David Kau is a household name in South Africa. He has planted deep footprints in his 19 years in the entertainment industry. He has worn the hat of creator, producer and director.
That’s not forgetting his earlier TV shows, The Pure Monate Show, which he did with Kagiso Lediga back in the early 2000s, and So You Think You’re Funny, which was an SABC1 reality series he hosted and on which he was a judge.
Of course, he is legend when he is on stage doing stand-up.
Interestingly, its been nine years since he has been on TV.
On returning with It’s OK, We’re Family, he reveals: “Kamscilla Naidoo (the series producer) came up with the idea. I’ve been asking her advice on a movie that I’ve been trying to make for the last 10 years. It’s a road-trip movie with Skwatta Kamp. And there were a couple of other films.”
This sitcom-meets-talk show follows YouTube blogger David Kau doing a TV series while, at the same time, trying to make a movie. He does this at home, which also doubles as his office. His sister Leshae K (Natasha Thahane) is a social media celebrity. Banks, cast as Basil Kauwitz, is their adoptive Jewish father.
David Kau, Mark Banks and Natasha Thahane. Picture: Supplied
In many ways, this series can be likened to a cross between The Kumars at No. 42 and Episodes (with Friends star Matt LeBlanc).
Kau says: “David is more of an exaggerated version (of me) if I was living in the industry. I’m playing a character based on me. But this David doesn’t have a wife and kids.
Those that know me in real life know that I have a wife and kids but my wife didn’t want to be on the show. In the show, I’m still a comedian trying to make a movie.
There are guests from the industry who come to my house to be a part of the show or the movie. I would say The Kumars at No. 42 is probably the best reference.”
Given his wealth of experience in exploring different facets of the industry, Kau is comfortable in any role. This one is no different. And there’s plenty of comedy to be extracted from the setup.
He explains, “Natasha is 21 and I’m 39. So already, she could be my sister. I’ve cousins that age now. I like her acting. I’ve seen her in The Queen and Skeem Saam.”
In the show, Leshae K is famous on social media. But not everyone knows her in the traditional sense.
Kau reveals Banks was the second stand-up comedian he met when he was starting out 19 years ago. At that time, the comedy scene was not very big. And Banks was a legend to Kau and other newcomers of the time.
David Kau and Mark Banks. Picture: Supplied
He says: “He’s always been a sort of father-figure/ mentor in my life. I always thought he would play my father in some ridiculous movie. When we started working on this show, I said, ‘You have to bring Mark Banks. He is one of the funniest comedians I know, even offscreen.’”
Viewers are going to love the guests on the show, too. We are talking Riaad Moosa, Chris Forrest, Jessica Nkosi, Lorcia Cooper, Joey Rasdien, Fiona Ramsay, Shaleen Surtie-Richards, Akin Omotoso and, of course, Lediga, among others.
Although Kau’s father and sister have their own things going on, career-wise, they nevertheless shamelessly ingratiate themselves into his talk show.
He laughs: “They are freeloading and obviously trying to hijack my show. That is the sitcom part. For the talk show, we have all these people that I’m trying to make the movie with. It could be me asking Akin for advice or Kagiso to produce with me. And he then decides he wants to direct. He thinks he can be better.”
Some of his friendships with the guests go back more than a decade, even two. So it wasn’t difficult to decide on who he wanted on the show.
David Kau, Mark Banks Picture: Supplied
And because the scriptwriters have taken all of this into account, the narrative lends itself wonderful to plenty of comic situations.
Kau also gets to pull his hair out in frustration in dealing with one too many divas wanting to be the lead.
It’s OK, We’re Family borrows from the real-life frustrations of a budding film-maker but the drama is wonderfully offset by well-timed comedy. Kau (in character) might not be laughing, but we will!
* It’s OK, We’re Family airs on SABC3 on Fridays, starting from tomorrow, at 7.30pm.