Thirty-six-year-old comedian Mpho Popps has risen to renowned status since being in the comedy field for over 10 years. He shares his journey and his success tips
Give us a glimpse into your childhood. What attracted you to comedy?
I grew up in a funny family, everyone is funny, so whenever I’d get to a place that lacked laughter, I’d put the onus on myself to fill in the gap.
Share with us some of the highlights that you cherish in your career as a comedian
Winning my comedy awards and performing in Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Swaziland.
To aspiring comedians, what, from your experience, are some of your tips on how to persist through challenges in this industry?
That’s easy, just be funny! That’s at it, there’s no magical formula or five-step programme. Just be funny, all the time, everywhere you go. Eventually, the right people will notice and your life will change, but even when it does, remember to always stay funny.
What is the best career advice you have received?
I was once told by one of my comedy mentors “you are funny, not your jokes, you” it’s stuck with me since and it’s helped me realise that I don’t need to depend on my material.
Share what success means to you, and do you feel you have reached it?
Success to me as a young black man means having the ability to take care of and provide for my family. I have reached that and nothing brings me more joy.
What goals would you like to achieve at least five years from now?
There are too many to mention, I’d like to open a comedy club, attain more property, open a comedy academy, write a book, make 10 more movies, have more kids, get another dog to keep my current one company (he gets very lonely) I could just keep going on and on…
Comedy has helped you through depression. What is your advice to young people who go through it as well?
My comedy has been a great coping mechanism, but the best thing I could’ve ever done for myself was to begin therapy. We look after our physical appearance daily; we look after our health daily, so why can’t we look after our mental and emotional well-being the same way? My advice is to go and see somebody, learn about emotional intelligence. It really helps.
Lastly, what are your success tips for young people?
Stop expecting things to be handed to you. Go out there and get them yourself. Keep your head down, work and be patient. Surround yourself with the right friends. Your network does really determine your networth. Don’t have kids at an early age, unless you can truly afford to; otherwise, it’s unfair to both you and the child.
Be unapologetically entrepreneurial, find gaps in markets, invent things, sell things, fight as hard as you can to become your own boss. Unemployment is at an ultimate high and it’s not gonna get better anytime soon, so the sooner you learn to make your own money, the better.
Connect with Mpho on:
Image source: Instagram
The feature was first published in 2019.