Jokebox
YOU South Africa|27 January 2022
Bini might just have the last laugh when she takes her talent for being funny to the big stage
EMILE EMTOCH
WHEN she was younger, Bianca, or Bini as her family call her, never really put much thought into what she wanted to be when she grew up. She was too busy being a 12-year-old to worry about her future career.

Many of her friends had dreams of becoming policewomen, doctors or social workers. Bini knew she didn’t have to worry about a career for many years so she didn’t.

All of that changed when Bini saw Vicky Pollock on TV. It was like Vicky reached through the screen and flipped a switch in her brain. All of a sudden Bini knew what she wanted to be when she grew up, she wanted to write jokes and more than that, she wanted to perform the jokes that she wrote – on the grand stage.

Vicky Pollock was one of the funniest stand-up comics in South Africa. She was also a judge on a reality competition called Make Us Laugh. The show gave aspiring stand-up comedians a chance to tell jokes and possibly win R250 000.

Bini watched as contestant after contestant came up to perform a five-minute stand-up comedy routine. Some of their jokes were funny, but most of them she didn’t understand.

Right at the end, Vicky would do a short routine before ending the show. She told clean jokes with punchlines that even a child, like Bini, could catch.

BINI’S big sister, Diane, was also her biggest fan and was the only person in the house that knew of her pursuit of being a comedian Both of them agreed that their father would not approve of Bini’s career ambitions, and thus they decided to keep quiet about it.

That was six years ago and Bini had since dedicated her life to stand-up. And tonight, on her 18th birthday, she was about to go on stage for the first time. The bar was called The Den and was an establishment filled with lights, people and alcohol.

It was her first time in a bar. The lights and all the people were all she had dreamt about for six years, but it was also scary. There were about 50 people in the bar, by what Bini could tell, but even this small number made her stomach churn.

Diane said The Den was a good place to get into the comedy scene. The bar held comedy nights every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

It was 9.45pm and comedy hour was due to start at the top of the hour. In the corner was a small stage with a sign on the wall that formed the word “JOKEBOX” in red neon lights. Bini knew it was meant as a funny play on the word jukebox, but she was too nervous to laugh about it.

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