SA’s funniest TV actor chats about his win

Hannes Brummer won Best Actor (TV Comedy) at the 2019 SAFTAS. Credit: Jo Spies

Hannes Brummer won Best Actor (TV Comedy) at the 2019 SAFTAS. Credit: Jo Spies

Hannes Brümmer took home the Safta for best actor in a comedy TV series for ‘Elke Skewe Pot’.

Comedian and comedy actor Hannes Brümmer won his first South African Film and Television Award (Safta) this past weekend for his role on SA comedy series Elke Skewe Pot. Brümmer, who has become ubiquitous on the Afrikaans comedy scene, took home the award for Best Actor in a TV comedy, a moment he described as being “entirely unbelievable”.

“Knowing we’re just three people in a category gave me the optimistic hope that I’ve got a real chance, but it didn’t seem real until that moment,” he said. “I was up against comedy machines – Wright Ngubeni is a multi-talented performer and David Isaacs is a good friend and an icon in our industry.

“David was nominated and since he couldn’t attend the event, he asked me if I’d accept the award on his behalf should he win. So while they were calling out the nominations I was actually thinking what I would say on his behalf,” he said with a laugh, adding that all he could think as he walked, grinning, toward the stage was “Don’t sound like a poepol, don’t sound like a poepol”.

He said the rest of the night was something of a blur as he was ushered to photos, and he and his wife couldn’t take their eyes off the statue.

“The entertainment business demands patience and at that moment it really felt like it paid off. We sat through the rest of the awards ceremony a little stunned before celebrating with a few drinks. It was a great evening and obviously people smile more readily at you when you’ve got an award in your hand,” he said, clearly still a little taken aback by the whole thing.

It’s clear that Brümmer is extremely proud of the show that led him to this crowning moment as he gushed about lead actress Carine Rous, who won the Safta for best actress in a comedy the year before, and “dear friend and long-time collaborator” Neels Clasen.

“I think the reason for why I won this award begins with those two characters and performers. You’re only as good as the scripts, directors, crew, and fellow cast members, and between Neels and Carine and the rest of the cast, and guests (rounded out by Helene Truter, Carien Botha and Marissa Drummond), it was easy to find the funny,” he explained.

He added that he really identified with his character Bennie, which helped him to find the persona and give him the kind of believability that lead to his taking home the prize.

“Bennie is at an age where he doubts himself as he hasn’t really accomplished everything he had hoped, but he is in denial that it’s because of his own lack of ambition. He is dry-witted and sarcastic, but that’s an attempt to hide his lack of self-esteem and social awkwardness. I can be a little socially inept myself, so I could relate strongly to that… I really like Bennie – He’s the kind of guy I’d love to have a beer with and that helped a lot,” he said, crediting the directing team of Liesel Harris-Kruger, Gerhard Mostert, and Joshua Rous for ensuring he never became too animated or unrealistic.

At this stage, it is unclear whether Elke Skewe Pot will be back for another season, but with ratings good and fan appreciation high, it would be a real shame to not see the team together again.

“We’ve created a style of comedy I don’t think has been seen in Afrikaans, even though it still respects and contains elements of some of the great shows before us, so I sincerely hope we get another go,” said Brümmer. “If it doesn’t happen, I really hope to work with Rous House productions many times more in the future, but I’m definitely holding thumbs.”

There is little doubt that this award will boost an already impressive and busy career, with Brümmer revealing he has just launched his latest one-man stand-up comedy show Amper oud.

“It laments my approaching forties. Without realising or intending it, it closes a trilogy of shows. The first, Punk in plakkies contemplated youthful defiance, the second, Wie’s you Pappa, tackled fatherhood and this one is all about the march of time,” he said of the show that he would be taking to the festival circuit later this year.

In addition, he has just confirmed his involvement in another Chris Vorster play called Aaptwak, which will debut at Innibos in June.

“In the past year, I’ve been afforded a few directing opportunities, more specifically performance, but I’m training to see what a camera sees, so I really want to further that aspect, preferably in multi-cam. It’s a great way to put my vocabulary of comedy to the test while learning a whole new language, plus I have always wanted one of those foldable director’s chairs with my name on the back,” he laughed.

While most would display their awards in their offices, or on the mantlepiece in the lounge where all guests can see it, Brümmer explained his “Golden Horn” has ended up in an entirely different place.

“The Safta now stands in my 4-year old daughter’s room. We told her when we were going away for the weekend that ‘Daddy might get an award’ and when we got home she demanded we give it to her as she has never won a trophy herself,” he said with a wry smile.

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