Daliso Chaponda brings live comedy back to Worthing
Finalist of Britain’s Got Talent and star of BBC Radio 4’s Citizen of Nowhere, Daliso Chaponda is determined to “find the funny” in the awful times we have all been through.
He brings his new show Apocalypse Not Now to Worthing’s Pavilion Theatre on May 19 – a reflection on a year which, as he says, has been “surreal, bizarre and frustrating.”
“I have been performing mainly in my kitchen! I never thought I would become a kitchen performer… and then I also wrote a book. I know I can’t complain. A lot of people had it far worse than I did.
“At first I was just ‘OK, well, this is going on’ and I was one of those naïve people who were thinking that it would be maybe two or three months, and so I thought ‘Right, I am going to stream a show from my kitchen every day.’ And then a couple of months later, it was still all happening… and I ended up doing 200 episodes.
“I live alone. I was doing what I could to keep sane so it was good, but I realised I needed to be making some money. I was doing four or five hours preparation for it every day and I just thought I needed to turn it into something else and so I wrote the book. It is all about avoidance of going stir crazy.
“I know some people got tired of their families or much worse, but I was just me and my four walls. I started thinking ‘I hate myself!’ I would go out for my socially-distanced walks and talk to someone for maybe 30 minutes and then I was just back to me alone. I am extremely extroverted. I am extremely sociable.
“I am just glad that this happened in this age of technology. We were able to do Zooms and WhatsApp and ring lots of people. It was not the same but you have to try to imagine what it would have been like even back in the 80s.
“So I am cautiously optimistic about this reboot, about things opening up again. Cautiously. Last August we were opening up again and doing socially distanced shows and then it all stopped. And I know it is different now because we have got the vaccine, but I am not celebrating… not until we can have a full room of people shouting and drinking and being British!”
Daliso will come back to it all with a new appreciation: “I have always been an optimistic comedian. If I had a mission statement it is that I find the funny in the depressing, but I do think I will appreciate it all the more. I was talking to my father who was a refugee when he was a kid. He was saying to me that the world will catch up with what refugees have always known, that you can lose everything. He had a business and then had to run away from Malawi. You can build your life and then suddenly everything stops and you lose everything. I think we are all learning that now. I think his experiences give him a weird detached wisdom. He can never be materialistic because he knows what it is like to lose everything.”