Multi-talented comedian comedian Dalin Oliver on his noisy neighbours playing ‘adult tennis quite regularly’

Multi-talented comedian Dalin Oliver. Supplied image.

Multi-talented comedian Dalin Oliver. Supplied image.

Published Sep 3, 2022


Johannesburg - Just like many other South Africans, well-known comedian Dalin Oliver admits he enjoys a good “skinner” session about his neighbours.

Having been forced to stay at home during the pandemic for almost two years, Oliver got to know his neighbours more than he would have liked.

“We all have noisy neighbours right? Mine are just big fans of playing adult tennis quite regularly,” says Oliver.

“I’m sure you are smart enough to use your imagination and connect the dots. I feel like I’m living in a soapie and have experienced so much because of my neighbours. It’s more drama than when Marlena was possessed on ‘Days of Our Lives’ back in the day.”

Having had to endure so much noise and drama, the comedian saw it as a good opportunity to turn his experience into a full-on stand-up comedy show.

And Oliver has been on the money. His show “Stay At Home Comedian” recently won a Standard Bank Ovation Award.

The show, which to put into Oliver’s words is a therapy session in which the comedian complains about his neighbours, has received plaudits around the country.

And now Oliver is bringing it to Johannesburg.

At the end of this month, Oliver will take the stage at Theatre On The Square, Sandton, to present his award-winning show to Joburg audiences.

He’ll do a limited number of shows which will run from September 27 to October 1.

We caught up with Oliver to chat about his show and what life was like as a comedian during the hard lockdown.

“In (S)kin” at the National Arts Festival in Makhanda (Grahamstown) was awarded an Ovation award this year. Cape Town comedian and radio presenter Dalin Oliver in his “Face for Radio” show was a crowd favourite. Picture: Supplied

Firstly, how much are you looking forward to performing for your Joburg fans?

I’m extremely excited to be back in Joburg. I love performing here. The city and people have always been so good to me. I have many fond on- and offstage memories. Seeing Capetonians who moved to Joburg along with Joburg locals is always the best.

When I was new to comedy, I’d visit close friends and sleep on their couches and mattress to save on money while performing here. I no longer need to couch surf, but the journey has been a beautiful one which I’m very proud of.

Back to my show. I got distracted. So yes, I had a one-night-only performance in Joburg to a full house at Hotel Sky in March and coming back with a six-show 5-night run is very special. Reconnecting with audiences across the country has been a dream come true because we were unable to do so for two years. The timing feels right.

I’m fresh from the National Arts Festival in Makhanda. The first live festival since 2019. Being back to live audiences for 10 days of amazing was oh so delicious. Winning a Standard Bank Ovation Award for my show was a cherry on the cake. It was a gluten-free cake, don't worry; I’m trying to eat better.

Okay, I’m lying, it was fresh cream. I’m just excited to see humans live and in person and not online.

What is your show “Stay at Home Comedian” all about?

It’s basically a therapy session for me where I complain about my neighbours, lol. It’s my favourite stories of experiences and encounters with them. I don’t want to give away too much, but one constantly complains about my loud music despite their “adult tennis” sounds being louder than Notorious B.I.G. on full blast. Sometimes they even sing along to the music I’m playing. It’s such a double standard, right?!

Then, my other neighbour’s cat decided to make my apartment his second home where he stays rent free. I don’t mind this. It’s a cool cat. I haven’t officially adopted it yet, but this is South Africa and anything is possible. I can always find a connection via a family member who knows someone at cat home affairs who will sign off the papers to make me the official owner. There’s so much happening here. Did I even answer the question? Just come to the show. Everything will make sense. It’s going to be lekker. I promise. Awê.

Multi-talented comedian Dalin Oliver. Supplied image.

As a comedian, what was life like during the pandemic?

Honestly, the pandemic was extremely tough. The first year especially because we had no clue when it would end and if life would ever return to “normal”. I grew my hair and moustache for the first six months of the pandemic in 2020. One day I looked like the neighbour who had life problems, the next I looked like your local weed dealer, lol.

At one point, I was telling jokes to the cashiers at the grocery stores just so that I could have a conversation with someone and tell jokes to a stranger. They laughed. I laughed. I even got extra rewards points for the jokes. Winning!

In all honesty, I still can’t believe what happened. Life between 2020 and 2021 is somewhat of a blur.

I’m just glad we are adapting to living life in the new normal and back on stage telling our favourite stories to audience members across the country.

Did you manage to come up with some cool material while at home during the pandemic?

Where do I start? I’ll list some of my favourites.

I wrote an online show titled “If Lockdown Was a Person”. This was my first official online show. I performed it in September 2020, which feels like a lifetime ago. It was the grand closing of my six-month hair and moustache growth journey. I even cut my hair live at the end of the show. I looked like Gargamel from Smurfs, lol.

I had fun and kicked it old school with something called street fighter yoga. It was basically me being a child and taking all the moves we learnt in the game “Street Fighter” and turning it into a young yoga session. People seemed to enjoy it, so I did a few for the love of comedy.

Then by 2021 I was ready to get back to stage and live audiences. Live gigs were happening on and off. I did some live shows in Cape Town, where I worked on new material. There were limited shows and audience members, so it was very frustrating. We also weren’t allowed to travel, which made it worse.

Then the “Stay At Home Comedian” happened. It's the show I wrote during lockdown. It’s not a lockdown show, though. What do I mean by this? Well, I don’t speak about the pandemic much. It’s just my experiences and interactions with my neighbours, like I mentioned earlier.

Multi-talented comedian Dalin Oliver. Supplied image.

What are some of the new things you learnt about yourself during the pandemic?

I’ve learnt that I’m great at cleaning and that I’ve become my parents because I can’t go to bed with a dirty kitchen, lol.

Let’s get serious. Personally, the pandemic brought about perspective and maturity. We almost lost everything, which led to introspection and reflection re: your purpose, dreams and goals.

I don’t want to get deep, but sometimes one has to. I’m just excited to have another shot at life. We lost two years and can’t get it back. No regrets, right?! I have shot at chasing my happiness, goals and dreams every day. I’m out here trying to break those generational curses and create more access points and network spaces.

Looking back, what were some of the best moments for you during the pandemic?

I became a father to triplets. Only teasing. I’m just keeping the reader sharp and on their toes.

Honestly, coming out alive and being healthy along with my immediate family was and still is the ultimate winner. I think all of us were in a constant state of fear and panic about the future. To be able to live through one of our generation’s toughest periods and come out with health on your side is a big blessing.

Obviously, it was great being able to get back on stage and get back to living my dream of being a comedian. But health is wealth and the rest will follow. Awê.

Multi-talented comedian Dalin Oliver. Supplied image.

What has it been like performing in front of fans live?

It’s been life changing. I’m not even exaggerating. I’m filled with so much gratitude and happiness when being on stage. The thing we love most was taken away and to have it back is everything. Big shout-out, respect and thank you to everyone who has been supporting artists.

You are able to only perform for one set of fans… Jozi fans… Cape Town fans… or Durban fans… who do you choose?

Hahaha, why are you adding flames to this fire? I’ll perform for the fans who pay for their ticket and don’t ask for comps, lol. Those are the best audiences. The ones who are invested in the performance of the artist. I also want people from all over Mzansi and the world to enjoy my comedy. Look at me being a politician and not answering the question, haha. I think I did a good job. Vote for me in the next election. I’ll guarantee more punchlines than cash found under uncle Cyril’s mattress.

Did you pick up any new hobbies during the pandemic?

Yes, I did pick up a few new hobbies. Washing the dishes and cleaning the kitchen became a fan favourite, lol. Only teasing.

I started boxing. I’ve always wanted to but never really committed to it. I almost got a tattoo on my face though. That’s what a late night in Melville will do to you. Again, I’m kidding.

Just so that we are on the same page, it wasn’t contact boxing. More for fitness. I can’t fight to save my life. I’d probably be the first one to run away if a fight broke out.

On a serious note. We are spoiled in Cape Town. Having the ocean and mountain on your doorstep was and still is such a blessing. I tried to spend as much time outdoors as possible.

The Saturday Star