Roasting Steve Hofmeyr

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IOL Roast Surtie Shaleen Surtie-Richards

Helen Herimbi

They say too many cooks spoil the broth. But what if it’s a roast? Then it would be nice to get as many funny people as you can.

Comedy roasts have been a staple of the American diet about as much as McDonald’s has been. Now it’s SA’s turn to jump on to the bandwagon in a mainstream way. That becomes a reality in the form of The Comedy Central Roast of Steve Hofmeyr which will play on, as the title suggests, DStv’s Comedy Central Channel next month.

As is tradition with every roast, the series of scathing attacks on one’s character and career and just about everything in-between has to to have a funny host.

To help facilitate the roast on Hofmeyr, the only chop that hasn’t been on a braai stand yet, Comedy Central has recruited SA comedy’s golden boy, Trevor Noah.

The roasters will include stand-up comedians John Vlismas, Casper de Vries and David Kau, radio and TV personality Anele Mdoda, writer and TV presenter Kuli Roberts, actress Shaleen Surtie-Richards, model and TV presenter Minki van der Westhuizen and actor Robert Whitehead.

Whitehead had already told Comedy Central that “some people say Steve is a lazy, talentless, sexist, racist Neil Diamond wannabe. I beg to differ. He’s definitely not lazy”.

When I phoned the Isidingo actor about his involvement in the show that will be filmed for television at The Lyric Theatre at Gold Reef City on September 11, Whitehead said: “I am deeply ashamed but I have to pay my dentist.”

Surtie-Richards isn’t ashamed to be a roaster at all. “I’m not really a fan of roasts,” she said. “I said ‘yes’ to being part of this because it’s someone like Steve who is up first. When I say I’ll do something, I commit.”

While she acknowledged that roasts, by their nature, are incredibly personal in their inspiration for gags, Surtie-Richards emphasised that “I don’t feel that bad about myself that I need to bring someone else down to feel good about myself. But I like to try new things. I’ve known Steve for quite a while. We met while I was still at Egoli”.

The well-known screen and stage veteran laughs when asked if she’ll be sad that people are picking on her friend. “No, I know everyone has their own opinion but I am looking forward to what other people are going to say. I also want to compare how our roast will be against the ones in America. You know, Americans are the rudest people ever. I sit there watching and they’re just laughing at everything and I wonder: ‘What’s so funny about vulgarities?’ Not that I don’t swear, but you know what I mean.”

She may not go down the swearing route when it comes to roasting the highly opinionated Hofmeyr, but she insists that “you’ll have to wait to see what I am going to say”. What she can tell us for now is: “I admire Steve for this. He’s showing that he’s a star and a good sport for even agreeing to be roasted.” We can’t wait.

‘The Comedy Central Roast of Hofmeyr’ will air on Comedy Central (DStv Channel 122) on September 24 at 9pm. To attend the show, book at Computicket.


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