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27 March 2018 GOALS & CONTEXT Interview by Bruce Dennill For comedian Al Prodgers, braaiing is all about keeping things simple. Al Prodgers has come back from the brink.  He went through a patch during which he simply couldn’t braai.  But he’s okay now… “Ja,” says Prodgers.  “It got to me when potjies became culture, you know?  That kind of thing started to drive me nuts.  I remember standing next to a braai with some mates, chatting, and casually poking the fire.  As I did so, a guy turned to me and said, ’Hey, when you touch a man’s fire, you touch his pride.’  At that point, I thought it was best to take a break from braaiing.” Different strokes for different folks. “I’m of a generation of South African men where going to the bush was something you were forced to do,” muses Prodgers.  “At that time, a ‘braai’ was a goat – very well cooked, and with its hide and hooves still attached.  I don’t think that helped either.  I could take or leave it, really… “But then my kids arrived.  Now, there’s not a lot that dads are either allowed to do or can do right most of the time.  But make a fire?  Yeah!  I can do that!  It’s one of the few things that suburban kids can still get their heads around their fathers doing.  I remember my daughter seeing me with a hammer, going to hang a picture or something, and asking me why I was using ‘the builder’s tools’.  That stings a little. “So, my braai philosophy is not so much about the quality of the food as about the building of the fire – or even the  braai itself.  Arranging four bricks in a square and putting a grill on top creates magic.  You can’t do that with a gas hob; the kids don’t care about that at all. “Braais change perspective in other ways, too.  My kids usually won’t eat anything with brown spots on it, but I give them boerewors with black charred bits on it and they get all excited!  And sosaties!  They’ll eat anything as long as it’s on a stick, even if it’s baby marrows or fruit.” Keep it simple. Prodgers doesn’t have many standards when it comes to braaiing, but ironically, those he does have involve lowering expectations. “There’s a point at which a Land Rover stops being a Land Rover when you add metallic paint and glue shut those two silly little corner windows at the front of the driver and passenger doors,” he notes, philosophically. “When braais become like that, they’re not really braais.  There’s other stuff too, like the atmosphere.  I am truly abysmal guitar player, but there is a moment during a braai when music needs to be made, not just listened to, you know? “For the actual making of the braai, I use twigs to get things started and then bigger pieces of wood on top of that.  Any wood will do, as long as the lead content of the paint is not too high.  I’m not one of those guys who will spend Sunday afternoon driving around trying to find the perfect wood.” “I’m not going to get very adventurous with meat, either.  The closest to venison I’ll get is a chicken that was really angry when we caught it.  I refuse to eat anything that’s smarter than me, so no elephants or dolphins.  And marinade, for me, is an excuse to open a bottle of wine. “I find that the best way to make sure you avoid work at an event where there’s braaiing is to approach the braai with a full pack of firelighters and a whole Sunday Times.  It’s guaranteed that someone will take offence and come and do it all for you. “Basically, I don’t want the braai to become what craft beer has become.  If I drink craft beer, I want stuff that was brewed in some guy’s bath in East London.  Don’t tell me about ‘nutmeg notes’ – it’s overcomplicated!” Being real. “I think the other major thing I love is the communal roughness of a braai,” Prodgers continues. “You see it is so seldom now – people being comfortable enough to laugh without having an agenda.  It’s a place beyond that thing where we’re kept on edge in order to make buying something seem like a good idea.  The braai is a place for the telling and hearing of stories, and many of the things I’ve heard there have ended up in my comedy act in a heavily mutated form. “I did a workshop once with some actors from the Royal National Theatre and the results were interesting.  We discovered that in South Africa, the higher your status, the more social you become, while the Brits use their status to buy privacy.  Our braai is a great equaliser – just ‘Come and eat with me’ without any other rules. “And finally, a tip.  The best taste ever?  Bacon fried over coals on a spade – the same spade you take with you when you go hiking…” Source Reference: Tjop & dop™ It’s a braai thing – Edition Seven, Issue 07 2016
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ENQUIRIES / BOOKINGS:  0114629322 / 0745806040 / info@alprodgers.co.za
ENQUIRIES / BOOKINGS:  0114629322 / 0745806040 / info@alprodgers.co.za
Copyright © Al Prodgers Comedy
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27 March 2018 GOALS & CONTEXT Interview by Bruce Dennill For comedian Al Prodgers, braaiing is all about keeping things simple. Al Prodgers has come back from the brink.  He went through a patch during which he simply couldn’t braai.  But he’s okay now… “Ja,” says Prodgers.  “It got to me when potjies became culture, you know?  That kind of thing started to drive me nuts.  I remember standing next to a braai with some mates, chatting, and casually poking the fire.  As I did so, a guy turned to me and said, ’Hey, when you touch a man’s fire, you touch his pride.’  At that point, I thought it was best to take a break from braaiing.” Different strokes for different folks. “I’m of a generation of South African men where going to the bush was something you were forced to do,” muses Prodgers.  “At that time, a ‘braai’ was a goat – very well cooked, and with its hide and hooves still attached.  I don’t think that helped either.  I could take or leave it, really… “But then my kids arrived.  Now, there’s not a lot that dads are either allowed to do or can do right most of the time.  But make a fire?  Yeah!  I can do that!  It’s one of the few things that suburban kids can still get their heads around their fathers doing.  I remember my daughter seeing me with a hammer, going to hang a picture or something, and asking me why I was using ‘the builder’s tools’.  That stings a little. “So, my braai philosophy is not so much about the quality of the food as about the building of the fire – or even the  braai itself.  Arranging four bricks in a square and putting a grill on top creates magic.  You can’t do that with a gas hob; the kids don’t care about that at all. “Braais change perspective in other ways, too.  My kids usually won’t eat anything with brown spots on it, but I give them boerewors with black charred bits on it and they get all excited!  And sosaties!  They’ll eat anything as long as it’s on a stick, even if it’s baby marrows or fruit.” Keep it simple. Prodgers doesn’t have many standards when it comes to braaiing, but ironically, those he does have involve lowering expectations. “There’s a point at which a Land Rover stops being a Land Rover when you add metallic paint and glue shut those two silly little corner windows at the front of the driver and passenger doors,” he notes, philosophically. “When braais become like that, they’re not really braais.  There’s other stuff too, like the atmosphere.  I am truly abysmal guitar player, but there is a moment during a braai when music needs to be made, not just listened to, you know? “For the actual making of the braai, I use twigs to get things started and then bigger pieces of wood on top of that.  Any wood will do, as long as the lead content of the paint is not too high.  I’m not one of those guys who will spend Sunday afternoon driving around trying to find the perfect wood.” “I’m not going to get very adventurous with meat, either.  The closest to venison I’ll get is a chicken that was really angry when we caught it.  I refuse to eat anything that’s smarter than me, so no elephants or dolphins.  And marinade, for me, is an excuse to open a bottle of wine. “I find that the best way to make sure you avoid work at an event where there’s braaiing is to approach the braai with a full pack of firelighters and a whole Sunday Times.  It’s guaranteed that someone will take offence and come and do it all for you. “Basically, I don’t want the braai to become what craft beer has become.  If I drink craft beer, I want stuff that was brewed in some guy’s bath in East London.  Don’t tell me about ‘nutmeg notes’ – it’s overcomplicated!” Being real. “I think the other major thing I love is the communal roughness of a braai,” Prodgers continues. “You see it is so seldom now – people being comfortable enough to laugh without having an agenda.  It’s a place beyond that thing where we’re kept on edge in order to make buying something seem like a good idea.  The braai is a place for the telling and hearing of stories, and many of the things I’ve heard there have ended up in my comedy act in a heavily mutated form. “I did a workshop once with some actors from the Royal National Theatre and the results were interesting.  We discovered that in South Africa, the higher your status, the more social you become, while the Brits use their status to buy privacy.  Our braai is a great equaliser – just ‘Come and eat with me’ without any other rules. “And finally, a tip.  The best taste ever?  Bacon fried over coals on a spade – the same spade you take with you when you go hiking…” Source Reference: Tjop & dop™ It’s a braai thing – Edition Seven, Issue 07 2016

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Tjop & Dop Magazine July 2016