Past to presentJuly 19, 2022
Social justice chairAugust 22, 2022
Laughing with Kev
When Comedian Kevin Fraser first uploaded his online videos – mostly zany spoofs of various characters tugging gently at the pained world of the average South African – his popularity exploded. Now he is travelling the world with his stand-up comedy.
WORDS: LAURA JONES IMAGES: Cream Kulture
A Durbanite who, enviably, rattles off Zulu as if it’s his first language, Kevin Fraser can out-dance the best pantsulas. His ‘Africanised’ comedy style is borne from a loving relationship with the woman who helped raise him – Anna, his childhood babysitter. From his ridiculous characters who ‘work the tills’ at SA supermarkets, his astute observations of everyday South Africans should make you laugh. At yourself. Kevin brings all races together with his brand of humour. With nearly half a million online subscribers and the ability to get bums in theatre seats, he has taken SA ‘culturalisms’ and made them go global. Currently on tour in Australia and on his way around Canada next, you can catch Kevin on stage in South Africa from November to December this year in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban, Cape Town and Port Elizabeth.
Did you always want to be a comedian?
No. I wanted to be a superstar DJ, and then I started getting on the microphone more and more at my gigs. But it turns out people don’t want to hear a joke in the middle of a rave. Which is understandable. It was only through my video diaries from overseas that I saw people assuming I was a comedian, and then the idea sparked.
Your observational sense of South African ‘culturalisms’ and habits comes across strong on camera. How does filming and editing work?
Filming can be frustrating at times, as there is so much to get right, so I guess by the time I’ve balanced my camera on an empty tub of margarine and some encyclopedias, I’m ready to get all up in the lense… As for the editing, well, once you find your style, you just let your fingers do the walking through the yellow pages.
You travel a lot … do you have a crew that goes with you, and where are you at the moment?
I am so grateful to be back in the air again! At present I am in Sydney, in the middle of an Australian tour before I head to Canada. As for my crew, I have developed a strong team behind me who support my tours and ensure that I have everything in place. I am extremely involved with every aspect of my schedule and thoroughly enjoy working with everyone.
Are you a mimic and a joker in real life or more serious?
A bit of both, really. It’s how we get through life, just observing and having a laugh at the little things. However, I am a lot more introverted than people may think. I like my quiet time, peace, solitude, and to be with my own thoughts and water my fern.
Let’s talk about your linguistic ability. How many languages do you speak? And how has your knowledge of African lingo helped you in SA?
I speak English, understand Afrikaans, and a bit of [isi]Zulu. Being raised in Durban helped me to dive into [isi]Zulu with my school friends and family and to try and learn key phrases and greetings. I find Zulu such a beautiful and expressive language and although I can’t understand everything, I do try, and have learned the accents, pronunciations and find reading [isi]Zulu fairly easy.
Your babysitter must have been an awesome person! She’s had a strong influence on your life. How many years were you together during childhood and what was your relationship like?
Since I was two months old. Through many circumstances growing up, we found a common connection. It was a motherly love. We danced together, we spoke about issues. We laughed. We cried. United by differences. She taugh me a lot that I will hold close to me forever. And I think that love speaks through my comedy, because we too laughed our way through the pains we had.
Comedy can be a great healer … . Do South Africans take themselves too seriously?
I think we can take ourselves too seriously at times. Not only because we deal with so much, but because of our diversity, it takes just one small hilarious moment to offload all of that. The world is a much, much bigger place, and once you step outside the walls of Mzansi, you realise that there is a lot more that matters, too. But you also learn just what makes the motherland so special is her diversity. We have the tenacity, work ethic and a sense of humour like no other!
How do you come up with material?
My country basically prints it for me… Ha! I think it helps to keep an eye on what is happening but usually I am inspired by what I observe and think in my head. Creativity is a strange thing. Sometimes I may be at it with a pen and paper at 3am all of a sudden. But one good place for me personally is when I’m flying and I can’t speak to anyone but myself.
Who makes you laugh?
My family. As well as some special friends who just have the same level of sarcasm and wit, and we can seriously have it when we have the chance to banter and laugh.
Most memorable moment in your career so far?
Standing on stage in London and realising that this was going somewhere I could only have dreamed of.
You have many talents! We know boxing is one of them, and you look super-fit. How did this come about and do you compete professionally?
I was asked to partake in Boxop, in a celebrity fight. It’s not my thing, boxing. Yet conquering fears of the unknown is. I felt liberated in conquering skydiving over my fear of heights. Challenging myself in the ring was gruelling, unsettling and a massive challenge for me. Having done it, I feel like I can do a lot more and face a lot more in my life. I also miss it and think it’s a form of training I’d love to keep up where I can… I still find myself shadow boxing everywhere I go.
Have you ever been the best man at a wedding, and what was it like?
No, I’ve only ever been the worst man at a wedding.
Who is the best audience?
South African crowds are just electric. Truly.
Have you ever died on stage?
I nearly died in 2012. I was DJing on stage before a Pete Tong NYE Concert and I sprayed some champagne on the crowd. As you do. One of the techies let off the flame throwers before I had jumped off the stage to shake the champagne, and well, let’s just say I nearly lost some very important things that day!
Catch Kevin’s SA tour, coming this November 2022.
For more info visit www.kevinfraserofficial.com