Joker in the pack
She has mastered her stage persona, but funny woman Tumi Morake has trouble keeping a poker face.
When she started hanging out in comedy circles, Morake heard that fellow comedian Stuart Taylor was an amazing poker player.
Impressed by his skills, she decided she wanted to learn the game.
“Stuart is the godfather of poker and I figured I would be the godmother. It’s a fun way to spend time with friends and family,” she says.
While her poker skills have improved, she admits she still hasn’t mastered the art of the poker face.
“Either my eyes light up or my cheek twitches, which makes it harder to be as good as I’d like to be, but I’m working on it.”
Morake’s animated antics serve her well when she’s on stage.
“I love the work I do and while my confidence has grown over the years, I still put on a persona when I’m on stage – a weird mixture of my mother’s tenacity and my audacity.
“I’m very different in my real life – I can be quite timid and can burst out crying about the smallest things.”
Morake says comedy is still very much a boys’ club, but she doesn’t let that bother her.
“I’ve chosen to pick my battles and this isn’t one of them. I’m focused on making myself the best I can be.
“I used to cringe when people said I was the best female comedian, but these days I take it as a compliment. I am a woman and I’m good at what I do – I don’t ever want to play that down.”
Tumi is headlining Bitches, an all-female show at the Lyric Theatre in Joburg from April 26.
- Zama Nkosi