things in the news are depressing. I’ll find little nuggets of positive and amusing news.

The world is full of the brilliantly absurd. Expect wonderful, uplifting stories that will make you laugh.”

Chaponda is coming to the UAE as part of The Laughter Factory’s latest round of pop-up comedy nights. Make sure you don’t miss it.
Dhs140. Sep Fri 29, 7pm. Hilton Dubai Jumeirah, JBR; 9pm DoubleTree by Hilton Dubai – Business Bay, www.thelaughterfactory.com.

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