Kgomotso Matsunyane

Live from New York

2007-11-22 10:17

Kgomotso Matsunyane

So it wasn't a huge surprise not to win an International Emmy Award, but it was a big disappointment. Our solace being that the winner is one of our favourite comedies, Little Britain Abroad. The other much more important solace of course is that we got to spend a whole week in the city that (literally) never sleeps, New York City.

I have been to New York several times before, so I knew more or less what to expect. But every time I land here I'm always amazed by how much bigger everything here is: the buildings, the cars, and the people.

Even my heart beats faster in New York, but of course that could just be the change in altitude. New York is like Jo'burg times fifty. The lowliest jobs are filled by immigrants with still strong accents (locals in every country have jobs that they feel are beneath them, and then complain when others gladly fill the bill).

There are limousines everywhere, and every other street corner has a Mc Donalds or the coffee shop Starbucks. Nobody says hi to you. The expensive parts of town are really clean. Like really, really clean, but some of the subways are completely littered with cans, plastic and all sorts of garbage. It was such a relief not having to drive, and being able to use public transport virtually 24 hours a day.

A taste of the red carpet

We had a nice taste of the red carpet when our contingent arrived. First they make an announcement to all the photographers, and then everybody goes ballistic trying to get your attention for a special photo. My best moment was when a non-paparazzi South African called my name out "Sis Kgomotso, kunjani?"

I wanted to leap over the velvet rope and give him a big fat kiss. The awards ceremony itself was great, except we were sitting next to a table of drunk interns who wouldn?t shut up even after we asked them to.

Al Gore, the golden politician du jour, was honoured with an Emmy for his environmental activism, and he was introduced by none other but Robert De Niro. Even though he was about 20 meters away, I can honestly tell you the man is ridiculously sexy.


Shutting down Broadway

There is a major strike by stage-hands which has literally shut down Broadway, at a staggering cost of $5m per day. Every theatre entrance has a peaceful and silent group of strikers walking up and down.

In Hollywood, the screenwriters have shut most shoots down in a dispute with producers and studios. I'm impressed, and I wish for a day where South African producers would be so united as to bring the broadcasters to their knees. But it will be a cold day in hell before we're that strong. We can't even agree on one industry body for gods' sakes.

Oh by the way, Trevor don't feel so bad about TCOT (The Car Owner's Tax), in NY I was delighted to discover they have a commuter tax. I was minding my own business sitting in the subway on my own when the doors opened. In walked a toothless, blind man with a white cane who started singing Amazing Grace at the top of his lungs and waving an empty bucket around.

He only sang the first verse before changing to to "If you like my body, and you think I'm sexy, come on baby let me know."... I should have given him a dollar for the entertainment value of his repertoire, but when I converted it to rands I thought better of it.

PS: To the brother on 36E who called all his relatives in Enkandla and forced the whole cabin to listen via speaker phone just before take-off, get a life!

I mean, really.

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