Laugh all night with comic Tumi

The first lady of South African comedy, Tumi Morake, will be in Port Elizabeth next week as part of her South African tour with her Tumi or Not Tumi show.

Taking her comedy to the people, Morake is embarking on her first official South African tour and entertaining audiences across the country, including in the windy city.

“There are people who have heard of Tumi Morake, there are people who have seen Tumi Morake, but there are many who don’t actually know Tumi Morake. They are finally going to meet her,” the popular stage personality said.

The mother of three is not only focused on comedy, but is a former host of hit wedding reality television show Our Perfect Wedding, a radio presenter on Cliff Central and this year became the brand ambassador for Jaguar Landrover Menlyn.

This is a journey she described in a recent magazine interview as something she had dreamt of since attending one of its launches last year.

“I have always dreamt of driving a Jaguar and when I attended their launch last year I had heart palpitations,” Morake said.

The show follows her journey as she tries to find herself in the schizophrenic world of motherhood, wifehood and South African-hood amid being the so-called Queen of Comedy.

Last year she made history by being the first woman to be crowned Comic of the Year at the fifth annual Savannah Comic’s Choice Awards, a testament to how far she has come in her career.

“I studied dramatic arts at Wits University between 2000 and 2003 before being kicked out due to financial reasons. After being introduced to the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown back in 2000, I kept being told I had fantastic comic timing and I started gaining confidence in that,” Morake said.

“I remember one day I walked up to David Kau and told him that one day I’m going to be doing what he’s doing.”

After 10 years in the industry, Morake said it was crazy that she had never done a South African tour.

“Well, the time has finally arrived. The comedy industry in this country has grown so much in terms of offerings and demand. South Africans seem to have an insatiable appetite for it and hopefully I can whet their tastebuds with this new show.”

A formidable force in the industry, Morake’s career highlights include being the first woman to host Comedy Central Presents on African soil and ticking off a bucket list item by taking her first one-woman show to the famed Edinburgh Festival in Scotland in 2013.

One of Morake’s more visual developments has been the weight-loss journey she has been on for the past three years.

On an Instagram post she uploaded last week, she said she was approaching her goal weight, referring to “a long haul of the past three years”.

“The previous years don’t count because I hadn’t yet made that all-important decision to commit,” she posted.
From tackling politics to making fun of herself and her own family life, Morake let Weekend Post in on what makes her tick:

What is Tumi or Not Tumi about and what can audiences expect?
Tumi or Not Tumi is me at my most raw and honest. It was a show born at a time when I was conflicted about my identity on TV and who I am on stage, and the show is me being the most Tumi I have ever been. Audiences can expect good laughs and thought-provoking stuff.

When you started out in comedy, did you have a plan of what steps to take to get exposure and take your career to the next level?
When I started out, comedy wasn’t something I took seriously. It took me about a year to work on getting representation and getting my name known on the circuit.

You bring everyone else joy with your hilarious jokes when you’re on stage. What makes Tumi Morake laugh?
I laugh so easily. Everything makes me laugh. I especially love cartoons.

What inspires your material?

Life, pain and prejudice.

As seen on social media, you’re currently on a weight-loss journey that you’ve documented for your followers to see. What inspired the decision to lose weight and how has the process benefited your life?

I was going through my photos from university and realised how much I missed being that agile. I also needed to get healthier after some medical challenges in the past couple of years.

How do you balance motherhood and your hectic work schedule that includes being away from home for days on end?

I sometimes feel guilty about being away from my kids and I even missed my daughter’s baptism, but I tell myself that once she gets into that private school one day she’ll thank me.

Tell us more about how you’re finding your experience on Red Cake?
Red Cake is a lot of fun. We play around with various celebrities and just enjoy our South African selves.

How long will your South African tour run?
We’ll run until June next year.

  • Raw and unapologetic, Morake’s show on Friday March 3 promises to be thought-provoking and to provide a glimpse of what life could be like if we put ourselves under the spotlight a little.
    The show is rated PG16. Tickets cost R150 per person and are available at Computicket or from the venue box office.
    The show starts at 8pm at the Boardwalk Amphitheatre.

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