In my book, there are two types of comedians – the ones that look funny and the ones that are really funny. Meren Reddy is both. In his latest quest, Reddy forms part of a comical cast of the interesting show Sketch U Later.
“It is interesting that SABC 3 actually agreed to take on such a risky project with the way South Africa is made up of conservative people,” said Reddy.
Sketch U Later is an amalgamation of different skits that poke fun at everything and anything under the sun. It is, like Reddy said, something in the vein of Little Britain.
“We have a number of segments which include The Real Housewives of Eldorado Park, The Real housewives of Jay Zee and Public Service Lady, among others. I play three different women in the various segments,” he said.
“We are good at poking fun at SA as a whole. We are tired of those black or white kids running through the fields with My African Dream playing. We want to reflect on things that happen to us now and not those imposed on us by foreign media,” he said.
That said, some hindrances stand in their creative way. Meren feels that the amount of contro- versy – especially when it comes to making fun of the presidency – might affect the show’s potential.
“Sadly there are some holy cows that we can’t touch. After the ‘Spear’ ordeal, it has been hard for the comic to say something and not have to answer for it.
“Personally, I think that painting ruined it for us. It has made anything around the president sensitive, so much that even if you say the most harmless thing, you might be brought to questioning. I don’t know, maybe am just a bitter artist,” he said.
So the process of writing Sketch U Later is one where the writers are ever-aware of what is deemed sensitive and otherwise.
“We have had to can some sketches because it was agreed that they were a bit too much. It is disheartening, but you have to just stop yourself and think of something else that might work,” he explained.
Though the show may have new faces every episode, there are some recurring characters that feature every week.
“The regular characters never change. They react to situations the way they are expected to. We thought it best to leave them in so that the viewers can grow with the personalities through familiarising with them,” he said.
The cast includes petite comic Thomas Gumede and the lovely Nolly Meje.
These actors, Reddy feels, help add to the authenticity and relevancy of the show.
“We are affected by the things that the US and the UK dump on us at the expense of South African material. If you are going to tell a joke in South Africa, tell me about being on William Nicol and someone tried to sell me a feather duster. We have all seen that happen before and so when it is told like that it makes more sense,” he said.
Apart from TV, Reddy is busy with rehearsals for an upcoming play at the Lyric Theatre at Gold Reef City Casino, which will start at the end of the month.
• Sketch U Later premieres on July 5 on SABC3.