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Nik Rabinowitz

nik rabinowitz interviewNik was raised on the mean, green streets of Constantia, Cape Town, a world of ride-bys, piano lessons, and unrelenting love and financial support from family members. He grew up on a farm, climbing trees and commentating on his own rugby games in at least three of South Africa’s eleven official languages.

After graduating from UCT with a Business Science Degree and a large afro, Nik took off with a band of traveling actors and a herd of donkeys before discovering stand-up comedy one spring afternoon in 2001. In 2008 he 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 including two hits with Marc Lottering and Riaad Moosa, under the direction of David Kramer (Three Wise Men and Three Wiser Men, 2008 & 2009). In 2010 he starred alongside a selection of SA's top stand-ups in Bafunny Bafunny which included performances at London's Royal Albert Hall.

Nik currently presents "The Week that Wasn't" for 702 & Cape Talk Radio. Nik also plays a host of characters in the online satirical production ZA News, and has produced and performed numerous one man shows.

We asked him a few questions...

Is it true you wrote the funny Xhosa bits for Trevor Manuel during the Budget Speeches?nik rabinowtiz interview
Yup, some of my best work that.

Is SA ready for a white guy to read the 6 o'clock Xhosa news on SABC?
Was SA ready for a white guy with an American accent to do the weather on Etv? No. If you build it, they will come.

So.. you grew up on a farm...tell us more...
Yes. It was a pleasant, idyllic and innocent time. I learned to till the land and tend to the flora and fauna. We had to leave though. Sometimes they let me mow the lawn.

Tell us something about yourself that the average fan will not know...
I have an extra toe on my left foot. And what do you mean average?  My fans are well above average.

We heard there is a new Rabinowitz in the household!
Indeed! He was in development for roughly ten months and we finally launched him in April. We feel this may be a success but it's really too soon to tell.

You have a degree in business science, how did you end up doing comedy?
I was showing my parents my exam results one day and realized I enjoy making people laugh.

Describe your average workday...
An average work day involves sitting in a coffee shop looking busy on my laptop for as many hours as possible before going home, raising my children for an hour or so and possibly finishing off with a corporate show for any number of worthwhile entities such as the South African Coalition of Mining Magnates or the South African Union of Tall Lesbians or the South African Brotherhood of Jet Lagged Egomaniacs etc...

How do you unwind after a long week?
Starting Friday and all the way through Sunday I alternate between burping and changing nappies.

nik rabinowitz interview

Your favourite comedians?
I wouldn’t want to single out any particular politician.

Your favourite place to perform?
In my shower. Those acoustics are just so great.


Are you devastated now that a major source of comedy material has been expelled?
Fortunately we live in a country where unintentional subjects of comedy are in abundance.

Which news story got you the most excited for your "The week that wasn't" show?
Don't be cruel. That's like asking me to choose between my children.

What's it like working on ZANews?
It's surreal but highly entertaining. Some of those puppets are more real than the real people. And almost all of them are smarter. It’s amazing how quickly one can get used to working with fake humans. Makes me think that a droid future will be just fine.

Do you think you could read the proper primetime news with a straight face?
There is only one way to find out...

Tell us more about your new book...
It’s called “South Africa: Long Walk to a Free Ride”. It's like Madiba's book of a similar title except that almost everything is different.

Any upcoming shows?

I just did a show for my son… in the lounge. He pissed himself.

A big thanks to Nik!

For Gigs, DVDs and more...


nik rabinowtiz website nik rabinowitz facebook


Nik Rabinowitz
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