Popular South African stand-up comic and actor David Kau recently embarked on his
first feature film project, Taxi Ride, which he produced and directed. Earlier in his
career he co-created and produced the television comedy series, The Pure Monate
HOW DID YOU GO FROM SUCCESSFUL COMEDIAN TO FILMMAKER?
I’ve always wanted to make movies. Fellow comedian Kagiso Lediga and I met 18
years ago and we actually wanted to make films before we even knew we would end
up being comedians. It’s really about making people laugh – from there we chose
whether we want to do it through stand-up comedy, a sketch comedy show on TV, or
a film. We have a lot of jokes and / or material that will work better as a film.
HOW DID YOU COME TO CALL YOUR PRODUCTION COMPANY DISADVANTAGED
When I started doing stand-up comedy 14 years ago I created a character called
Previous Lee Disadvantaged as part of my one-man show to graduate from UCT drama
school. It was a great time to be previously disadvantaged or know someone who
was. Naming a company after that was a definite win-win and it’s funny! It does the
job with just the introduction.
WAS TAXI RIDE INSPIRED BY A TAXI RIDE?
Taxi Ride was inspired by the pay-TV channel Mzansi Magic’s R100 000 budget for a
60-minute feature film. I put together a couple of ideas that would allow me to tell a
story using just one location to cut down costs. One of the ideas was to tell the story
of being a passenger in a “Black taxi’. If you get to the taxi rank first you have to wait
for the taxi to become full before it leaves, and you actually don’t know if it will be
full on the day!
WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM THE MAKING OF TAXI RIDE?
I learnt that it’s impossible to make a film for R100 000. But more importantly I
learnt that I can make a movie for any amount of money by applying the same
principles and ideas that I was forced to apply when making Taxi Ride.
DO YOU GET THE UNCONTROLLABLE URGE TO TELL JOKES ON SET?
Not at all – I have perfected timing and place when it comes to telling jokes.
AS A FAMOUS COMEDIAN, HOW DO YOU GET PEOPLE TO TAKE YOU SERIOUSLY?
I send them a quotation for 30 minutes of stand-up comedy.
DOES ONE ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO HAVE AN INATE KNACK FOR COMEDY, OR IS IT
SOMETHING THAT CAN BE LEARNT?
There has to be something that makes it easy for you to do comedy in order for
people to think they can’t learn it. If you think you learnt to be funny it’s probably
because you were funny all along.
IF YOU COULD HAVE ANY FILMMAKER SUPER POWER, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
WHAT ARE YOUR TOP COMEDY FILMS (LOCAL OR INTERNATIONAL)?
I have watched too many films, everything has had its time. From Ace Ventura and
the Ernest Goes to… series, to the Scary Movie spoof genre and the more current
Bridesmaids and other Judd Apatow films. Locally the top comedy film is only coming
out in March next year; it’s called Blitz Patrollie and is written and produced by Kagiso
Lediga and directed by Andrew Wessels.
WHAT DO YOU THINK WOULD MOST SURPRISE SCREEN AFRICA READERS ABOUT
I have never written a joke in my life.
DO YOU HAVE AN INTERESING LOW BUDGET FILMMAKING ANECDOTE THAT YOU
COULD TELL US ABOUT?
Making a movie, or shooting, at the taxi rank was another movie on its own. It would
have been better to build my own taxi rank and rent it out to taxi drivers when I
wasn’t using it, than renting one from them when they were supposedly not using it.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE ONE-LINER FROM A FILM, COMEDY OR OTHERWISE?
“I’ll be back…’ (Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Terminator).
WHAT HIGH BUDGET STAR WOULD YOU LIKE TO HAVE IN YOUR NEXT FILM?
Chris Tucker (the famous American stand-up comic and actor known for films such as
the Rush Hour franchise and Jackie Brown).
WHAT IS YOUR NEXT FILM PROJECT?
I’m shooting a five-part series based on Taxi Ride in November for Mzansi Magic. After
that I will star in a film to be directed by Teboho Mahlatsi (Yizo Yizo) in December /
Screen Africa magazine – November / December 2012