Five minutes with comedian Mpho Popps

28 May 2019 - 15:22
By Tswelopele Maputla

It ’s been a decade since Mpho ‘Popps’ Modikoane’s first television appearance as a contestant on So you Think you’re Funny! Since then he’s proved that he really is funny with his acclaimed acts that have graced the stages of both local and international comedy festivals, including The Laugh Factory in Los Angeles.

Popps has begun a nationwide tour, Black in my Day, which he has described as a combination of experiences that have shaped his life. The award-winning comedian attributes his success on the comedy scene to being himself. “My belief is that my talent and skill are not a show I put on, but an embodiment of my true self,” he says. In the lead-up to his national tour, Popps spoke to us about the first thing he does in the morning, what superpower he would love to have and the lamest joke he’s ever told.

What is the first thing you do in the morning?

I listen to TD Jakes.

And your favourite childhood memory?

I choked on something while I was bathing and I ran to the lounge to seek help. My mom hit my back two or three times and I was saved. Problem was there were guests in the lounge and there I was fully naked.

You're on death row, what’s your last meal?

My sister’s lamb stew.

How do you calm your nerves before a show?

I pray every time before I goon stage, whether I’m alone or with my team, and I pace alot.

You're a contestant on Fear Factor, who's your partner and why?

My best friend of 25 years Jean-Paul Watson. The man fears nothing.

If you had a superpower, what would it be?

To be invisible or invincible. I get confused between those two, yeah one of those.

Describe Black in my Day in a sentence.

The stories that shaped Mpho Popps’s humour.

What is the best thing about fatherhood?

Everything about it, I can’t choose one thing. It’s honestly the best thing I’ve ever done.

Tell us one thing people don’t know about you?

I have no sense of smell.

Gqom, amapiano or kwaito?

All three but in this order, kwaito, amapiano then gqom. If I had to choose one it’ll obviously be kwaito ’cause let ’s face it, the other two wouldn’t exist without it.

What ’s the lamest joke you've ever told?

How do you know when a coloured person has won the lotto? When you see a Ferrari with an eagle rim on.

Anything embarrassing ever happen to you on stage?

I was headlining Blacks Only a few years back and my set was meant to end with a song that the DJ had queued, I did the build-up of the gag and when it was time for the song to play, there was dead silence. David Kibuuka came behind me and said ‘the laptop is dead, move on’.

Which question do you hate being asked?

“Tell us a joke.”

If you had a political party,what would it be called?

The Economical Exfoliation Leadership Through Humour National All Inclusive Party, or the EELTHNAI party for short.

Has it ever been awkward bumping into a celebrity you've made fun of?

It always is, some people are okay because they understand that it’s just jokes, but there are those few who take it personally.

Is mayonnaise and baked beans a salad?

Yes it is, don’t let these born frees and millennials tell you otherwise. 

What's your favourite hangout spot in the world?

My mom’s house.

Tour details: 

1 June - Rio Casino, Klerksdorp 

7 June - Opera House, Port Elizabeth 

28 June - Civic Theatre, Witbank 

29 June - Communio Church, Nelspruit

6 July - Etienne Rousseau Theatre (ERT), Vaal 

26 July – Fire & Ice, Cape Town 

27 July - Fire & Ice, Cape Town

24 August - The Lyric Theatre, Johannesburg

Tickets are available at Computicket.