Nik Rabinowitz | South African Comedian and Author
Nik Rabinowitz is a South African comedian and Author, who has made guest appearances on several comedy shows, nationally and internationally. He discovered stand-up comedy in 2001 and in 2008 was awarded “SA Stand-up of the Year” for having established himself as the world’s leading Xhosa-speaking Jewish comedian. He’s performed alongside some of the country’s finest comics, and in 2010, he starred alongside a selection of SA’s top stand-ups in Bafunny Bafunny, which included a performance at London’s Royal Albert Hall.Spend 2 days with Nik Rabinowitz?
My Definition Of Success | Art Buchwald said “the best things in life aren’t things”. I used to think that success meant having a private jet and loads of money and fame. I now realise you don’t really need the jet. It’s costly to maintain and I don’t have as much time to travel as I had imagined I would.
I’m Driven By | The effect laughter has on people. Aside from the medicinal benefits (which are apparently now scientifically proven), humour is a pretty versatile and powerful weapon: It can be used to speak truth to power. And it has the power to both unite and divide.
In a society with a fresh history of discrimination and alienation, there’s a particular responsibility that goes with being the court jester. For me that responsibility is to be a force for unification.
The Difference Between good And Great | The ones who are good at what they do, are good at it because they’re talented, because they feel it’s important, because they’re passionate. They’re good because they’re confident, believe in themselves and work at their craft relentlessly. The ones who are great at what they do, have kids.
My Key Talents | Superficially, it would seem that my ability to speak a few languages has been a critical success factor. I’ve used the multi-lingual persona to carve out a particular niche in the local comedy market. However, it doesn’t paint the full picture of what’s required to succeed at stand up.
The key elements are, on the one hand, material, and the other something similar to what some would call ‘stage presence’.
There’s an expression that goes something like this: “Who you are being is so loud, I can’t hear what you are saying.” In other words, you can write the funniest material, but your ‘delivery’ can fail you.
There is no easy step-by-step ‘DIY’ approach to developing these skills, nor are there are any stand up comedy schools to teach it.
Essentially a comic needs to be comfortable with talking to an audience. There is no acting ‘4th wall’, you’ve got to ‘be yourself’ and if the audience smells discomfort or fear around that, your ‘act’ generally doesn’t work.
You can ‘fake it till you make it’, but ultimately (for me) the best comics are authentically at home with themselves. Throw in some quality material and it all comes together.
Principles I Live By | I think it’s important above all to have integrity and honour your word. Like when you say you’re going to come to a party dressed in your underpants and a goat mask, make sure you do just that.
Lessons I Have Learnt | It’s very good to know how to dig a long drop; it’s important to check the price of something you’re buying in an American department store before you buy it; use protection; know your HIV status; know the HIV status of any person you decide to have sex with; make sure you’re quite fond of any person you have unprotected sex with.
Dealing With Doubt | I had great fear the day I was doing a show at The Market Theatre and thought Julius Malema was in the audience. I doubted whether I should continue with my act, which was going to rip into him. I dealt with this doubt and fear by ignoring it. I did the act. Then I found out he wasn’t in the audience, so my main approach to doubt and fear is to ignore them, it worked before, it’ll work again.
How I Perform At My Peak | Steroids.
The Meaning Of Life | Nothing.
Best Advice I Have Received | That life has no meaning.
Advice On Building Wealth |
Step 1. Don’t be a comedian.
Step 2. Revert to whatever thing your parents told you to do with your life.
Leadership And Inspiring Others | Create an environment in which those people can thrive. Like the sweatshop I created in Limpopo where 13-yr-old boys craft my fart jokes.
Useful Links |
Watch below as Nik performs on Mock The Week