The Award Winning Podcast – Season 2 – Episode 11 – Casper De Vries

In the 80s and 90s you couldn’t move without seeing the name Casper De Vries. He was a mainstream comedy legend, while also somehow maintaining his anarchic sensibilities, and off-the-wall persona. It’s safe to say Casper helped found the alternative comedy scene in SA, and, even today this Lifetime Achiever recipient at the Comic’s Choice Awards continues to inspire. As a podcast host himself on Cliffcentral, Casper is a breath of fresh air as he goes into depth about his career, that movie with Leon Schuster and a whole lot more. Unmissable.

Predicting This World Cup

Shortly before the beginning of the World Cup former wife of John Lennon and renowned football pundit Yoko Ono unashamedly put forward her opinion as to who the eventual winner would be.

Even though I had “A child who believes in a peaceful world” in our football pool, I was delighted to see tears on his little optimistic face as he was knocked out on penalties in the second round. I am not sure what Yoko Ono was thinking trying to predict football, she is clearly no octopus.

In 2010 an octopus named Paul correctly predicted all of Germany’s results and that Spain would win the tournament. He died of natural causes with a prediction record stained by only a few bad decisions. This time a giant Pacific octopus in Japan named Rabio accurately predicted all three of Japan’s group stage matches, before being chopped up and eaten prior to Japan’s second-round clash. It’s a sad reflection of the times that we don’t even have enough respect for a magical octopus to wait until after the tournament to eat him.

Apart from showing that had Pikachu actually been discovered in Japan Ash Ketchum would probably have been unimpressed and, eaten him with lashes of soy sauce, this story of the Japanese Octopus is also something of a conundrum. For one thing, because he was an octopus, and therefore incapable of human speech, we will never know if he could predict his own grisly demise.

Was he a hapless, unknowing victim of his captor’s meat-cleaver? Or, was he, as I like to think, fully aware of what was to happen to him the whole time? Perhaps he knew that like Paul, psychic abilities only last so long, wrong answers were around the corner, and, true to his Japanese culture, unable to face the shame of his own inevitable failures, he orchestrated his own demise by peeing on his captor’s rug? It is a noble end, and, now that she too has been proven wrong, one another Japanese football pundit, Yoko Ono should consider. You broke up the Beatles Yoko! It’s time to go.

 

 

 

Lifetimes In One Place

 

Charity shops make me sad. Sectioned in small, out of the way complexes, they are stocked with boxes of unused donations and detail lives, and moments, that were once precious, but are now marked down to just R5. Edwardian wigs, a VHS titled “Diana: The People’s Princess”, pottery figures of once brightly coloured clowns, second-hand sex toys, a rhino horn ashtray, a taxidermied squirrel  – and this is only the stuff I brought in.

These shops feel like forgotten places. Always inexplicably cold, they smell of moth-balls, dust, and Helen Zille’s Twitter account. The customers are a mixture of the kind of people you expect to see talking about past lives in a teepee at a music festival, and retirees who walked through the door in 1967 and have long since given up trying to find their way out. If you leave a rubbish bag filled with a deceased person’s clothes unopened in a charity store for long enough, it will gain sentience, stand up and start working the till.

Despite all this, there is a poignancy to charity shops. It’s difficult to see a Rosewood box of old silver cutlery gathering dust, and not think of the person to whom this was a treasured possession. Undoubtedly it lived in a locked cupboard and was only unpacked when special guests came over, yet now it competes for space with broken plastic kids toys, yellowing pulp-fiction paperbacks, and humorous paragraph ending punchlines.

I am reminded while in these spaces that treasuring things is pointless, as ultimately I will die and the items I keep close to my heart will just become someone else’s burden to be packed in a box and donated to charity. As a result, a visit there functions the same way a near-death experience must. I always leave blinking into the sun, thanking my lucky stars that I am both alive and mentally tough enough to avoid buying a dusty bonnet filled with plastic flowers. I do however miss that ashtray.

 

I’m Too Good For This

As a newly single person, I have naturally tried out Tinder – if by “tried out” I really mean, “swiped silently left for hours on end while descending into deeper and deeper pits of existential despair”. Wave after wave of potentially wonderful people pass beneath my grubby Nik-Nak stained fingers, swiped forever into some nameless void, from where they will inevitably only return a few weeks later, this time with a new profile picture of themselves stroking a lion cub.

“Don’t worry about the man next to me whose head I have cropped out of the picture in which I am wearing a wedding dress. He is nothing. A mere step towards the happiness we will inevitably be forced to endure,” the profiles all seem to say – their blank-faced yoghurt commercial faces covered in so many photo filters the rabbit ears are the most realistic part.  Some of them aren’t that subtle – “swipe left if …” they state openly before delivering a grocery list of previous grievances. “No married men, cheaters, poor people, fuck bois, liberals, conservatives, short men, posers, anarchist revolutionaries….”. I don’t even read them, I just swipe left assuming I inevitably fall into at least one of the categories on the list.

Why are any of us there? I doubt anyone downloads Tinder dreaming of the day they hear their best-man say, “I remember the day he told me they had met on Tinder”.  Why do we do it? Who are these people who, like me, have signed up to be swiped so far left they get berets in the post from the EFF?

Perhaps we all have too much self-esteem for Tinder? Maybe we really think that four-year-old photo of us holding aloft a fish on the one happy day of our lives will open up a world of soulful romantic connections? If we do, we are undoubtedly wrong. “I love wine and laughing,” says every single bio written by people either too boring to have any real interests, or prepared to cast the net out wide enough to snare absolutely every single person in the world.

Turning on the Tinder app should activate the front camera on your phone thereby forcing you to engage with the mess you have made of your life while you are busy judging others, or maybe, just maybe, we should abandon it entirely and start going on the dates our friends and family recommend?

The Award Winning Podcast – Season 2 – Episode 10 – Schalk Bezuidenhout

Schalk Bezuidenhout is a well known name to Kyknet viewers, festival goers, and Huisgenoot readers and is one of the most popular Afrikaans comedians today. Here he chats about his life in the spotlight, and that time he had to get circumcised.

How I Became Famous

Americans insist that one must “fake it to make it”. As a professional comedian, this is quite likely good advice. Some of the worst entertainers I know have made it to television, magazines and glory simply through putting up big signs with their faces on, buying a hundred thousand Twitter followers and telling anyone who will listen that they are talented, but I am not built that way. I was brought up to learn that boasting was uncouth and as such would far rather be at home watching Netflix than strutting a red carpet dressed in meat.

As a result, I probably should have been surprised a few years back when I was invited to participate in my first celebrity charity golf day. A total of 24 “celebs” – ranging from sports stars to former news readers, and musicians – had been chosen to participate. Each of us was to be teamed with three players, presumably to fill their days with magic and give them someone to beat. I was casually swinging my driver at the tee when the first couple of my group’s players walked up and introduced themselves. We chatted for a few minutes, I threw in some jokes about golf and things seemed to be going off well, when suddenly one of them said, “I think I saw Victor Mattfield up there. I wonder who our celebrity will be.” I took it in my stride, nodded, and said, “here he comes now” pointing to the straggler in our fourball who was just arriving. I spent the rest of the day digging my ball out of the rough and helping the guys guess just who this new stranger might be. “Wasn’t he on Agter Elke Man?” I said at one point. The other two shrugged, and I knew I had probably gotten away with it.

If I were to obey that dictum in the opening line of this article, this would be the paragraph in which I tell you how, since those first humble beginnings, my fame is now shooting into the stratosphere, and brands are clamouring to get a little piece of me at home in my meat suit. I would describe the lavish red carpet movie premiers (I didn’t make the cut for Black Panther, but did find myself sitting next to someone I think I recognised from a TV advert on the opening night of The Emoji Movie), the free gifts (I was once accidentally sent a pair of large brand running shoes, that fell apart long before they saw the inside of a gym) and the lavish book launches (I didn’t go and Chris Forrest still owes me my copy of Jen Su‘s “From Z to A Lister: How To Get on the Social Scene”).

Perhaps if I had collected, and read, my Jen Su book I would now be paid to market product to the various collection of middle-aged male computer game enthusiasts, engineers, train set hobbyists, rock collectors, card game nerds, sci-fi fanatics and neck-beards (collectively known as MAMCGEETSHRCCGNSCFNBs) that, judging by the people who recognise me in public, seem to exclusively make up my viewing public. In a way, I am glad I haven’t been though. If there is one group that can easily see through a cheap influencer Twitter campaign it’s MAMCGEETSHRCCGNSCFNBs and the last thing I want to do is disappoint my MAMCGEETSHRCCGNSCFNBs.

Note the subtle shift in the last paragraph to “my MAMCGEETSHRCCGNSCFNBs”. This was intentional. Lady Gaga has her “litte monsters”, Beyonce has “The BeyHive” and now I have “The MAMCGEETSHRCCGNSCFNBs”. With this one small shift, fame is inevitable. Until it happens though, I will be at home watching Netflix.

How To Name The Airport

Politicians are the worst people. At 18 they head to university determined to join the various political party youth structures because at that stage they presume themselves to be already all-knowing, and capable. They leave school believing wholeheartedly that what the world needs is their input, as they know what’s best for you and I. At 18, with no world experience, they think they should be leading you. Over the years we load these mini-narcissists with money and power, and then we are surprised when things get more messed up than beer and candles night at a convent.

Politicians are single-handedly responsible for everything awful that has ever happened. Wars, corruption, apartheid, the Holocaust,  and this Jacob Zuma statue – all these things came about because of the decisions made by people who should never have been given power in the first place.

As a society, we repeatedly elect the worst of humanity, then watch as these mini-tyrants tear their countries apart, and celebrate their own greatness by naming everything after themselves, and their friends. Every government building, every airport, and every stadium gets to be named after them, inspiring yet more people who want things named after them to go into politics. Isn’t it time to stop empowering these madmen?

Now there are calls to rename the Cape Town International Airport and, unlike Britain who would no doubt have wanted it hilariously named Airporty McAirportFace, our suggestions are 99% in honour of other politicians and freedom fighters. If we want to encourage the right people to go into power, we need to avoid honouring them. We need to switch off their access to the front pages, tune down the honorifics we pay them, and have them do more work, and less talking. Let the humble seek power. The only things we should name after politicians are natural disasters because like politicians they are brutal, expensive, and infinitely worse for the poor.

Instead, we should be honouring the people that make us proud to be South African. Like me. As someone who has tirelessly, and humbly worked to achieve acclaim, I think we can all agree that I deserve something way bigger than merely having my name on an airport. So while we wait for the inevitable 300-metre high statue to me to be constructed on Table Mountain may I suggest that we name the airport, and all future buildings, after those who through their endeavours have lifted our country’s name high around the world?

I would love to land at Hugh Masekela International, or indeed any airport named after legendary artists, sportsmen, scientists and authors. Who would argue that Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Ingrid Jonker, Brenda Fassie, Nadine Gordimer, Athol Fugard, Caster Semenya, Hashim Amla, Vusi Mahlasela, Aaron Klug, Abdullah Ibrahim, Sydney Bremmer, and countless others would deserve to be remembered, and honoured in this way?

I understand the need to respect people who dedicated their lives to give us the country we currently have, but our inability to honour anyone other than them reveals a gaping, and dangerous one-dimensionality in our thinking. By my estimates, two-thirds of things in this country are named after Nelson Mandela, but we don’t have a single significant tribute to Miriam Makeba. As long as we honour only warriors and politicians, and neglect those who bring beauty to our country we tacitly tell our children that the arts, peace,  and scientific endeavour are unimportant. We need to do something to ensure this is not the impression they are getting urgently, and the gigantic solid gold, mechanised statue of me just isn’t enough.

Missed Opportunities

Paarl resident Tamaryn Green was this weekend named Miss SA, and while friends, family, Western Cape locals and most of the country was lauding the medical student for her achievements, a small minority were wondering how in this day and age we could still be celebrating something as archaic, and fundamentally wrong as Paarl. Apparently, Tamaryn took home Miss SA, and Miss Universe South Africa, while the runner-up Thulisa Keyi won the Miss World SA title, which makes about as much sense as the fact that these things exist in the first place. Doesn’t being the best in the universe also necessitate being the best in the world? Tamaryn is the best in the universe from South Africa.

Being the best in the universe from South Africa must feel like a special achievement, even to someone who is going to become a doctor one day, and whose old boyfriends are currently clamouring to be recognised on Twitter. That’s the kind of respect I crave, and as such, I started investigating whether or not 2019 could be my year to become Miss SA. It seems not. While at first, I was excited, “You must have no visible tattoos or criminal record”, my hopes were quickly dashed by the fact that you can be no older than 27 and must have never been married.  So I started looking at the requirements for the notoriously low budget, old people’s version of the competition “Mrs South Africa”. Again I am afraid I struck out. While I am between the ages of 24 and 49, and like to think I am “A role model for married women in our country” I am unfortunately not “Beautiful inside and out”, “Hard working and ambitious” or “A strong, successful woman”.

Probably the best part about being the best in the universe from South Africa for anything is that when you die you are guaranteed to get a mention in a newspaper. Some journalist who hasn’t even been born yet will smash out a quick 200 words on the fact that you won, had three marriages, eleven kids, and died walking into the sea. It must be a comfort to her to know that the sooner she dies the longer the story will be.

At 39 I am already too old to be Miss SA and other doors have shut on me permanently too. For starters, I have missed the 27 club by more than a decade. Johann Ackerman was 37 when he became the oldest person to ever play rugby for the Springboks, meaning my total lack of interest or sporting talent are no longer the only things excluding me from the green and gold. I will never be a child prodigy and unless Prince Phillip dies soon I will also never be likely to marry into the British Royal Family.

No, I am afraid the only way left to me to guarantee myself a spot in the newspaper when I die is to form a suicide cult. So if you aren’t doing anything else send your cult application to warren@warrenrobertson.co.za. Sadly, fellow old people, applications are restricted to those who are young, beautiful, and not from Paarl.

 

 

 

The Only Way To Stop A Bad Guy With A Gun…

I don’t understand America’s obsession with the phrase “The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun”, and I don’t mean simply because it seems to be a confusing thing to say after every school shooting they have.

Let’s assume that the logic behind the saying is sound for a minute, that arming teachers with their own guns will mean that bad kids with guns will be stopped in their tracks before they can do murder on their fellow students, surely we should still take it a step further? Wouldn’t it make more sense to actually arm the teachers better than the students who have guns? If your wife was facing off against a madman with a knife, surely you would give her a gun rather than a knife of her own – given the choice, and assuming you are the same kind of coward I am who wouldn’t offer to fight him in her stead?

America doesn’t go to war against anyone without being sure they have better weapons and greater numbers than their opposition, so why are they including a fair play clause in the teacher vs student shootouts? Surely this saying should be, “The only good way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with laser guided nuclear warheads” or better yet, “The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy in some kind of mechanised gundam suit with arms made out of laser cannons?”.  There is no 14 year old with a tog bag full of guns who could take on an squadron of teachers flying F-16s. “The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with an army of battle-armoured velociraptors“.

Honestly it’s this kind of narrow world thinking that has America stranded and watching the same school shooting  every week on their news. The only thing the saying “The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun” is good for is selling more guns. Instead of empowering the same NRA cadres after every shooting, why not invest in some decent start ups to make the teachers not only the equal of a gun toting teen, but his superior. The stock exchange would boom as companies entered the market making bullet proof robot geography teachers, interstellar “bad guy with a gun” laser targeting systems, and problem student decapitation collars.

The other option is of course the one proposed by snowflake liberal cucks like myself in which America just takes away the guns from the students, or at least make it a lot harder for them to buy them. At the moment a six year old can buy an assault rifle with her tooth fairy money, and gun enthusiasts don’t want that to change. What they don’t understand is that if they are right, and  taking away guns from scholars won’t lower the number of attacks, then it will at least make them more interesting. I am sure we are all bored as hell of the same story happening over and over again.  Rather than watch the news to only see the aftermath of yet another schooting (a portmanteau of school and shooting, that I am leaving behind as my gift to humanity) we could all track the killer student as he stalked through the ventilation system leaping on popular kids with a sharpened stick and a Taser.

Oh what a wonderful world it could be, but doubtless, despite offering two win-win answers to this problem, those NRA haters will say I am wrong.