Skhumbuzo “Skhumba” Hlophe is legendary for his jokes.
So much so that he has picked up several accolades over the years à la the Favourite Comedian winner at the 2018 DStv Mzansi Viewers’ Choice Awards and two honours at the 7th annual Savanna Comics’ Choice Awards, where he won the Flying Solo Award as well as Savanna Comic of the Year honours.
Now he is charting new territory – doing a travel series called Trippin’ with Skhumba for Showmax.
The series follows him as he visits the home towns of his six guests: Mashabela Galane (Moletjie, Limpopo), Siya Seya (Motherwell township, Port Elizabeth), Schalk Bezuidenhout (Kempton Park, Gauteng), Celeste Ntuli (Empangeni, KwaZulu-Natal), Salesman (Pretoria) and Tumi Morake (Bloemfontein).
Being on the road, the cellphone signal wasn’t the greatest, but the third attempt to get hold of him proved successful.
He says: “Much better line (laughs). I’m still in Durban. We finished shooting yesterday.”
Murphy’s Law, the line breaks up. Thankfully, for only a minute or so.
Explaining the genesis of the seven-part show, he explains: “I gave them (Showmax) an idea of how I wanted to do a travel show where I visit my comedian friends, looking at where they come from. You know, we have big comedians in South Africa but we don’t even know their roots. I wanted to get more details on why they chose comedy.”
He adds: “I can tell you this, a majority of comedians are very sad. That’s the funny part (of life).”
I thought he was pulling my leg but he was serious.
“I wanted to find out more about their sadness by looking at where they come from. Hence the title of the show, Trippin’ with Skhumba,” he says.
The seventh episode is a live show, where all six comedians will release their arsenal of jokes.
So what are viewers likely to see when streaming this show?
“I’m going to give you two examples,” says Skhumba. “First of all, we have six comedians, six personalities. All of them are from different places, like Mashabela is from Polokwane. We went to see how he grew up. How he didn’t have friends growing up. Yet, right now this guy is filling up theatres around the country.
“Then I go to the Free State to visit Tumi Morake, who had problems growing up and playing with boys all the time.”
Skhumba adds that politics during the apartheid era impacted on some of his friends.
Asked about his travel journey since being in the spotlight, he laughs again. “I’ve been travelling so much this past six years, I think my kids look at me and go, ‘You look familiar, you that guy in the pictures?’”
Skhumba’s two favourite places to visit are Port Elizabeth and Mpumalanga.
He notes: “PE is beautiful but truly windy. And Mpumalanga, always so green with those mountains, is beautiful. The potholes are horrible, though.”
In Trippin’ with Skhumba, he showcases the beauty of South Africa while at the same time enlightening viewers of the cultural differences of our country. He explores the beauty of the countryside as well as suburbia.
Can we expect a second instalment?
He laughs once more: “If they don’t give it a season two, then someone is on drugs in the office!”