Tsitsi Chiumya credits "cut-throat" funny side to his family

‘I just want to bring an honest perspective with a little bit of humour’

Masego Seemela Online journalist
Multi-award-winning comedian and TV writer Tsitsi Chiumya.
Multi-award-winning comedian and TV writer Tsitsi Chiumya.
Image: Supplied.

Funnyman Tsitsi Chiumya carries with pride his reputation as the unhinged comedian who doesn’t mince his words on sensitive matters. 

Chiumya’s comic timing – masterfully done – is rooted in his upbringing, citing his family’s frankness and honesty as what shaped his funny side.

Growing up in Lebowakgomo, Limpopo, he had a unique outlook on life, his surroundings and human beings. He was often an outcast and often labelled a weirdo by both his peers and family.

“To be honest, I never used to worry about the jokes I make, but of late I realised that people’s sensitivity levels are a little bit different,” he said.

“My intentions are not to harm anyone, I just want to bring an honest perspective with a little bit of humour. I mean comedy allows us to exist in a world where we can address issues without people feeling offended. I am also a professional, I know which lines not to cross and would offer an apology where I feel is warranted. 

“Comedy is about pushing boundaries and opinions make my jokes.”

The 30-year-old TV writer as a child usually caved in and kept to himself, especially when he was bullied.

The Popcorn and Cheese co-host later moved to Johannesburg where his imagination was allowed to run wild.

Image: Supplied.

“I performed my very first comedy show at church… of all places. I remember how people laughed at the viewpoints I had about Jesus and the events that happened. Everyone was laughing out of their seats hilariously and I had an out-of-body experience when I realised that I could actually be funny,” he said. 

“I’ve been a weird kid all my life and when I saw how people reacted, I knew something was there and I needed it to pursue it.” 

Chiumya has performed alongside industry titans and has been featured in Trevor Noah Presents NationWild. He has also appeared on The Arts Hour on BBC World Service with Nikki Bedi. 

He is also well travelled having performed stand-up around the world, including shows in Belgium, Germany, Zambia, USA, and across southeast Asia, where he discovered his favourite country Singapore.

Image: Supplied.

“My uncle was the one who told me to look into the arts because I was very expressive and if I were to explore more, I’d find myself which I did,” he said.

“For the longest time, I was afraid to share my opinions but when I hit rock bottom during Covid, I knew I had to let go of my fear. I started being honest with myself and what I said, which I realised people liked about me.”  

The award-winning comedian is set to host his upcoming comedy special Tsitsi Chiumya Live at Lyric Theatre in Johannesburg – one of the goals he set for himself five years ago. 

“I’ll be hosting an hour-long stand-up of the hilarious relatable observations about the process of exploring the misguided zeal of life that comes with growing up. I can’t wait to make people laugh unapologetically, even about topics they find cringe,” he said.

Image: Supplied.

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