Thursday 12 December, 2019

Former journalist makes comedy debut at Kaiso Blues

If you follow Rhea Simone-Auguste on Facebook or belong to the T&T Women’s Forum group, you would know her stories.

Rhea barely holds back as she regales followers with often funny tales from her life.  Whether it’s her constant battle with weight, her ADHD, her inability to stay off of social media or her random encounters with John and Jane Public, nothing is off limits.

Even casual observances are filtered through her funny lens. Her post on what you can tell about a man the way he eats a dhalpuri roti went viral on FB, earning her recognition even off the social media platform.

On June 2, Auguste will take her comedy to the stage at Kaiso Blues Café before a sold out house.

The six feet, bubbly, mother of two, is not nervous.

“I don’t get nervous,” she says, recalling her very first performance at preschool when she fearlessly sang “A Whole New World” at her graduation.

Comedy has always been Auguste’s way of coping with life’s troubles.

“If I don’t laugh, I will cry,” she says as she settles down to chat with Loop ahead of her comedic debut.

Diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 13, Auguste was a self-described hellcat in school pre-diagnosis.

“I got a lot of licks in school. I don’t think a day passed without licks,” she says.

Auguste was bright, skipping Standard Two as teachers searched for a way to keep her challenged. She loved competitions, engaging in Spelling Bees and essay writing, which, she says, kept her motivated.

“When you live in a world where everyone says something is very wrong with you, winning reinforces that you are doing something right,” she says.

It wasn’t until secondary school when she threw a book at a math teacher that her mother finally took her for evaluation.

She was diagnosed ADHD and put on medication.

“The Ritalin brought me to a point where I could focus, read thick textbooks and have social skills,” says Auguste, recalling that she didn’t know how to cope with people who weren’t nice to her.

Auguste’s life has been a series of weird, sad, unfortunate and funny moments. And through it all she laughed.

“I am not a crier. I tend to make fun of awkward situation because they seem to happen to me too often to mention,” she says, listing a series of life’s unfortunate moments such as her shortlived attempt to forge a career in real estate, the time she ran away from home as a child, broke into a neighbour’s home and helped herself to a lollipop, and her impersonations of Weird Al Yankovich.

It was during dinner with friends that they convinced her to get into comedy.  That was actually the subject of the last conversation she had with the late Express Woman Editor, Angela Martin-Hinds, who had tried to convince her that is a direction she should go.

Come Friday night, Auguste will take the plunge. Whether her show is successful or not, at least she tried, she says.

On one of her last posts on Facebook before her show, she wrote:

“As she Deep breathes. Time to let go and let God. Look at it as a lime and you're just talking to 100 of your closest friends. No biggie. Swear ADHD impulsivity does send me down some kinda risky roads. LOL. My Guardian Angel musbe fed up of me by now. But how can you know if you're good at something if you don't take a risk and try.”

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