Twenty years of making people laugh is no joke, says Worcester comedian Shimmy Isaacs.
The celeb is celebrating two decades in the industry, as well as her 40th birthday on Friday.
Since she burst onto the scene in 2001, Shimmy has been breaking barriers as a female comedian, and also blossomed as an actress, writer and producer.
Shimmy’s narrative is not unique in her community, but her courage and service in the community speak volumes of the artist she has become.
Before her breakthrough as an artist, Shimmy worked as stock controller for Mr Price and later moved to Cape Town where she worked in her best friend’s vintage clothing store.
She studied acting at AFDA and says she changed comedy for herself over the 20 years.
She cautions up and coming artists to be patient, work hard and not to expect stardom overnight.
“Many of the new artists get caught up in the fictional reality, they want to be ‘there’ in a span of a month.
“We are not America, we need to work harder, we are a different breed, our stories and experiences are different, we are not the same,” she says.
“I came to realise that South Africans enjoy comedy through storytelling. The skill of comedy comes through in how you work your audience, the audience is your director,” she explains.
The artist says comedy has also evolved and comedians have had to become much more sensitive to social issues, because of the impact of social media.
She says this is not necessarily a good thing.
“We’ve got to be mindful of this woke culture, but not to the extent where people are now being monitored on what they say.
“It’s now become a socialist dictatorship through the internet where every word you say and how you say it is being monitored, not by the government but our own people.”
Shimmy says she aims to uplift her community: “My focus throughout my career has been to place a spotlight on the people of Worcester, where I was born and raised.
“I am one of the first of my generation in my community to have achieved not only national but internationally acclaimed reviews for my work as a live performance artist,” she says.
For her birthday, Shimmy reveals she’ll be having an all-white lunch party for family and friends on a farm outside of Worcester.