Hildegard Titus is a woman of many talents, and when not leading the charge to dispatch colonial era statues, she’s also a comedian set to make her one-woman stand-up comedy debut at Vinyls this Thursday.
Titled ‘Sister, Can I Do Your Hair?’ and teasing adventures in local salons, the horrors of her first bikini wax and the minefields that are family gatherings when you’re in your thirties, single and childfree, Titus’ first stab at a solo is based on real and awkward life.
“Sister, can I do your hair?” is a question we’ve all heard from the aunties in Windhoek’s central business district, trying to coax you into their salon, says Titus, who first joined the comedy scene courtesy of Free Your Mind’s ‘Ladies’ Show’ in 2015.
“The show is about all the awkward, cringeworthy and I-can’t-believe-this-is-happening-to-me moments of my life. From growing up with awkward hairstyles, and being bamboozled by stylists to trying to stay on top of my career, the themes I’ll explore include beauty, feminism, love and the misadventures of my dating life.”
Considering the perils of making jokes in the age of cancel culture, Titus has some sage words.
“I think what people call cancel culture is just accountability,” Titus says. “People being held accountable for either saying things that continue to oppress and demean historically oppressed and stereotyped people, or holding them accountable for some of the heinous things they have gotten away with in their personal lives,” she says.
“As a comedian, if the only way you can be funny is by making fun of oppressed or stereotyped people, then I don’t think you are actually funny. It’s time to be creative. You can joke about dark and f*cked up things, but be intelligent about it and ask people to question why things are the way they are.”
A weathered comedian who’s performed with Free Your Mind, Windhoek’s Comedy Club, Howler as well as at Vinyls Comedy Hour, Armchair Comedy in Cape Town and with Westend Comedy in Munich, Titus has honed her deadpan storytelling style to the point of going it alone, and as a balm to the seriousness of her work as an activist, organiser and documentary photographer/videographer.
“I feel like comedy allows me to express myself in the most authentic and unfiltered way. I sometimes feel like it is where all my lives and hats intersect. It’s also a place where I get to rant about what I think is wrong with the world, and, in some ways, express my activism in a less aggressive or in-your-face way,” she says.
“I also make fun of myself a lot, because even though I’m an adult, I often feel like I don’t fully understand the adulting manual, so it allows me to check in with other adults to see if they struggle with the same topics too.”
‘Sister, Can I Do Your Hair?’ will be on show at Vinyls Music Café this Thursday for one night only.
Limited tickets are available at the door or in advance via WhatsApp on 081 778 6607. The show starts at 20h00.
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