Chaponda: I derive my jokes from life

Daliso Chaponda

What you need to know:

  • Jokes aside: He was a finalist in Britain’s Got Talent 2017 after getting a golden buzzer from Judge Amanda Holden and now the Zambian stand-up comedian, Daliso Chaponda, will headline a show for the first time in Uganda organised by comedian Patrick ‘Salvado’Idringi

Someone in Uganda would like to understand how you became a Zambian-born Malawian living in England.
When I was born, my parents were refugees from Malawi living in Zambia. Hastings Kamuzu Banda our old president who served from 1964 to 1994 had beef with my father so he run away to exile before he could get locked up.

Where did you run to?
We moved to Canada and this is actually where I decided to take on comedy as a career. In Canada, my career did not work out because they kicked me out earlier than expected because of Visa issues. Comedy had already ‘refused’ in Malawi because we did not have money and the President wasn’t on good terms with my father. It was in England when God answered my prayers and that is where I built a comedy career that still stands strong until now.

You are coming to Uganda for the second time but this time headlining a show; tell us about this experience.
Well, I have always wanted to come to Uganda for a comedy show and the first time the opportunity came, I did not come through because of the pandemic. The second time is here and I believe this time it is real and it is happening.

Whose idea was it and for how long had you wanted to headline a show in Uganda?
Let us be honest. I should have headlined the first time but it did not happen although I was 100 percent ready because my jokes are always fire. The idea of coming to Uganda has always been mine and this time round, I am coming for my Comedy Tour named ‘Wakanda Laughter’. I had wanted to do it in Uganda first but it did not happen; it took a while and finally, here we are, and the show is on.

When it comes to Uganda’s comedy industry, how would you describe it to your Zambia- Malawi- England people?
Uganda has got some amazingly talented comedians such as Patrick Salvado and Ann Kansiime, but they do not have enough shows yet. The comedy industry is growing and the potential is there, so I look forward to seeing the scene grow bigger and better. I hope my show at Labonita tonight can help show how international voices and local voices mesh well.

You seem to have a good connection with our comedian Patrick Salvado, where does it start and why is it stronger than the connection with other comedians in Uganda?
Salvado is my nemesis. I was Dr. Sore Eyes in Cartoon Network’s  Garbage Boy and Trashcan and he was Garbage Boy. We fought! 
He is my nemesis. For years I would almost get a show and he would get it, or he would almost get a show and I get it. Top 10 comedians in Africa; one year he would be voted above me, the next year I would get the spot above him.
Jokes aside, we are comedy kindred spirits. He is not just one of the best comedians in Africa, he is one of the best comedians in the world, so performing with him has always been a pleasure.
Britain’s Got Talent finalist 2017. The statement seems to be so important to you that when they mention Daliso Chaponda, it has to tag along.
Coming third in Britain’s Got Talent took me from slight success to being globally known. It led me to doing lots of television shows, performing infront of King Charles in the United Kingdom, meeting the Malawian president, having a radio show on the BBC, and… okay it sounds like I am bragging now, Ugandan gold diggers take note… Hahaha

The last time you were in Uganda you were part of during Salvado’s Africa Laughs; what did you take home for the Ugandan comedy stage?
I am very different from a lot of the acts he booked for Africa Laughs. I do not dance on stage. I do not dress like a rapper. I am more likely to talk about politics and education than sex. I am more the kind of comedian that Trevor Noah is than Kevin Hart. I was not sure that my kind of comedy would work in Uganda, and what I took back from the 2014 show actually is that the Ugandan audience loves the variety of comedy voices.

What special package do you have for the Ugandan stage that we should brace ourselves for?
My jokes are so crazy that Will Smith would slap me.

Besides Uganda, have you planned shows in any other countries?
I am always on tour. This year I have done Belgium, England, Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya, Germany, and many others.  

Where do you derive your jokes?
Life. Stupidity. Hypocrisy.  
To me, everything is funny.

Some comedians have agreed to have lost their craft on stage, once or twice. Have you in your career ever ‘died’ on stage?
Early on, I used to die on stage. But everybody struggles with their job when they start. Dying is normal and it happens in the early stages but once someone masters the art of their job, everything moves on smoothly.

Uganda has comedy clubs that are helping to grow young talent, do you think there is need for more than just a comedy club?
Social media is also a huge opportunity. Young comedians are luckier now with platforms such as TikTok. 
When I started, if you went viral you had to go see the doctor. There was no means of getting viral so it was hard work and having many shows for people to personally see you.

In Uganda, comedy and music share a stage. Is it the same in Zambia, Malawi, and England?
I do not really understand this question so I will just reiterate. Come to the show. It is going to be crazy.