Kagiso Lediga (pronounced Kaheeso Ledeeha) knew since he was little that he wanted to make people laugh. “I’d watch old movies with my dad – Woody Allen – and I was like ‘I wanna be like this guy.'” Like Woody Allen, there’s something about Kagiso that makes you feel like you know him even before you talk with him. For a guy who’s one of the biggest stars in his country he’s easy going, charming and humble when you do finally get him on the phone. (“Yes, sure I’ll get the penis suit and we’ll go to the circumcision clinic, no problem…” )
Kagiso grew up in Pretoria, the capital of South Africa, not far from Johannesburg where he lives now, and studied drama at the University of Capetown. Kagiso was one of the very first black comics venturing into stand up in an era when the crowds were almost entirely white, and there was no value placed on homegrown talent. The upside of being undervalued is that the community of comics was small and close-knit, and the power of comedy was underestimated. Just as the Monte Python gang were given the keys to the palace when no one was paying attention Kagiso, Loyiso and friends were allowed to put South Africa’s first sketch comedy show on the air for two seasons in 2003-2004, a cult hit show called The Pure Monate Show. It was audaciously frank about race and politics in an era when the country was still cloaked in a post-Apartheid hush of polticial correctness.
Here’s Kagiso in one of the sketches:
Since The Pure Monate Show was canceled Kagiso has made good use of his blend of skills as a comic, writer, producer and actor. Along with producing and writing Late Night News with Loyiso Gola, Kagiso has written, produced and starred in a series of films, including one called Taka Taka with Trevor Noah and another called Bunny Chow. On April 30th, the day after filming with the penis suit with us (you’ll see), the new film he wrote, produced and acted in will premiere in Johannesburg. It’s called Blitz Patrolie, and it promises to be a huge hit. Watch the trailer here.
Maybe you’ll even see Blitz Patrolie coming to a theater near you. You never know, but I do know that we’re incredibly lucky to spend some time with Kagiso Lediga during an incredibly busy time in his career.
Follow Kagiso on twitter.
Catch Kagiso preforming live at The Box on April 28 with Loyiso Gola and Hasan Minhaj.