It was barely a week after we had published a story about the upcoming Comedy Central Roast taking on Leon Schuster when news broke that the prankster film-maker would not be taking part. Apparently his doctor has booked him off for the rest of the year.
“You can’t mess around with someone’s health,” said Evert van der Veer, the head of Comedy Central, Africa.
He’s the same person we had spoken to a week earlier and we probed him about not revealing the truth before Tonight went to print.
“We were as surprised as you. I think it was about two days after we spoke that the letter came in and we got a call from Leon apologising that he can’t take part anymore.
“You must remember, we spent a lot of money on the promos for this show and we would not have done this knowing he wasn’t going to pitch,” said Van der Veer.
But how hard is to be a roastee? What will you have to do if you are on the show, given that you are only there to be made fun of while sitting in a chair?
“The pain is in the preparation. There are a lot of meetings, photo shoots and interviews the roastee has to do well before the show starts and this would affect Leon in a negative way.
“He has been booked to rest and we do not want to go against that. We hope he’s the third roastee next year, but for now we have to let him be,” explained Van der Veer.
To save face and have the show go on, the Comedy Central team went back to the suggestions from the public and Kenny Kunene’s was the next most popular person.
“Kenny Kunene has a colourful career, and there has been a huge buzz about him for the longest time.
“The poll we took showed he is the favourite and he agreed to be on the show so we will go with that.”
Kunene stated he was happy to be on the show because it was part of his plan to give to charity.
“I only agreed to sit there and have people mock me if Comedy Central agreed to donate some of the proceeds to a charity of my choice in Alexandra,” said Kunene.
Given that the media have been on his case since his eating-sushi-on-naked-women days, there is much that can be said about Kunene, but surprisingly the man is not bothered.
“I am an open book so there is really nothing these people can say on the night that no one knows already. I have left my sushi days behind me, but they still call me the Sushi King so there is really nothing to say. You can’t roast sushi, you will have a runny tummy,” he said confidently.
That said, he pointed out that there will be boundaries as to what folk can or cannot say on the night.
“This show is about me so I want people to leave out my family, my kids, my wife, my ex-wife, my friends and my brothers. These are all out of bounds and I hope people respect that,” he said.
He also said there are people who he would love to roast him and those he wouldn’t.
“I wish they would add Deborah Patta there because I know she wanted to roast me on 3rd Degree and never got the chance.
“I don’t ever want to see that man called Loyiso Gola. I think he is an angry man masquerading as a comedian.
“He disrespected me at an e.tv event a few years ago and e.tv did nothing so I have ruled him out. If they have him there I can’t be part of it,” he said.
• The second Comedy Central's African Roast will be held on April 3 at the Lyric Theatre, Gold Reef City, Joburg. Tickets will be available at Computicket from the end of the month. The show will be broadcast on Comedy Central (DStv channel 122) on April 28 at 9pm.