As a consummate funny fellow, Stuart Taylor needs no introduction. I bent his ear last week ahead of his new solo show at the Baxter Theatre to discuss important matters including music, which has become critical in the comedy space. Taylor's answers are both joyous and crisp.
When are you happiest?
Onstage or on the road. I love those moments when I pause on stage to see the audiences collectively shifting in their seats, slapping their knees or bent over in laughter. It’s a beautiful thing to experience from the stage.
What does music mean to you?
THE WEDDING MARCH.
What is the most enjoyable aspect of your work?
The fact that we live in South Africa means you’ve got to be a jack-of-all-trades. On one day you feel like a super star playing an arena, then next day you’re in a warehouse helping build the set for the next show. This career has been the most interesting and exciting journey. The variety of hats I have to wear means I’m always being challenged.
What drives you… would you say ego, or humility?
Neither... I prefer a Mercedes.
Any funny moments on stage?
I should hope so!
What is your most treasured possession?
I have a really nice watch collection. One of them is an over-engineered, heavy-as-hell Panerai that I love wearing. Looking at it reminds me to travel (because of the GMT). It reminds me to appreciate what I’ve achieved, and it reminds me that there is beauty in simplicity.
It’s your round, what are you drinking?
I’ve hated beer my entire life... right up to the moment I turned 40. Now it seems as though I’m making up for all the lost time. Something easy going though, like a Heineken or Castle Lite if they’re extra cold and on special at Makro.
Dream gig to do?
The best lineup to be a part of has to be The Big 5 Comedy Show. I hosted it last year and get to do so again this year. Imagine five of the funniest comics each doing a good 20-minute set with DJ Ready D keeping up the energy. It’s an absolute jol. Although, there is something special about doing an hour on your own. That feels like true freedom.
What makes you stand out?
I’d like to believe that I’m really good at interrogating the human condition. I tell my personal stories on stage and you get to see yourself in the details. It means that my audience walks out realising that we essentially going through the same issues. There’s a sense that we all going to be OK that you get after watching me do a solo show.
What are your nicknames?
Just ‘Stu’. That stuck.
If you were not a comedian, what would you do?
Perhaps an architect. I’ve gotten to design the renovation of about five houses now; it’s another way of creating (which is what stand-up is). So, yes, definitely something creative.
What would your five desert island discs be?
I’m a big rap fan... so probably Kanye and Jay-Z’s WATCH THE THRONE. Maybe the best of Tupac for that old-school flavour. AKA’s latest offering is good for raising the spirits Eminem’s REVIVAL is keeping me well entertained at the moment. And George Ezra’s WANTED ON VOYAGE is good to watch the sun go down.
What song changed your life?
THE WEDDING MARCH.
Who do you love?
Everyone! I just don’t always like them. But they are me and I am them so I love them all – this sounds so much like a Jim Carrey rant.
What is your favourite word?
Thank you. It disarms, charms and uplifts. It’s also a great thing to say on stage before you start your gig.
What would you say is your favourite fashion garment?
I love a well-tailored suit and a crisp white suit. Funny enough, though, this is the first show in years where I’ve made a conscious decision to not wear a suit. Guess I’ll have to save it for my off days.
Could you give us some real proper slang and what it means?
I decided to Google the slang dictionary. The term saber tooth came up. It’s now my new favourite slang word. It’s a mature cougar if you didn’t know.
Top of your bucket list?
Drinking Tequila in Mexico. I need to make that a priority. Oh, and selling out Madison Square Garden and then the O2 Arena.
What would you say is your greatest achievement?
Eighteen years of doing what I love, which as the saying goes... ‘Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life’. So I guess my achievement is to have dodged work for 18 years.
What do you complain about most often?
Negativity in other people... oh the irony. It’s a vicious circle that I try to stop when I spot it. I complain about others being negative, which puts me in a negative frame of mind, which then highlights more negativity in others.
What is your fear?
Relinquishing control. That’s why I could never bungee jump or give you my Wi-Fi password.
If you are walking on stage for a keynote speech à la’ Barack Obama, what song would you use and why?
Cheryl Lynn’s GOT TO BE REAL. Nothing channels a coloured man’s inner Barak like a bit of Aunty Cheryl.
Where would you like to be right now?
Any city with water. There’s an odour developing here in my house thanks to the ‘if it’s yellow... let it mellow’ slogan.
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