Q&A: Urzila Carlson

Urzila Carlson opens up to What’s Hot New Zealand about being private, and fan-girls over Oprah.

Any advice for those budding stand-ups out there? Just start doing it, and write every day as much as you can. Only make jokes in the beginning that you won’t mind your mum hearing. It’s super easy to fall into filth straight away. Keep it tidy.

Like many comedians you had a bit of a rough upbringing – do you think that is a prerequisite for being funny? No, not at all, I know many comics with a great childhood. You just need to be able to observe people and be able to see the dysfunction so you can joke about it.

Have you been back to South Africa since you left in 2006, and if so, how did it go? Hells yeah! I go back nearly every year. I’m the Tourism Ambassador for SA and I love it. My kids love it there too – whenever we go there they just want to go “bush” and see animals and bugs because they’re HUGE over there.

Do people expect you to be funny all the time? Yes, which is fair enough I guess – if someone claims to be a genius I want to hear genius all the time. Or a fashionista – you better look great all the time!

Do you feel any pressure to be a role model for young LGBTQI+people? No I don’t – not pressure but I know I have a voice and I need to stand up for the community and not just let bigotry slide.

What’s one thing people probably don’t know about you? That there’s loads of stuff they don’t know. I live a very private life; people don’t know anything really about my wife or kids.

What’s your favourite way to spend a Sunday afternoon? On sunny days – a BBQ with friends and the kids running around. On rainy days – a good book inside while the kids run around.

Who’s your personal hero? Everyone says mom here and mine is the best, but Oprah is my hero. She’s overcome so much sh*t to be where she is today and she’s incredibly hard working.

Urzila Carlson, Token African 2019 tour
July 6 – Heaphy Room, Hamilton
July 13 – Forum North Theatre, Whangarei
July 18 – Municipal Theatre, Napier
July 19 – Regent Theatre, Palmerston North
July 20 – TSB Theatre, New Plymouth 
July 26 – Christchurch Town Hall, Christchurch
July 27 – Q Theatre, Auckland
August 16 – Baycourt Theatre, Tauranga
August 17 – Blue Baths, Rotorua
August 29 – ASB Theatre Marlborough, Blenheim
August 31 – Civic Theatre, Invercargill
September 2 – Glenroy Auditorium, Dunedin