Thato Molope (22) created a new pop up platform, Sound of Comedy, to help rising stand-up comedians to get more exposure.
Comedy in South Africa has been in ascendance over the years inspiring many young comedians to pursue the career. However, there are still barriers some face before they are able to establish an audience. Many still struggle to get bookings and that is what inspired young comedian, Thato, to create a rotating pop up comedy show for rising comedy acts.
Sound of Comedy has been running for two years and has had successful runs in Hatfield, Capellos (Pretoria) and News Café (New Town). The young entrepreneur hopes to broaden the concept and use the platform for artistic growth that is also inclusive to other creative acts.
We spoke to Thato about his career and his inspiring project.
What motivated you to commit to making people laugh?
Thato: All my life I enjoyed watching people have a good time. I have always wanted to be the source of the good time. So I would have to say people are my biggest motivation.
Many comedians have been quite vocal about their personal pain being the major influence in their careers as comedians. Can you relate?
Thato: To a certain extent yes I can relate, because in comedy you have to be able to break yourself down but at the same time you need to know your audience. I think it’s a combination of understanding your personal pain and the pain that others go through and being able to combine the two.
I decided to quit my job, quit varsity and dedicated my life to making people happy, because it’s what made me happy and no life is worth living unless you are happy or pursuing happiness
.Can you tell us about the moment you decided to drop out of law school to pursue comedy full-time?
Thato:I was working in a sports shop at a high school in Pretoria and one of the perks was that we had free Wi-Fi in the store. I would spend most days on YouTube watching stand-up comedy videos and one day I was watching one of Kevin Hart’s specials and it made me so happy watching him make others happy. I stopped and I thought, “Wait, I could do this” and ever since that thought came into my head, it just started growing like cancer and 2 weeks later it had consumed me and all I could think about was entertaining people. I decided to quit my job, quit varsity and dedicated my life to making people happy, because it’s what made me happy and no life is worth living unless you are happy or pursuing happiness.
What have you uncovered about the industry?
Thato: It’s a tough industry, particularly because it’s still very new in SA, our people are growing in the culture of stand up and live entertainment in general, but at the same time it’s very exciting because there’s so much growth that still needs to take place. As a young guy in the industry let’s just say the world is my playground.
Have there been people in the industry who have guided you in your path?
Thato: No not really, everything I’ve done I’ve had to teach myself, even my first show, I had never been to a stand-up Comedy show ever. I had to create the show the way I thought it should be in my head. I learn from my mistakes and I never give up.
I’ve learnt a lot more from my failures than my successes and for me ‘Knowledge is power’.
Can you tell us about your main intention with Sound of Comedy?
Thato: Sound of Comedy is more than just a live comedy show. SOC is a platform for all artists to showcase their talents and shine. We feature comics, singers, rappers and poets. You name the art we’ll find a way to add it to the show. I want SOC to be recognised as the go to show for old and young artist in South Africa and the number one platform for artistic growth. As we move towards that goal, we are currently about to launch a new Talent competition in Rustenburg called ‘Talent In The Burg’ #TIB for more info on that check out “Talent in The Burg” on Facebook.
What are the entrepreneurial benefits of running a pop up comedy shows?
Thato: One of the major benefits is that I’m constantly meeting new people, from artists to business owners. I’m constantly making new connections, I get to work with various venues and always attracting new venues. It honestly has given me the freedom to keep moving and to never remain stagnant.
Are there lessons you have learned from the obstacles of trying to take the alternative route?
Thato: Yes, it’s a lot harder than taking the conventional route, but it also makes you stronger than those that have chosen the conventional route. I’ve learnt a lot more from my failures than my successes and for me ‘Knowledge is power’.
What advice would you give to young comedians who are stuck because of lack of gigs?
Thato: Contact Sound Of Comedy and we’ll not only provide you with a platform, but we’ll point you in the right direction for more gigs, but whatever you do, if it’s your passion you never give up.
You can follow Sound of Comedy on: SOC