Kulani Nkuna
3 minute read
19 Nov 2013
6:00 am

Reality TV rite of passage

Kulani Nkuna

Reality television actually has its uses beyond the empty and banal experience of viewing it.

MO LOVE. Tol A$$ Mo and Mome's popularity has skyrocketed due to the success of their reality show.

Mo Love, a reality show featuring Tol A$$ Mo (Mongezi Ngcobondwana) and his wife, Mome, has helped the comedian raise his profile beyond the comedy stage.

The show has run for two seasons now and Ngcobondwana is confident that the exposure he got from them has pushed up the demand for him to do his first one-man show.

“People have been loving the two seasons of Mo Love, and the demand for me to do this show has been very high.

“Another element to this story is that I was waiting for Kagiso

Lediga to do his show first because, as my mentor, I cannot do a show before him.

“It took him 12 years to do his first one-man show and I had to learn from him. I have been doing comedy professionally for some years now, and it feels right to be finally embarking on this project.”

Ngcobondwana is a natural on stage and his material has improved a lot over the years. He is also a fashion-conscious individual who likes Eighties and Nineties styles. Fashion, like comedy, is part of who he is and feeds into his other creative endeavours in the advertising industry.

What about that stage name, though?

“Tol A$$ Mo stands for Totally Outrageous Laughter Avant Garde Street Style,” Ngcobondwana says.

“Then ‘Mo’ is short for my first name, Mongezi. As a creative you can’t just have a simple name, you must have a niche. You must also always remember to make the S’s into dollar signs, which means ‘pay a brother’.

“Being avant garde can be a very expensive niche thing to be, though the style part of the equation is very obvious for everyone to see.”

Ngcobondwana has a humble township upbringing mixed with a Model C education, contradictions that have made him a very interesting comic.

His material comprises mainly stories of his childhood, encapsulating the absurdities of living in modern-day South Africa.

He has made a huge impact on the local comedy industry, holding his own among some of the country’s best in an ever-lengthening list of performances and appearances.

A comedian’s first one-man show is a pivotal point as on some level it really tests how popular his act is. It remains to be seen how many people will turn out on the two nights of Ngcobondwana’s first one-man show, but for him it will be like a rite of passage.

“Its like going to the mountain to learn to become a man,” he says.

“This is like circumcision. It’s hard and you come back with a painful penis, but after some time you are well and ready to make love again.

“There are a bit of nerves going into the show, but I must man up and stand for my comedy. I’m doing this for my unborn child and my wife so it has to go well.”

These days. Ngcobondwana attracts diverse audiences, which is a change from the audience he had when he started. His one-man show at Emperors Palace will be interesting in terms of the crowd likely to arrive.

“I have fans from many different people and backgrounds in this country,” Ngcobondwana says.

“Black, Indian, coloured and white people love my material. In fact, I am sitting with a Caucasian [audience] right now.

“So people must be prepared to be thrilled because I will be doing material from over the years, mixed with some new stuff for the fans who have followed my career thus far.

“It will be my life story told in an intimate setting. The rest I can’t predict, because I can’t tell the same story in the same way twice.

“I don’t script anything so things are always a little different even if I am telling the same story.

“The show has a 16 age restriction, which means that there will be some adult material because I’m an adult myself.”