The Portfolio: Gilli Apter

One thing I’ve always known is that I’m funny. As a writer, I’ll write pretty much anything as long as it’s comedy. I write for TV and my own stand-up of course. I went to film school because I wanted to make films and TV that were funny. I also work in production as a director, making videos and ads. I write things and then I also direct things and I perform things, but at the moment they are all sort of separate … things. The greater vision is for all the things to come together.

I’ve also worked with a lot of comedians. I’ve written for Nik Rabinowitz and other comedians over the years. As a result, I had people asking me when I was going to do stand-up comedy. Eventually I just did. While I’m crazy about films and TV shows, making that stuff requires so much resources.

What I’ve found is that I’ve managed to get access to opportunities more easily as I’ve developed a name as a stand-up. It’s easier, for example, to go to a pitch for a TV show when people have seen you do stand-up. It elevates your offering (if they like your stand-up). In terms of all the work I do, I think people probably have a high regard for the stand-up because it is something they can see, feel and hear. It is the least filtered version of the work I do. When you write for a TV show, people don’t know how much you are responsible for, because there are writing teams, directors, editors — the finished product is the result of a team.

When I think about the work that I do with Nik, for example, some people think I sit there and write all his jokes. I don’t. He comes to me with a book, every year, of all the stuff that he wants to talk about; ideas and premises for jokes, punchlines — and then we sit and bounce it off each other for a couple of weeks. Comedians do that anyway. I’ll perform and then another comedian will say, “I’ve got an idea for that joke. Why don’t you do this at the end? Why don’t you add that?”. It’s just that some comedians are at a level where they have the wherewithal and ability to pay for that service.

I often rely on comedian friends for notes on the performance aspect of my stand-up, because it’s not really my strongest skill set. That would be the writing and, of course, the real moneymaker: ideas.


Catch Thunderbirds featuring Gilli Apter, Nina Hastie, Claudine Ullman and Lihle Msimang at Beefcakes, Illovo every Wednesday. For tickets visit beefcakes.co.za


Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Related stories

Advertising

Subscribers only

Medical aids blame external costs as fees increase beyond inflation

Medical aid is becoming more of a luxury for many South Africans, and it’s not about to get any better

Mahikeng compounds its mess

The ailing town that wasted R2-billion appoints a municipal manager rated ‘basic’, the lowest level

More top stories

Parliament owes South Africa an apology on state capture —...

The speaker told the Zondo commission she doesn’t know why the legislature woke up to state capture so late, but believes this won’t happen again

Cape Town fire ‘largely contained’, evacuation orders remain in place

Authorities confirmed the fire had been largely contained by early Monday afternoon, although reports suggest the fire had jumped the road near Tafelberg Drive

Zondo says break-in will not intimidate commission

The deputy chief justice said it was not clear if the burglary and a recent shooting were more than criminality, but vowed no one would deter the inquiry

European heavyweights face criticism over ‘cynical’ Super League

The 12 founding clubs of the breakaway competition have faced backlash from the football community
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…