Lasizwe has the last laugh as the host of ‘Comedy Central Mini Roast’
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When my Zoom interview with Lasizwe (real name Thulasizwe Siphiwe Dambuza) was delayed, I rolled my eyes in frustration.
It was a busy day, with several deadlines on the go, and patience was a virtue I had no qualms about forsaking.
And when I eventually got a message from the PR saying he was ready, I thought, “Okay, let’s just get this over with”.
Annoyed I was, but not for long.
Lasizwe’s sweet personality proved most disarming and I ended up in stitches throughout the 10-minute chat.
First, let’s dial it back to his humble beginnings.
This 20-something clambered his way to fame with skits depicting the truly South African way of life. And he had the nation in stitches.
Even if you found those parodies bog-standard, you still watched out of curiosity.
It wasn’t long before he amassed a huge following on social media and, as such, caught the attention of ViacomCBS Networks Africa that had adapted its content strategy to give artists a bigger platform.
It was a win-win situation, without a doubt.
Ever since, he hasn’t looked back, doing MTV Base Africa’s “You Got Got” and his own MTV reality show “Lasizwe: Fake it Till You Make It”.
He also made his acting cameo on Generations and hosted a few industry red carpet events.
That’s not forgetting the TV commercial credits he has under his belt.
Once again, I need to point out his achievements belie his age or the fact that he is Khanyi Mbau’s half-brother.
Of course, fame comes with its pitfalls as you end up living under a microscope where everything you say or do elicits a response. Sometimes it’s favourable and, at other times, mean.
These days, he seems to take the trolling in his stride. He is also more comfortable in the space he is in, which is why when we spoke about “Comedy Central Mini Roast with Lasizwe”, he was able to laugh off his headline-grabbing stories on getting roasted in real-life.
In fact, that certainly helped him when it came to the show’s script.
The four-part series debuts on the channel (DStv 122) on Monday, November 8, and Lasizwe unpacks issues around cancel culture, the Gen Z vs Millennial divide and more.
He shared: “You know what, when I actually got the script I was like, ‘Oh my gosh’. One thing I was finicky about was the cancel culture script because, you know me, I’m quite controversial. I was just like this is actually going to be quite interesting. And with Covid and stuff, the roast had to be a mini roast. Now I’ve invited the public to participate.
“It (the show) was scripted for me. I was like how do we make it Lasizwe’s language, how do we make it interesting and how do we make it conversational because I’m a very simple guy. I don’t like this difficult English that you guys speak. None of these proverbs and nouns.”
Lasizwe added: “I channelled your Bonang Matheba. I channelled a lot of myself, a lot of characters I have channelled before on my skits.”
Speaking of skits, he no longer does them.
He explained: “I’m kind of retired from making skits. I’m focused on greener pastures. I’ve had to dig deep and go back to my roots.
“Even with ”Drink or Tell the Truth“, it was something I’ve never done before, you know, speaking directly to the camera and presenting.
“You need to be able to ask questions and you need to make people comfortable in your interview. It’s not just about the guest, it's about the viewer watching and every single thing going on around you.”
Asked if he is prepared to be grilled on the comedy show, he admitted: “I’ve grown such thick skin.
“Even one time, these people were playing with me on social media because I do such good things with such good intentions and then you want to change it into your own narrative.
“Darling, I’ve been roasted before like the 2 million thing, I’m so ready.”
As for his wardrobe, he revealed: “As I said, I’m wearing some of my characters on my skits. I’m giving you high glam.
“I’m giving you no hair. I’m just giving you different variations of myself.”
When asked if we can expect a fourth season of “Lasizwe: Fake it Till You Make It”, he chuckled: “When I’m in a relationship, then you will see it. For now, men don’t deserve anything.
“They say, after God, fear men. You must just pray that I’m in a relationship that is stable and it’s not someone else’s boyfriend and anything like that. Then you will get season four.”
Currently based in Jozi, it looks like Lasizwe is not only planting deep roots, he is latching on to opportunities where he can grow as an entertainer.
And if that means dropping skits in favour of a talk show, so be it. But he’s only just begun his journey onto bigger and greater things.