I LOVE COMEDY FESTIVALS. They give you a chance to see and learn from a host of fellow comics from all over the world. This last festival in Cape Town I worked with Ahmed Ahmed (Egypt), Angelo Tsarouchas (Canada), Simon Clayton (England), Dean Edwards (America), Kagiso Lediga and Loyiso Gola (South Africa). How lucky can you get? Not only were they hugely talented, but also gracious. All the international comics took the trouble to see my set and complimented me on it. It was good to be part of “the family” and be shown respect for 46 years of hard labour. I wish them nothing less than all the success in the world.
Unfortunately, the same is not happening here in SA. An atmosphere of back-biting has started to pervade the industry. The tough economic times has led to comics slagging off other comics off just to get work.
For instance, there is a rumour being spred that I shouldn’t be booked because I’m either too old, too rough or racist. This could not further from the truth! I have entertained audiences from just about every political, cultural and religious sector - with success. The very fact that I have appeared in Soweto twice this year (and stormed), dispels the fact that I’m racist. I have also invested a big portion of my life in helping young comics to further their careers. I have never demanded respect from anyone, but I think I have earned it. The festival in Cape Town proved that I can still hold my own with the best - I may be “old school”, but I’m not old fashioned!
It hurts to know that some young comics of today are in the business only for money, show no respect for their fellow comics or their craft and slander others just for a buck - where has all the passion gone?
This being said, it’s still the best job in the world and I wouldn’t change it for anything.

Yours in comedy.

Mel Miller.