Step Aside: Comedian Eugene Khoza is back after a five year break

Comedian and actor Eugene Khoza. Supplied image.

Comedian and actor Eugene Khoza. Supplied image.

Published Oct 29, 2022


Johannesburg - South African comedian, actor, and television personality Eugene Khoza has broken his silence on the devastating loss of his son and best friend.

The talented entertainer has been off the circuit for the last five years, following the painful losses of two of the closest people in his life.

He took the time off to heal and replenish after the deaths, to reflect on where life was taking him – and also to revisit his comedy roots.

Now Khoza has opened up about the tragedies, saying the past five years have been the biggest struggle he’s faced in his life.

“It took a lot of praying and crying, asking God why, but I believe one has to go through all the stages to get to acceptance, and for the healing to begin,” Khoza told The Saturday Star.

The entertainer was dealt two huge blows in a short space of time, with his best friend dying shortly after the comedian had lost his son.

While difficult to cope with both deaths, he says the tragedies had brought him closer to his family.

“Those losses although have brought me closer to my family and my daughter. I appreciate every moment with them even more now, I don't take anything for granted anymore, especially with the people I love,” said Khoza.

Having put his career on hold, Khoza says he is now ready to get back on stage and continue his blossoming career as a comedian and actor.

This week, he announced that he would be returning to stage with a brand new one-man show, Step Aside.

The show opens on November 4 at Gold Reef City’s Lyric Theatre.

Comedian and actor Eugene Khoza. Supplied image.

He says the decision to return to the stage was a difficult one.

“It was not easy at all. For a long time, I did not find anything funny and had a lot of guilt just from laughing and being happy, until I booked a club gig in Johannesburg to see how it would be. It wasn't until I did an interview on Kaya-FM drive with Sizwe Dhlomo that I got to open up about the last five years of my life.

“I felt like I was talking to a friend in my living room for three hours, I walked out of the studio knowing I had unburdened myself from some of the guilt associated with me performing on stage and actually having fun, on that day I forgave myself. The energy felt right. I had opened up and introspected (sic) and I decided it was time, it's that simple really.”

Having taken a step back from performing, Khoza says he’s zoned in and found an essential part of himself again and is now looking forward to performing in front of his fans.

“I absolutely can't wait. I've done four months of clubs everywhere you can think of, from doing hundreds of people to performing to ten people in SA, to now recently doing the biggest clubs in New York City from my recent trip, I fell in love with comedy again crafting this set.”

Khoza doesn’t feel any nerves despite taking a lengthy break. He says he feels at home on stage.

“I'm most comfortable being in front of an audience, which is different from how I am in my personal life, so yeah I'm excited,” he said.

Speaking about Step Aside, Khoza says the new show is a story about how people relate to their loved ones while still trying to maintain their sense of individuality.

“It’s also about how we sometimes get in the way of our own happiness because we feel that others are having a better time than we are. It’s a funny bone kind of funny story that will resonate with everyone. It will make you laugh and it will touch you deep inside where your most personal feelings lie. The lockdown during the pandemic forced us all to slow down and reflect.”

Khoza himself spent an entire year in a house at the beach, just looking at the ocean and watching people come and go.

“They gave us time to think about our relationships, our work, our place in the world – and to reassess what was working for us and what wasn’t.

Comedian and actor Eugene Khoza. Supplied image.

“Step Aside is the product of that period of reflection. It’ll make you laugh and it’ll make you gasp with recognition. The show is about life, relationships, and how men see the world and how different it is from what women imagine us doing. I'm fascinated by POV. I like talking from my point of view, it offers me and the audience a front-row seat into my world.”

He worked closely with his comedy mentor Kedibone Mulaudzi to come up with the material for his new show.

“It was such a fun process. It felt like starting a new relationship, it was scary and fun at the same time. I linked up with a good friend and my comedy mentor Kedibone Mulaudzi and I just immersed myself in the comedy and the art of storytelling which was the reason I fell in love with stand-up comedy, to begin with.”

Khoza has also spoken about his recent trip to the US, where he performed in New York.

“The NYC gigs were phenomenal, they were great because I got to see and meet some of the big comics I had interviewed for my podcast (Single-minded which is available on all streaming platforms) that Josh and I started during the lockdown, and performed material that I had worked on in SA, and to see that work at the highest level was definitely put a smile on my face.”

He says while the last few years have been agonisingly tough, comedy has helped him to heal.

“I'd say comedy helped me turn a corner in my life and open up a new chapter, the love from my daughter and family, most importantly hearing and seeing the audience laugh and forget for a minute about their troubles helps me heal at every show.”

Khoza says he is now ready to work and has several exciting projects lined up.

“Well we're working on some interesting projects, a TV show that I'm currently shooting, the second season of our podcast, radio on the horizon, stand-up tour, and more USA shows.”

Tickets are priced between R150 and R300 and are available at the Lyric Theatre Box Office on the nights of the shows.

To book in advance, please call the box office on 011 248 5168 / 5229 or email [email protected]

The Saturday Star