The comedy scene in Zimbabwe stretches from as way back as art gallery performances, street theatres and local dramas on television. It was very dominant in Harare than any other city in Zimbabwe, only spreading evenly to other cities in recent years. Bulawayo was blessed with a new market entry in recent years and he has made sure to crack ribs in any socio-political narrative he tackles, leaving traces of lessons everywhere he performs. With a fusion of clean, witty, intellectual comedy and content leaned more on observational and commentary, If we ever need to export the new crop of funny into the world as a country, this man is first on our list. Ladies and gentleman, Maforty!
Did you ever think you were funny but you just weren’t there yet but had no idea? How did it all start?
Did I ever think I was funny? Yes. Did I want to be a stand-up comedian? NO, did I even imagine it? NO. Some colleagues and myself wanted to promote comedy through a company we would call LOL Entertainment. We want to bring in family oriented comedy shows then one day a friend came to me and said , “we might not be able to pull this off, I was at a comedy show and there is no way I am investing my money in that type of comedy, we need to rethink what we want to invest in”. So we had to rethink everything and this all coincidental happened when T1nda had been pushing me to do stand-up comedy for almost two years.
So, and I quote Thanos at the end of Avengers Age of Ultron when he said “Fine I will do it myself” and here I am.
That’s actually a good quality of a creative, not just following what’s already there but also creating new ways of doing things. Now do say, what is your most vivid childhood memory, as far as comedy goes?
My first stand-up comedy experience was through watching def jam comedy, Aries Spears, Martín Lawrence, the great Benny Mark, Dave Chappelle to mention but a few, it never occurred to me that one day I would try it.
Big names to draw inspiration from, but then again we can only learn from the best. I watched most of your stand-up comedy specials online, attended a couple of your shows too and I noticed most are political/economic inspired satire and a bit of personal experiences. Would you say you want your act to be more political or is it simple because our political space is a gift that keeps on giving? Or do you equally love doing both – the personal and the political/ economic themed comedy?
Comedy like any other form of art is a way of pushing through a message out there, more like social commentary. In my comedy I try to put across a story that’s relatable and my content does that be it political, economic, social or personal, the audience can relate and enjoy. In my comedy I also try to attack real issues in a more comical way, and it gets people thinking beyond it just being a joke.
You hail from Bulawayo, a city budding with creativity but not quite breaking the stereotypes about the city and creativity. What do you think is the biggest misconception about Bulawayo and its creatives?
I don’t think there are any misconceptions at all, but some creative within Bulawayo feel entitled and thus become lazy in striving to rich the top and also just simple complacency, you see yourself on the newspaper and you think you have made it and you stop putting in the hard work you were putting when you started. Arts Business is a 24hr job you never stop, new artist are coming up every day and if you fail to keep up and maintain your relevance, you disappear.
Now let’s talk more about content, do you write your own routines?
Yes I write for myself and most recently I engaged a content creator and editor to help me out and its doing wonders for me. My material comes from just observing people’s lives and also my personal experiences, not forgetting the political and economic surroundings.
Sometimes I would be sitting then a joke comes to mind or I can be walking and bam, the joke pops up.
Ok that part seems sorted because usually you are alone with no pressure. Next stop you’re on stage, what happens if they (people) don’t laugh?
You continue, they will laugh at some point. You have to know the audience you performing for at hand that way you bring out content they can relate to. I always make sure I do enough research for this, it’s very important in comedy.
What qualities do other comedians have that you admire?
I admire Q Dube’s way of storytelling, the way it has evolved over the years is amazing.
As far as comedy goes, what’s the greatest fear you’ve had to overcome to get where you are today?
Bulawayo audience. This is a very demanding and complicated crowd and getting them to like my style of comedy is what got me to where I am today.
Best bit ever written?
My 2017 material, that was some heavy content. It’s because of that material I won top comic at Shoko Festival, it’s because of that content I got two nominations at the Roil Bulawayo Arts Awards 2018 and also I got a standing ovation at Intwasa Arts extra, 2017 was THE YEAR!
What is your favorite event in history?
It would be 1999 Champions League Final between Manchester United and Bayern Munich.
Interesting, why that Final?
You never stop pushing yourself to greater heights, all you need is to believe that you can and the United team showed that and they even did a song called It’s all about belief.
What is your favorite place to hang out in City of Kings?
I used to like the Museum but now I don’t have a place to hang out, kindly suggest any if you know please.
Top 5 favourite comics?
From experience, what’s society’s perspective of your profession?
Wasting Time and you can’t make a living out of it. Lost girlfriends because of doing comedy lol.
Oh wow, what a cruel cruel world haha. Ok, my next question would be where do you see yourself in the competition?
Which competition, what competition?
I see how you have made it this far haha. In conclusion, what are the next steps for you in your career development plan?
Regional performances and International performances are the future plans. I am involved in a YouTube show called 308, will see how that goes and we have some avenues opening up which I can’t say at the moment, but keep your ears and eyes glued on brand MaForty!