The Life of A Comedian: Simmi Areff
Crown The Brown: Simmi Areff. Durban born comedian, Simmi Areff is known for always bringing his A game on stage! He brings out the laughter in the best way and always leaves us wanting more! Our very own social media guru, figuring out the world of millennials, with the guilty pleasure for food, especially Krispy Kreme Doughnuts (A man after our hearts!).
Simmi always shares the best stories and has made such an impact on his fans. With his new show taking place this weekend (27-28 September), we wanted to find out more about the man behind the microphone! We can tell you that Simmi Areff is definitely more than just a comedian with a microphone. An academically orientated, an avid cricket fan, creative soul with taste buds fit for a King! Here is what Simmi shared with us!
What are three things that people don’t know about you?
I have three degrees, BA, LLB and my honors in Journalism. A proliferate poet, I write a lot of poetry. I also really enjoy a good peanut butter sandwich!
What inspired you to pursue a career in comedy?
I have been doing comedy for over 10 years now. I actually never thought of pursuing comedy, it just happened. During my varsity days, I attended an event. I signed up for the event, wanting to tell my very own story. A comedian attended the event, he watched me on stage and started booking me for events shortly after that. I guess he saw something in me.
As a South Asian comedian, what was it like pursuing an occupation that is often stereotyped in brown families as not being a “real occupation”?
My parents did not know what stand-up comedy was. They initially had no understanding when it came to me being an entertainer. My parents found the entire idea of earning money from talking silly. It was a learning curve. In our families, we are never told to go into arts. We are told to be a lawyer, accountant, engineer or a doctor. We aren’t taught to be anything else outside of the spectrum.
As a South African comedian, what are some of the biggest challenges you have faced being in the entertainment industry?
People tend to forget how difficult being in the entertainment industry actually is. You don’t have a fixed salary. There are various factors that are influenced by your occupation as a comedian. Medical aid is different, getting a bond is different and also as a comedian our working hours differ. Sometimes we work for an hour at night doing one gig and maybe another gig for 20 minutes or so. The day has 24 hours and we have to find various ways to fill up those hours when we don’t have gigs.
Essentially, you end up wasting a lot of time which is a challenge for us. I try to keep myself extremely busy when I don’t have gigs. I enjoy reading and trying out new things or hobbies.
What are some audience highlights that you will never forget?
The show that I’m doing now, I had the Cape Town show in March. It was a really good show and the audience was amazing and so lively! It had the right level of humor and a very empathetic side to it. I enjoyed it a lot. For me, that was my best comedy moment. I loved interacting with the audience and having them relate to me and my humor.
Since you are such a food lover! What are some of your guilty pleasures?
Kripsy Kreme Doughnuts for sure! I love burgers, especially cheese burgers and ice-cream. There is one epic meal that I have to share with the world though. A guilty pleasure that I cannot get enough of. It is a meal that my mother makes. When she makes chicken curry, the following day, she will remove the rice and she will make it with scrambled eggs! Best combination ever! My mother calls it a KING’S BREAKFAST!
What do you enjoy most about being a comedian and how would you describe your content?
I love interacting with others. The best thing about comedy to me, is being able to speak to a lot of people and become acquainted with a lot of people. Recently, I had such a beautiful moment with a family. About 8 years ago, I did a show and my father called me and said that there is a family in Cape Town that are huge fans and would love to meet me.
So I went back to my hotel room after the show, met them and took a family photo with them. Last week, when I did a show, after the show, the exact same family came to me and asked if I remembered them. They introduced me to their son, who is now 18. I was shocked, to think I saw him so many years ago and to see him all grown up was a beautiful moment.
I love having those memories with the audience and being a part of their favourite moments. It was nice to see how he grew and I love meeting people.
You have a show coming up called love and other jokes. Tell us more about this amazing initiative towards ending femmicide. What can we expect from the show?
All the proceeds of the show go towards femmeprojects. It is an organization that is youth led and run by women. They educate kids and students. They have workshops and educate people on gender issues, inequalities, human rights. Important issues that shape the youth.
The show includes stories about my love life, the audiences love life. I also have a musician that will be on stage with me, Jaedon Daniel. He will be performing as well. We will be performing together and everyone will have a good time. Everyone will hear about my very sad love life and how I will die alone.
The current state of our country is extremely devastating and we appreciate the work done to bring an end to domestic violence and femmicide. What do you think of the current state of the country? What do you think we can all do as a community to make a difference?
It is difficult for a man to speak on these issues. The only thing men can actually do is LISTEN. I think it is the most important thing right now. We are the first ones to jump up and be defensive. We are the ones to say that not all men are trash but we need to see the bigger issue here. The hashtag does not affect me because I have heard stories of what other men have done and I don’t mind telling people who have been trash that they are. It is a good start to acknowledge it and listening is important.
Do you have any upcoming projects that our audience should know about?
At the moment, I am only doing the show Love and other jokes and my podcast. Hopefully. I will meet a nice girl, fall in love and get married! That is actually the up and coming project that I am working on, MY LOVE LIFE! So stay tuned for my wedding!
Do you ever feel pressure in terms of marriage, especially in an Asian household?
No I do not but I just know that someone has got to be out there for me. (I know my heart couldn’t handle this either!) People always say it happens when you least expect it, but I am starting to think that the statement is a lie. I EXPECT IT ALL THE TIME! If I walk down the street and see a pretty girl, I expect to get married!
What advice do you have for upcoming comedians wanting to get their big break in the industry?
You just have to take the plunge! JUMP UP AND DO IT! The only way you can do stand-up is by getting on the stage and just doing it! There is no other way.
Simmi Areff is surely a comedian with a fulfilling day and endless possibilities. From his new found talents to his love for food. There is no way that Simmi has not found his soulmate yet! Simmi matches his stage anxiety with his adrenaline for comedy and loves making others laugh! Not only are we looking forward to his show, but we are surely looking forward to hearing him serenade his future wife (trust me, he was an opera singer back in the day.. he has the voice for it).
Be sure to purchase your tickets for Simmi’s show Love and other jokes (27 and 28 September) at Computicket or online for R150. The show carries a PG-14 age restriction and starts at 20h15. The Auto & General Theatre on the Square is located on the Nelson Mandela Square in Sandton.