Up Close & Personal with Tol Ass Mo
WE meet at 7th Street Melville's Wish. I feel lucky indeed. Overnight, Tol Ass Mo, real name Mongezi Ngcobondwane, has become the toast of comedy town.
He's given me an hour, having braved a late night, a fashion shoot, a commercial casting and another interview earlier.
He towers over me apologetically as he greets me with a hug.
His fiancée, Mome Nale of Cream Cartel fame will be joining us shortly.
When she rocks up (in an extremely colourful outfit), Mo's face lights up. From then on he's on a roll, hitting me with one funny line after the other, like on screen and TV.
He assures me he's not excerpting from his material.
"I was like this when I worked at a call centre. I'd keep my clients on the line - to the point where the floor manager would come and shout 'process the claims and stop fooling around with dying people!'
"It was awesome."
His career started with him poking fun at patrons at a chilling spot in Tembisa, where he grew up.
"I was the hype man for this other club. They'd have hip-hop evenings and hyping the audience was my job.
"I'd poke fun at the patrons until a guy called Stanley pointed out that I could get paid for that too."
That's when the crazy upbringing came in handy.
"All that moving around, the large family and my hundreds of cousins."
He says he was a problem child who always managed to tickle adults out of a sticky situation.
"My grandma used to get mad that even 'special' cousin Veejay wasn't exempt from my jokes."
His family owned the first shopping and clubbing centre in Tembisa.
They were the first black family to move to nearby Kempton Park. All 100 of them.
"Six aunts, who all had three kids each - so you can imagine!"
They called him BeatDown at school because after months of enduring abuse from a bully, he punched him - and his opponent lost his front teeth. No one ever touched Mo again.
His phone rings. He promises to call back and picks up where he left off, with another joke.
"From then on I got so naughty I used to do reverse calls to places like India."
Then he does the Indian accent. Even the waitrons start laughing uncontrollably, getting entertained.
Nale looks on fondly as her other half rattles on. Before they met, his friends took advantage of him.
"They'd say, who's this chick? Who's this chick?
"This is your crib man. I ain't gonna wash those dishes, you watch," says an animated Mo.
His phone rings again. Same drill.
"I never get tired. I'm an insomniac. My mind is in a constant race. When I have a lot of points to put across it can be so frustrating that I stutter.
"Couple that with a lisp."
He's actually doing it and I'm rolling on the floor laughing.
He looks up to comedian Kagiso Lediga.
"I told myself I'd never even consider a one-man show before Kagiso did his. So if it took him forever I'd go to my grave still waiting. Luckily, Lediga finally recorded his one-man show last year."
But Mo is yet to make it onto his granny's wall of graduation fame.
"She still mocks me, saying it was by God's grace that I even matriculated."
The phone rings again. It's his helper. She's waiting for her ride. He jumps up.
THIS & THAT
- Born February 4 1986.
- His mom was a club DJ.
- Has a son from a previous relationship.
- Is 1,97m tall.
- Reads a lot of books.
- Invests in gold coins.
- Was nominated in the best newcomer category at the first Comic Choice Awards last year.
- Appeared in the Triple O Comedy Show, the Comedy Show Live at Lyric, Metro FM Comedy Experience, Blacks Only and many more.
- Presented SABC's Walala Wasala, was news anchor on the Loyiso Gola Late Night News show.
- Is the face of Mzansi Magic Movies.
- Appeared in the International Film Festival's Survival Of The Hippiest in Austria 2012.