US-inspired "celebrity roasts" are set to stoke the fire of various South African celebrities’ careers following the success of the first South African version of the event, which took place on Tuesday night and was "in honour" of local Afrikaans actor, singer and meddler in public affairs, Steve Hofmeyr.
Evert van der Veer, the head of Comedy Central Africa, which produced the show, said he believed the Hofmeyr event would be well-received by the public when it is broadcast on September 24, Heritage day. (Comedy Central on DStv, channel 122.)
"We want to make regular shows, involving people in entertainment here; people who South Africans laugh at," he said.
Hofmeyr was the first South African to be roasted. He was chosen because of recent publicity stunts such as when he threw tickets to Irish rock band U2’s concert in SA last year into the Jukskei river, following comments by the band’s singer, Bono, about local politics. He also tweeted about retailer Woolworths’ hiring policies with respect to race. His love life also hit tabloids (again) following a recent divorce.
His roasters included South African veteran comedians John Vlismas, David Kau and Casper de Vries; TV presenter and socialite, Kuli Roberts; Robert Whitehead who acts on the soap opera, Isidingo; soapie actress Sharleen Surtie-Richards; model, Minkie van der Westhuizen; and 94.7 Highveld Stereo radio DJ, Anele Mdoda. The roast-master was up and coming comedian, Trevor Noah. Noah was the first South African comic to appear on US late night show The Tonight Show with Jay Leno this year and, following a good reception there, on comedienne Chelsea Handler’s late night show, Chelsea Lately.
The jokes were, as expected and as befit a roast, adult in nature and "hopefully some people took offence, in line with the spirit of the show", Mr van der Veer said.
Some jokes also had audience members giving standing ovations — such as those poking fun at comedians in the audience (who didn’t make it on to the stage) and one in which de Vries said: "Vlismas’s existence is proof that Satan f**ks rats".
Vlismas could take jokes and dish them out with aplomb. He said van der Westhuizen was a coat hanger with a p**sy and very low IQ. The gap in Mdoda’s teeth sprung jokes such at being best used as a bottle opener.
Hofmeyr was feared not to be able to handle the barrage of verbal abuse sent his way. He has been called racist and sexist for saying things such as: "I’m yet to find a white man, who’d want to rape a black person". Yet, he held his own at the roast. This was despite being called a closet Western Province rugby fan when he has written songs about the Pretoria Blue Bulls, a wife-beater, a chauvinist, a paedophile who tried to sleep with van der Westhuizen when she was in school, and a man with hundreds of illegitimate children.
Vlismas said Hofmeyr cried when he came during sex, which caused Hofmeyr to grimace but not jump out of his chair and beat Vlismas up. But he nearly lost his cool when Vlismas made a reference to Zulu chief, Dingaan having shoved a panga up Afrikaner leader, Piet Retief’s arse at the Battle of Blood River. Hofmeyr then made Vlismas eat his words by shoving his notes in his mouth.
Later, at the post-show press conference, Hofmeyr said he felt like "moering" Vlismas but made the right decision not to ruin the rest of the broadcast by doing so.
(Kuli) Roberts got nearly as much punishment as Hofmeyr with Noah saying things such as her vagina got so much action from white men, it had its own car guard and that she was a drunk, a racist and a sex addict who ruined TV presenter, Paul Vivian’s career.
All in all, a good night was had by all (except Hofmeyr).