Kurt Schoonraad of “Going Nowhere Slowly” is probably one of South Africa’s best known comedians and entertainers. He recently performed in Durban and had the crowd in stitches. The Weekly Gazette finally managed to get him to answer some questions in this long-overdue interview.
WG: You are probably best known for your show “Going Nowhere Slowly”. Tell us a little bit about that. It looked like loads of fun.
Kurt Schoonrad (KS): “Going Nowhere Slowly” was one of the best projects I got to tackle in my career. I have been to some of the most amazing places, met some awesome people. It was a privilege indeed. That show also proved that we can do a world class quality show by SA’cans, in South Africa.
WG: Where is the car used in the show? In your garage, I hope.
KS: The car, “Chillie-pepper,” is still owned by the creator of the show, David Moore. I believe it lives at a hotel he owns in Sutherland.
WG: I sometimes wonder how do you guys come up with such fabulously, ridiculously hilarious
KS: I believe that comedians are mediums for funny to come through, funny conduits as it were. The comedy happens all around us everyday. We hold up the proverbial mirror to audiences and go: “this is what you do and this is what you sound like while you are doing it.”
WG: When did you start out as a comedian, and how did you get into this profession? Your first show?
KS: My first show was in 1999 at a talent show. My girlfriend at the time dared me to try out and I got in. The rest is proverbial history.
WG: What if I became president and banned comedy, would you join a political party and start a revolution?
KS: Comedy and politics are inseparable! It is the same thing.
WG: But seriously, what would your life be like without comedy?
KS: I would most definitely be in sales somewhere. And secretly want to be a comedian.
WG: You are from Mitchell’s Plain in Cape Town, what was life like growing up there?
KS: It was great growing up there. We had a great sense of community. There was always something to do, somewhere to go to and lots of friends to do it with. I have not lived in MP for more than twenty years, so I am not sure what it is like there now. I heard that It can be quite dangerous.
WG: Were you known as the funny kid, or were you bullied at school?
KS: I was the class clown and fortunately that is why I was not bullied.
WG: Who is Kurt Schoonraad?
KS: Man, dad, son, brother, comedian, actor, entrepreneur, chronic optimist, part-time a@#hole.
WG: Married with children, or single and bilingual?
KS: I am in a long term life partnership of 16 years with my partner Katrin and we have an eight-year-old son, Jack. He speaks four languages.
WG: You run the Cape Town Comedy Club? How has that developed over the years?
KS: I am no longer involved in the day-to-day running of the business. I am focusing on my personal career now. I still own it, and we have a great team that runs it. The Cape Town Comedy Club was recently voted in the top ten comedy clubs in the world by an international group. We are really proud to be the only comedy venue in Africa to feature.
WG: Why the name change?
KS: Its previous name “Jou Ma Se Comedy Club” was great as an underground comedy movement when we were doing the pop up venues. When we settled in the very commercial V and A Waterfront, we needed a name that was a little more mainstream and easier to understand. Also, tourists have a hard time trying to explain, “jou ma se” anything. With the name “Cape Town” attached to the comedy club’s name we feature higher up on the searches.
WG: Who is your favourite international act?
KS: I love the classics. Cosby, Connoly, Prior.
WG: How easy, or difficult, is it for comedians in our country to make the cut?
KS: When I started there were only a few of us,10 maybe, and a huge demand for SA comedy. It is a lot harder now and much more competitive. It also takes longer to crack the nod.
WG: You are an actor too. 2011’s “Skeem” had an interesting plot with an unexpected ending. How did you land that role?
KS: The director Tim Greene said he wrote that character “Richie Rich” for me. He needed a bad guy that could have been a good guy, had his circumstances been better. Either way, it was it was a real accolade to play one of the leads in such an awesome movie, with such an amazing cast. That movie offered the best talent our country had at the time.
WG: You probably have one of the most recognisable faces in the country. Do girls just come up to you in public to kiss you or pose for selfies?
KS: Pose for selfies, yes. The rest only happens in the movies.
WG: Do you know what grandma said about “selfies”?
KS: “You’ll get hairy palms my boy!”
WG: What would be your random act of kindness?
KS: Comedy to the comedy challenged, every day bru.
Movie: The Usual Suspects.
Food: Sushi or a great curry, sorry can’t choose.
Actor: Christopher Walken.
Holiday destination: Thailand, so far….
Place to chill: My man cave at home.