He’s the comedian who impressed all four judges on his first Britain’s Got Talent audition in 2017, so much so he provoked a standing ovation from the crowd and Amanda Holden to use her ‘golden buzzer’, sending him straight through to the semi-finals, writes Holly O’Mahony…
Daliso Chaponda continued to wow both judges and audience members, and eventually came in third place in the final round of the competition. Two years on and Daliso is embarking on his second national tour with a new show, Blah Blah Blacklist, which is coming to Blackheath Halls on Friday October 11.
For those who missed him on Britain’s Got Talent (BGT), Daliso is an African comedian from Malawi. Born to a father who worked as a lawyer for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Daliso’s family lived all over the world while he was growing up, including in Thailand, Australia and Switzerland, as well as other African countries.
It was back in 2001, while studying computer programming and English literature in Canada, that Daliso chanced upon his first comedy gig and was instantly inspired to perform at an open mic night himself. The following year, he earned his first headlining show, Feed This Black Man, which he performed at Concordia University in Montreal, where he was studying.
Fast forward to 2006 and Daliso has moved to the United Kingdom, bringing his blossoming career in comedy with him. He opened shows for comedians including John Bishop, performed at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe (appearing on the 2008 ‘Best of the Fest’ list) and in 2014, co-wrote BBC Radio 4’s drama-comedy series When the Laughter Stops, inspired by real-life events.
However it wasn’t until he appeared on BGT in 2017 that Daliso Chaponda became a household name. Reflecting back on the experience a year later in an interview with the BBC, Daliso pointed out that his shows had jumped from 50 audience members to 1,000 since appearing on the show, which is watched by millions. On YouTube, too, many of his videos have since received millions of views.
Daliso was popular on BGT from the start, performing original jokes about everything from being single to his African heritage. Following his first audition, David Walliams commented that he was hugely likeable, while Amanda Holden praised his routine for being “self-deprecating, funny and relevant”, and Simon Cowell added that it was in order to find people like Daliso that they made shows like BGT.
Off the back of appearing on BGT, Daliso was signed by BBC Radio 4 to create his own series: Daliso Chaponda: Citizen of Nowhere, and headlined his first world tour What the African Said… in 2018. He’s been called “hot property” by the Evening Standard and an “expert entertainer” who “gets laughs from topics other comedians shun” by the Guardian. He’s also appeared on some of Britain’s best-loved shows, including QI, The Apprentice: You’re Fired, News Quiz and The Now Show.
Now, Daliso is back on the road with a daring new stand-up show, Blah Blah Blacklist, in which he unpicks the disgraced celebrities and historical figures we’re ashamed to admit we once admired. The show also delves into new sketches on family member arrests, buildings exploding in his home country and the very real matter of the Malawian government threatening to arrest him for joking about the country’s flag.
Daliso began his Blah Blah Blacklist in September and is on tour with the show, performing it in cities across the UK, until March 2020. Catch it close to home this Friday, October 11, when Daliso performs it live at Blackheath Halls.
Daliso Chaponda is performing Blah Blah Blacklist in the Great Hall at Blackheath Halls, 23 Lee Road, Blackheath, London SE3 9RQ. October 11, from 8pm – 10pm. Admission: £15. Suitable for ages 14+.