Comedy has always had the reputation of being a man’s game but this notion is surely coming to an end as 20-year old Amantle ‘The 1st Lady’ Mmonadibe strives to close this gender gap. The Tonota native is part of the renowned Laff-A-Lot comedy crew and has been on stage cracking audiences’ ribs since the beginning of this year.“I have always had a passion to be onstage and entertain people. So I chose this career path because I want to empower other women as well as to motivate them to join and grow this industry.
There used to be a time when the deejaying profession was dominated by men and look at it now!I want the comedy industry to experience a similar growth,” she said.When asked why there are no females in the industry, Amantle said Botswana has untapped raw talent and there are a lot of women with a sense of humour but they still have a hard time winning over and finding acceptance in spaces full of male performers.“The good thing is that things are finally turning around because as long as you own the stage and leave your audiences in stitches you are good, it doesn’t matter if you are male or female. People areembracing that women also have a sense of humour and I expect to see an increase in the number of female comedians,” sheadded. Amantle was discovered by the Laff-ALotteam during the President’s Day competitions and she was the only female competing at the Top 8 National Final event that was coordinated by Comedy for the Nation of Botswana.
“Since 2011, I have been taking part in mini competitions in Francistown and Mahalapyeto try to get recognition and the right platform to perform with top comedians to gain experience in comedy. I managed to meet the right people (Laff-A-Lot)who are now helping me grow my skills because it is not an easy job,” she said. Amantle said she draws her material from current affairs. She said that so farshe is well received by audiences, which proves that women can be edgy, make witty humorous remarks and excel in the industry.She also highlighted that comedy as a performing art can be taken as a career because one can earn a lot due to frequent bookings. “The industry is not saturated and it is exposing people to a different form of entertainment.
Most people are still curious; others enjoy it while they don’t know what it is. Our part in this genre is to host shows and captivate Batswana with home brewed jokes as well as turning our talent into livelihood,” she added.‘The 1st Lady’ will early September jet off to perform at Morula Sun Casino &Hotel in Pretoria. Ribcracker of Laff-ALotwill workshop Botswana’s first female comic on how to handle international audiences.The former has the experience of performing in South Africa (SA) and also shared the stage with highly rated Trevor Noah when he was in Botswana a few months ago.“There is still a huge gap left for female comics to fi ll in Botswana and we hope bookings for Amantle will encourage more talented female comedians to come up and show their skills. Laff-A-Lot is always ready to help and develop talent, and also give a platform to all upcoming comedians so we build a vibrant industry,” said Ribcracker.