A serious side to a seriously funny Samoan from Safotulafai, Saleaula, Papa Sataua, Falealupo, Sagone and Fasito’o-uta
Samoa’s funniest man, Tofiga Fepulea’i, is not all about laughs and jokes.
There is a serious side to him which Samoa will get to see when he visits Apia at the end of the month for his solo show “I Gant Belive It.”
“The one thing I will be emphasising during this visit to Samoa is the importance of surrounding yourself with good people,” Tofiga told the Samoa Observer.
“It doesn't matter the number of people you surround yourself with but the quality of people who have around you.
“Everyone goes through tough times and most of the time its the people you have around that can make the difference of whether you get back up or stay down.”
He certainly knows about the tough times.
Professionally speaking, Tofiga has had to deal with being declared bankrupt.
Then he’s had to deal with having to part ways with his long time Laughing Samoans partner, Eteuati Ete, whom he says he misses performing with.
If anything though, Tofiga knows how to get back up.
His strong resolve to rise again has given birth to “I Gant beliv it.”
Dubbed a show for the whole family, it promises to bring tears of laughter. He is also looking forward to imparting knowledge and experiences when he visits visits schools in Samoa as part of his trip.
“Performing solo is different and a lot more work,” he said.
“It’s been funny writing my show because I just laugh at my own jokes. When writing with other people you can get feed back and bounce ides of each other. But because I’m writing and talking to myself I sometimes test my jokes on my wife and most of the time she doesn't laugh at my jokes. Hahaha.”
But after almost 14 years of performing comedy with the Laughing Samoans around the world, Tofiga is in a good space.
“I’m sure many of our Laughing Samoans fans miss my uso Ete and myself performing as a duo. I also miss performing as a Laughing Samoan but even before I became a Laughing Samoan I’ve always wanted to perform my own show,” he said.
“There’s not much of a difference in terms of the humour with my solo show. The main difference is that on stage now it’s just me and myself. I use my Samoan/Pacific Island/Kiwi humour in my material.
“In my solo show I talk a lot about my life and growing up as a NZ born Samoan.”
And so far it has been hugely successful.
“I’ve had a couple of Shows in NZ so far with my Wellington Show just a couple of weeks ago. I premiered my "I Gan't belive it" show to a sellout crowd in Auckland in April.
“The support and feedback from people who have seen the show has been overwhelming and humbling. And now I’m going to be performing my solo show in Samoa and for me it’s a big thing.”
Incorporating music into the Show is one of the new elements provided by a back up band.
“The music element of my show is something I really want to grow more for future shows. I’ve been blessed to have some of my good friends and family from Wellington and Auckland help me with the music set for my shows.
“I’m really thankful to have my uso and the very talented TJ Taotua who's been really supportive of my new journey and solo shows. It’s been great having my uso Lapi Mariner join the team.
“In my Auckland show, I had the an amazing line up of talent. On Backup Vocals i had my Tongan uso Moses Atiola, Sam Sinipata, J-Miah Tauti. On percussion we had our Funky Fijian Joseph Seniloli with lead guitars and vocals Tj Taotua.
“In the wellington show we had my Porirua family Henry and Tepora Samia adding smooth vocals with Henry on the keyboards. The icing on the cake was having my uso Lapi Mariner join us in Wellington.”
As for his show in Samoa, which will be held at the Taumeasina Island Resort, Tofiga can hardly wait.
“I look forward to visiting Samoa to perform my show but most of all to be able to be more involved with projects focusing on young people in Samoa,” he said.
“It’s been awesome to connect again with my good friend Etu Life to plan this trip to Samoa. Im looking forward to sharing some of my experiences and life lessons with the students at some of the local schools in Samoa.
“I really appreciate the hard work Etu has done to make this trip possible and especially with the support of my Indian brother Muliagatele Shiu Sing of Henderson Cars and major sponsor of the Manu Samoa and Samoa rugby teams. Also a massive thank you to Taumeasina for their amazing support for the purpose of this trip to Samoa.”
Tofiga is the son of Tu'ua Semurana Fepulea'i from Fusi Safotulafai and Sale'aula, Savai’i. His mother is Fuamago Malae Malagamaali'i Fepulea'i from Papa Sataua, Falealupo, Sagone and Fasito'outa.
WHAT: Tofiga Fepuleai
WHEN: 21st June 2017
WHERE: Taumeasina Island Resort
ABOUT I GANT BELIV IT
Originally part of the acclaimed duo, ‘The Laughing Samoans, Tofiga Fepulea’i is now solo and on the rise. A show for the whole family. “I Gant Belive It” will bring tears of laughter.
Let Tofiga take you on a whirlwind ride of life changing experiences about his childhood and having to grow up around his extended family and the Pacific community.
Tofiga brings a whole new look and feel into Pacific humour.
With backup band and sharing about his own experiences as a New Zealand born Samoan and it will certainly flex certain muscles in your body that you totally forgot you had when you’re laughing from the beginning to the end! ‘I Gant Belive It’ will definitely bring the house down.