Subscribe to industry newsletters

Search jobs

Dillon Khan speaks to celebrating African heritage with comedy and music

The Make Life Funnier EP by Comedy Central Africa is an extended play music compilation with musicians and comedians from Africa collaborating to create a comedic and culturally impactful message.
Dillon Khan, vice president of Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, Viacom International Studios and Creative Service Africa at ViacomCBS
Dillon Khan, vice president of Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, Viacom International Studios and Creative Service Africa at ViacomCBS

This message is centred around bringing focus to the diversity and unity spectrum that South Africa, and the rest of Africa, represents - according to Dillon Khan, vice president of Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, Viacom International Studios and Creative Service Africa at ViacomCBS.

“Although hilarious in nature, the EP reflects some of the common social issues that we experience that have become part of our culture, so to speak,” said Khan.

We spoke with him to find out more about the EP, what heritage means to him and how exactly the EP has helped celebrate African heritage…

The meaning of heritage

Having been in South Africa for nearly eight years, Khan said that he has come to appreciate the meaning behind Heritage Day each year. “It allows the nation to come together and celebrate the rainbow nation of people who live here,” he said. “By showcasing what is unique to anyone who resides in South Africa, it allows everyone to feel part of the rich tapestry and celebrate our collectiveness under the flag of RSA.”

Heritage Day (24 September) in South Africa exists to recognise and celebrate the cultural wealth of the nation. South Africa has 11 official languages, and many cultures that come together to create the 'Rainbow Nation' - and the celebration of heritage should be celebrated throughout the year.

Make life funnier

All of the songs on the Make Life Funnier EP feature themes from trending topics that are of cultural and social relevance, with a touch of comedy to boot. The EP features collaborations with people like Mashabela, Robot Boi, Kurt Darren, Leah, Deep Fried Man, Basket Mouth and more. The music videos born from the EP will be available to view on the Comedy Central Africa YouTube page and air to a pan-African audience.

“This comical campaign touches on some key elements of what South Africa represents culturally, politically and socio-economically,” said Khan. “Each of the songs represent a prominent issue that is relevant to the people of SA and sometimes, the rest of Africa as well.”

Through music and comedy, the EP is meant to showcase the art that comes from Africa and the power of partnership and collaboration.

The talent involved in making the EP were central in driving the key messaging and themes that emerged from the project. “Essentially, the stories were personal perspectives of the artists, meaning the campaign has successfully adhered to our objective of telling real, African stories through an authentic narrative,” said Khan.

Collaboration even assisted in the challenges the project faced in its inception and creation. Khan mentioned that the idea came to them quite late, and as such, the turnaround was exceptional. Filming during Covid-19 protocol added to the challenge, but everybody rallied and worked hard to ensure the project saw the end.

“The reason why we advocate for collaboration is that creativity and relevancy are maximised when we work together,” said Khan. “This was a perfect example, as there was a need for the diversity factor, given that this was a heritage theme campaign aimed at celebrating our differences while sharing how our differences make us unified through the unique, yet unified African cultures.”

The impact

Even though Heritage Day, and subsequently Heritage Month, is an important time in South Africa, it is pertinent to continue the celebration of our diversity and creativity throughout the year.

Make Life Funnier is a project which hopes to relay this message. Intrinsically, the EP is meant to showcase local creativity, diversity, and talent, but essentially, it is a platform for South Africans - and Africans in general - to remember their heritage in a positive way.

All episodes are available to watch on the Comedy Central Africa YouTube.

About Emily Stander

Freelancer specialising in games and entertainment | My first loves are writing, music and video games

Let's do Biz