I can count on my fingers the truly hungry, edge seeking individuals that meaningfully litter the messy horizon of Cape Town’s tiny comedy scene. One of these critters, a new addition, is the ever charming, and rather nerdy, Nelson De Gouveia. A talent that can’t go unnoticed.
I interviewed him to see what’s going in his head. The most interesting and challenging question is always the same; what do you love about comedy? He was quick to mention how comedy, when done right, extends a shit ton of acceptance. This kind of honesty makes my dick move, admitting to loving attention and needing acceptance is a cornerstone of the human condition. Acknowledging that makes for an infinitely less amount of bullshit, in art and life, there’s no point in being wanky.
He mentioned how comedy is both the easiest and hardest thing he’s ever done, easy in that it’s really just about standing on stage and talking, but difficult because it needs an intensely cultivated vehicle. Being able to deliver the stuff, especially the high energy shit he scatters into the crowd, is a tricksy affair that needs constant obsession.
I asked him about the difference between a good and a mediocre comedian and he excreted the same knee jerk noise most rising comics plop onto the table. After sifting through the mandatory modesty he delivered a beautifully simple maxim “good comics work harder”. Simple enough to make sense of and it’s the same answer Chris Rock gave when asked what was behind his success. It’s not about getting fucked up and being a constant menace, sobriety and dogged devotion are regular necessities.
I always want to know what comedians are really like, I think it has to do with judging their authenticity on stage, far easier to pull off when equipped with knowledge of their true selves. He admitted to always being the awkward guy, something he hides well, but not being that accessible socially. My best guess is that he might have just grown into his nose. He also loves Star Trek.
We drank coffee and the conversation drifted into how accepting comedy is of the underdog. Perfection isn’t welcome, a very Euro centric approach, as I’ve seen many a ‘Captain Pants’ act try a little dick swinging. Americans. But it’s something he admires about comedy culture.
He’s also into live production, being one of the main chinas behind Armchair Sundays aesthetic and technical revamp, including the newest addition; a weekly podcast. On whether he preferred the production angle to performing he admitted to loving both. “They both have their own rewards, the one is about creating the context and other is filling it.” Co-dependant and essential.
In his short time on the SA circuit, based in London for last ten years, he’s already hit Rocking the Daisies and is on his way to Synergy this very weekend.
Check out his blog, follow him on twitter and listen to some of his comedy. Nelson De Gouveia, an exciting addition to the Cape Town scene.
You can find him at Armchair Sundays every week.
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