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Meet the Comics: Mpho Popps

Mpho Popps
Mpho Popps

“Comedy has always been my best defense,” Mpho Popps likes to say, in reference to his willow-thin frame and short stature. Apparently, the best defense is a good offense. He has accomplished incredible things in his (thus far) brief career.

If staying in bed beats going to work then you need to find another job. If it ain’t worth getting outta bed then it ain’t worth your time.
Mpho Popps

In July 2009, Mpho auditioned for So You Think You’re Funny, a South African reality television show. When the audition was over, the judges, blown over, asked him to keep going. He said he wanted to save the rest of his material “for the show.” His wish came true, and he went on to place second — impressive for anyone, but amazing for someone who had never performed comedy before in his life, and who had bluffed his way onto television with, by his own estimation, “only two good jokes.”

A mere four years later, Mpho has established himself as one of South Africa’s most promising young comics, rubbing elbows with South African heavy-hitters like Trevor Noah and Marc Lottering, and booking as many club gigs as his schedule can accommodate. Mpho has also made frequent appearances in movies and television (including a nomination in the “Best Newcomer” category at the First Annual Comics’ Choice Awards).
In July 2009, Mpho auditioned for So You Think You’re Funny, a South African reality television show. When the audition was over, the judges, blown over, asked him to keep going. He said he wanted to save the rest of his material “for the show.” His wish came true, and he went on to place second — impressive for anyone, but amazing for someone who had never performed comedy before in his life, and who had bluffed his way onto television with, by his own estimation, “only two good jokes.”

A mere four years later, Mpho has established himself as one of South Africa’s most promising young comics, rubbing elbows with South African heavy-hitters like Trevor Noah and Marc Lottering, and booking as many club gigs as his schedule can accommodate. Mpho has also made frequent appearances in movies and television (including a nomination in the “Best Newcomer” category at the First Annual Comics’ Choice Awards).

Just as he once used his charm to win over potential bullies in school, Mpho has a remarkable ability to endear himself instantly to audiences with his warm demeanor and quick wit. He now has more than two good jokes.

Q&A with Mpho

What was your worst-ever heckle?

My worst heckle came from a drunk guy who shouted “bring back the host” before I had even started my first gag. I proceeded to make fun of him until someone shouted “Hey leave him alone, he’s blind!” That made things awkward!

What’s your least-favorite comedy cliché?

Hey you’re a comedian please can you tell us a joke.

What was the first good response you got to your comedy?

My first good response I got from an audience was when I MC’d a friends funeral. I made a note of the hairstyle he had chosen and how it made him look like Mr T but with no muscles. Squlo was a very thin guy. The entire hall went from sobbing to laughter and I’ll never forget that day. My friend was always full of laughs so it was good to let him go out with a laugh and have people remember him for that instead of being a dark and gloomy funeral.

Learn more about Mpho by visiting twitter.com/MphoPopps

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