Solutionist Thinking with RMB is a thirteen-episode podcast series hosted by Bruce Whitfield focusing on the great South African minds who are thinking differently and going against the norm. In the third episode, Whitfield interviews the ultimate outside insider – John Vlismas.
Born to hard-working entrepreneurs for parents, John Vlismas lived his young life mirroring his father’s image as a hustling outsider – after he was technically kicked out of Durban High School.
Armed with just a ‘brochure in drama,’ John found comfort in isolation as he navigated the lonely life of an outsider trying to carve his own path in the world.
As it would, John became a non-conformist attempting to value himself according to conventional standards. But, he says, it didn’t work.
I had a crisis of competence.— John Vlismas, South African stand-up comedian
Diagnosed with severe performance anxiety at a tender age, John’s career path was a strange one. But, when he found himself being pushed to the centre of the stage, he found a sense of connection in the humour, something that ultimately helped him make a living out of laughter.
Humour’s a great envelope for very difficult conversation.— John Vlismas, South African stand-up comedian
His path wasn’t always clear, and John found himself struggling to channel the madness into constructive means, giving in to the urges that resulted in an addiction to cocaine.
When his mad years were behind him, John took the mature approach to life, channelling the elements of his addiction to create what is considered his comedy empire.
A great example of how unconventional thinking can create the unexpected John Vlismas has helped build the comedy industry from the ground up and has made a life out of embracing uncomfortable truths, looking at things from different perspectives, finding solutions, and making connections.
Listen to the full Solutionist Thinking with RMB podcast below.
This article first appeared on 702 : Solutionist Thinking: In Conversation with John Vlismas