BACKSTORY: Nik Rabinowitz — comedian
We question comedian Nic Rabinowitz
What’s your one top tip for doing a deal?
Depends who you’re in business with. If it’s with my children I find screen time is always a great sweetener.
How much was your first pay cheque, and how did you spend it?
If we’re going with a very loose definition of "pay cheque" it was either for river guiding, house-sitting or gardening. I don’t remember which, but I can tell you it wasn’t organic gardening that I did, and I was a terribly irresponsible house-sitter and a pathetically underqualified river guide. The first official pay cheque was for about R4,000. I’d started working for a travelling theatre company as its driver/bookkeeper/tent assembler/lighting and sound technician/game spotter/long-drop digger. I may have spent it on "ginny vodkas" at an establishment called Flatdogs in the Luangwa Valley in Zambia. My first paid comedy gig was for R100 for a set at the Armchair Theatre in about 2002. I probably spent the money on fines for returning DVDs too late to the Blockbuster shop.
Would you consider sharing royalties with Jacob Zuma, as he is selling his socks to pay legal fees and he provided such great material for comedians?
No, he left us high and dry, so actually I think he owes all comedians workman’s compensation. I’m thinking of taking him to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation & Arbitration.
How would you fix Eskom?
Hire a CEO with dragons. At best, we could save on diesel and the dragons can power our coal-fired generators. At worst, they can burn the whole thing to the ground, so we can start again. Where is Khaleesi of Game of Thrones when you need her?
What do you love most about SA?
We love it no matter what it does to us. Even when it doesn’t love us back.
What’s the most interesting thing about you that people don’t know?
How the hell should I know? Do I need a BA in philosophy? I went to a Waldorf school, where I learnt how to assess how many hairballs a cat has to cough up for me to gather enough fibre to crochet my own underpants.
What has been your worst purchase?
In London I once bought a scarf that I thought cost £10 but in fact cost £100. I didn’t realise it until I got home. I hate that scarf. I wear it every day.
How would you close the gap between SA’s rich and its poor?
I’d get the rich people to stop making money for a while so we can all catch up.
Do you give to charity?
I do. It’s one of the 617 mitzvahs (good deeds) you’re supposed to do as a Jewish person. And they keep telling me I need to practise being Jewish. I don’t know how much practice you need before they actually let you be Jewish.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
An ability to be totally calm in the face of stress. I think we need to learn to embrace hysteria.
Who would you rather have dinner with: Zuma, Julius Malema, Donald Trump, Boris Johnson or Kim Jong-un?
Julius Malema — I’m hoping he can give me tips on how to get back my land in Lithuania.
• Rabinowitz’s show Late Bloomer will be on at the Baxter Theatre, Cape Town, from November 26 until December 14
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