Schalk Bezuidenhout

IMG_2672

 

Schalk Bezuidenhout was born in the wonderful city of Johannesburg and while this sounds very contemporary, he grew up in a very Afrikaans, ‘bring-terug-Apartheid’ town right next to the airport.

In Kempton Park young Schalkie grew up in a very traditional way. He went to an Afrikaans pre-primary, primary, and high school. The traditional Afrikaans way of life was a good. Your mother’s breast milk would be brannewyn en coke, you would walk kaalvoet to school and you’d hide your lunch money when a black man walked past. But by the age of 10 life started to become more and more difficult for poor old Schalkie.

His family and friends stood back as they watched Schalk evolve from an Afrikaans conservative caterpillar into a beautiful drama-queen butterfly, a moustache and furry afro completing the metamorphosis. At first it was doing cartwheels on the rugby field, later more eccentric things like making friends with the neighbour’s daughter… who was black! It was thus obvious to Schalk’s parents that he would study drama, to help numb the pain they sent him away to study at the University of Cape Town.

While studying in Cape Town Schalk slowly began to realise that there was so much more to life than boerewors and rugby. He quickly became conscious of the fact that he could still be a proud Afrikaans boy whilst wearing skinny jeans. Schalk did not make it into the Theatre and Performance course at UCT and was forced to do a general BA with drama as a major. During this ‘gap year’ he had to get by on his wit and his dream, so he did what any person in his situation would do; he went into comedy.

Schalk is not afraid to say it like it is and talks about how he perceives things through his De la Rey spectacles. On stage he is fun and energetic and appeals to people of all kinds and colours (yes even black people, as a matter of fact, especially black people!).

Schalk has come a long way in the short amount of time that he has been doing comedy. He has been privileged to perform at some great venues alongside some even greater comedians. On his blog Kill or be Killed, Warren Robertson wrote the following:

“…I paid a lot of attention to Schalk’s set. As it turned out this was a good thing, but not because I got to find and kill that joke thief. Schalk’s material is very assuredly presented with some good original ideas and brave tricks included in the set. For instance his opening joke is in a hurried Afrikaans, possibly with the intention that it be misunderstood and die on a Cape Town stage. This gives him a chance to establish a “fish-out-of-water” persona that must work nicely in the predominantly English venues he works down there. It’s a very brave way to do it. Unfortunately up at Emperor’s this was not the case. When he came to the reveal bit and stammered to the crowd that “you’re English aren’t you?” a lot of them disagreed. Due to the nature of the gig the silences always seemed deafening. There just wasn’t anyone in, and so Schalk will possibly feel he did worse than he wanted, but he shouldn’t. There is a lot of promise in his stuff.”

 

Recent performance highlights:

Made it to the finals of the Graca Comedy Showdown in Johannesburg 2011.

Performed at “Wildcard Weekend” at UCT’s Hiddingh Campus.

3 performances at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown at the Monastery with “Wildcard Comedy.”

Performed on the Live @ 5 on 5fm.

Performed in Johannesburg at the Comedy Underground @ Cool Runnings Melville, Parker’s Comedy Club @ Monte Casino, Carnival City and Emperor’s Palace, Wish in Melville, Tings ‘n Times in Pretoria, and Bubba J’s in Boksburg.

Performed in the New Year’s Eve show at Parker’s Comedy Club @ Monte Casino with Joe Parker, Al Prodgers and Darren Maule.

Performed in “Gemengde Vrugte: Afrikaans stand-up komedie” at The Stage in Belville, Ou Meul Teater in Paarl, Die Skuur Teater in Hermanus.

Performed at many venues in Cape Town:  Zula Bar, Purple Turtle, Ragazzi Aperitivo, Armchair Theatre, Chilli Bar, Pakololo, Bunker Bar to name a few.

Support Act at Jou Ma Se Comedy Club.

Performed on Live @ Parker’s on Comedy Central with Barry Hilton.

Winner of the Cape Town Graca Comedy Showdown 2012.

Performed at the CT Nandos Comedy Festival @ The Artscape Opera House.

Corporate events such as formals of UCT residences and a UNICEF charity event.