Q, real name Nqobizitha Dube, says the going was very tough at the beginning and explains that he got into comedy because of his family members “just telling me you talk nonsense, can you take it outside of here”.
His early years were driven mainly by passion for his craft as rewards were hard to come by. “It’s been a struggle. Only in the middle of last year did we begin to see proper crowds coming out. I think they now trust the brand that is comedy in Zimbabwe so they are coming out more,” he says.
And he seems to be revelling in comedy’s popularity. “For the first three and a half years or so we would do shows for literally 10 people for a venue this big so we have come a long way,” he said after headlining the Harare Carnival comedy night at the Book Café.
“I am getting to a point now where it is something that I am earning a living from.” Performing outside the country is also proving to be a boon for the local comedians. “I was with Carl Joshua Ncube and Michael K in South Africa touring and we got call backs,” Q said. He said that in South Africa comedians “command proper money for what they do”.
Locally comedians rely on corporate functions for significant income and Q said such bookings were on the rise. He likened club performances to training.
“The money is in doing corporate functions. In here it’s like the gym for a boxer. This is where we try out material. A corporate function is the title fight. Here if I am lucky I might leave with $45 or $50 but corporate functions are $1,000 to $1,500. It’s a different ball game,” he said.
Q’s comedy is hard hitting and at times sexually explicit to the discomfort of some audience members but he insists that it is necessary to break taboos if the country is to deal with issues such as the HIV/AIDS problem.
“It’s time people open their minds. We have very high AIDS rates but we are not allowed to talk about sex. I refuse to falter and play down to what people say is right,” he said. Q said as an artist he cherished his freedom to express his views.
“As an artist I have got freedom of speech. I am that guy who will say what you don’t want to hear but you are going to appreciate it once you have heard it,” he said. He staunchly defended his right to joke about anything.
“It’s stand-up comedy. If you leave your house and say you are going to watch stand-up comedy you have got to know what to expect. If it’s a corporate function my comedy would be tuned for a corporate audience. This is a club,” he said.
Even though he calls himself the boss and his stage persona exudes more than just a touch of arrogance, off the stage he is humble and down to earth and is quick to give credit to his fellow performers.
“I think Gift the Cracker tonight was his night. I think he should have closed the show,” he said after his carnival performance.
Q has big dreams for his future. “Within the next five years I would like to be where Trevor Noah is now. Within the next 10 years I would like to be in at least one Hollywood movie,” he said. He said he was inspired by Carl Joshua Ncube, Richard Pryor and Bernie Marc. “They taught us it’s not what you say but it’s how you say it”.
Q also hosts a comedy show on ZTVG every Wednesday called Ma1. “It’s about social commentary sugar coated in laughter so we address almost anything that is bizarre. We also deal with serious issues such as child abuse and we don’t laugh at those,” he said.
Outside of comedy he works for his father’s procurement business.Post published in: Arts