Mpho “Popps” Modikoane

“You have not lived the South African dream if you have not been a call centre agent,” says Soweto-born funny man Mpho “Popps” Modikoane, a qualified call centre agent. It’s his off-the-cuff humour that led his friends to push him towards a career in stand-up comedy — “They told me I was wasting my talent” — but he was too shy to make a go of it. He finally relented and entered SABC1’s So You Think You’re Funny in 2009. “It was the first time in my life ever doing stand-up comedy and I came second,” he says. “Everything else is history.” Since then he’s landed guest spots on David Kau’s Blacks Only, Bafunny Bafunny, and the Market Theatre’s Just Because Comedy Festival, along the way swapping mics with top comedians such as Trevor Noah and Marc Lottering. The 25-year-old creative is also the Creative Group Head at Ireland Davenport and co-founder of the Monarchy Group, a boutique creative company. — Bongani Kona