First published in City Views – April Issue
David Niven once said: “Stardom is like making love in a hammock – a happy experience but one of uncertain duration.”
I totally disagree with him of course. With the right balance and focus a hammock can lend itself to hours of fun, but that’s a different story. This one is about the Mother City’s comedians.Some are ‘funny-ha ha’ and some are just ‘funny-weird’. I’ll focus on one who is ‘funny-ha ha’ for now. The devilishly talented, Mr Rob van Vuuren.You might know him better as Twakkie from The Most Amazing Show’s comedy duo, Corne and Twakkie or the winner of Strictly Come Dancing, or the presenter on SA’s Got Talent– yes, this man is not just a hat rack!
Being one of the city’s most talented performers means that Van Vuuren hasn’t got much time on his hands, well, he has a watch on his left hand but that’s about it. Nonetheless, we decided to meet up at Jardine on the corner of Bloem and Loop Street. It’s a trendy little deli which serves some of the best baked goods in town. I arrived slightly early at the hot spot deli, thinking that I would look ready and prepared when Rob joined me. I had my pen and paper handy, pretending to jot down notes but secretly I was writing my shopping list:
1 x Milk.
1 x Marmite (I need to buy a lifetime supply, so one tub will do).
My old Nokia, circa 1800, suddenly rang. It was Rob. ‘Anne, I’m so sorry. I’m running late, have a voiceover, will be there as soon as possible’. I resigned myself to twiddling my thumbs until he arrived – a talent I picked up in my Grade 6 maths class. Finally Rob appeared right in the middle of my 23rd twiddle. Not a great start to our meeting but we got cracking. I decided to kick off with some hard hitting journalism:
What’s your favourite restaurant in Cape Town?
Café Royale in Long Street for the best burgers in town.
Good thing I brought you to Jardine then.
You can make it up to me by grabbing me a cappuccino.
Off I scuttled and 10 minutes later I had our cappuccinos. Well, one latte and one cappuccino, the order was a bit complicated for the understaffed deli.
What comes to mind when I say ‘comic genius’?
Rob van Vuuren.
You’ve recently joined the team at 2Oceansvibe Radio, what are you up to there?
Well, I do a Drive time show on Thursdays from 3 – 6pm with fellow comedian Martin Evans. It’s all very anti-establishment and fun. At the moment we are desperately looking for sponsorships so please tune in and spread the word.
You’ve become a father, how’s parenthood treating you?
It has irreversibly, irrevocably changed my perspective and priority list. I have learnt to love and how to be loved. It’s the most beautiful lesson. Plus sleeping is overrated. Give me nappies over sleep any day!
I dug into my bag to see if I perhaps had a nappy but then remembered I hadn’t worn those since the early 80’s and probably won’t wear one again until my early 80’s.
What are Corne and Twakkie up to these days?
At the moment, they’re preparing for the Grahamstown festival and also just making a mess of things. At least Corne is and Twakkie is cleaning it up.
As I got up to throw away my box of juice I noticed that Rob started tweeting on his Blackberry. The man is a Twitter champion; I mean there are literally donkeys walking around in cyberspace without hind legs! We continued.
Any up and coming shows?
I’m currently working on my one man show Rob van Vuuren Live. I’ll be taking it to George and then hopefully to a theatre near you.
We both sat in silence for a few moments: him perhaps pondering why he chose to take his show to George and me wondering why George even exists.
The sudden silence marked the end of our interview. After all, Rob had to be in a million places and be funny – he truly is a comic genius! And on a more personal note I wanted to continue my thumb twiddling – I have a record of 192 to break.
Catch Rob van Vuuren at comedy clubs in the city like Purple Turtle and Zula Bar in Long Street. Phone venues for line-ups. And if you happen to live in George – we’re sorry!