Anele Mdoda's Celebrity Game Night SA co-stars are convinced she's a cyborg

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Celebrity Game Night SA season 3 is on E! (DStv 124) on Sundays at 20:00, starting 13 February.
Celebrity Game Night SA season 3 is on E! (DStv 124) on Sundays at 20:00, starting 13 February.
Photo: Gallo Images
  • The third season of Celebrity Game Night SA on E! (DStv 124) starts on Sunday, 13 February.
  • The cast filmed two episodes a day and were on their feet from 10:00 to 22:00.
  • This seasons' guests include Lira, Minnie Dlamini Jones, Skhumba, Lunga Shabalala and Boity Thulo.

Celebrity Game Night SA is back for another season on Sunday nights from 13 February, with Anele Mdoda as the host and Ayanda Thabethe and Jason Goliath as the two team captains.

This seasons' guests include Lira, Minnie Dlamini Jones, Skhumba, Lunga Shabalala, Boity Thulo, Jonathan Boyton-Lee, Dineo Langa, Enhle Mbali, LootLove, Sandile Mahlangu and Kelly Khumalo. The third season is also adding appearances from guests across the continent for the first time.

In 10 one-hour episodes, executive produced by NBCUniversal International Networks and Rapid Blue in Johannesburg as a localised version, the collection of local comedians, musicians, actors and media personalities all compete in silly games that are hypnotic to watch.

Channel24 sat down with Anele Mdoda, Ayanda Thabethe and Jason Goliath just before the debut of the third season to ask them about what to expect.

Thinus Ferreira: How long does it take to film an episode?

Anele Mdoda: You know what, Thinus, I want to give you the real answer, but I fear you guys will send an inspection team to get us out. To capture everything, there are literally 17 cameras, right, so it can take... it can take a while. 

Jason Goliath: It's something that's not said enough, so allow me to say this: It's work. It's the most fun you can have on set, but it's work. And Anele Mdoda is a cyborg. She was sent from the future with Tesla batteries inside her. We will start at 10 in the morning and at 10 at night Anele has been standing in her heels the whole day, and has been motivating us. Anele is a cyborg! If anybody ever talks bad about my sister Anele and work... Bow. 

Anele: We do two episodes a day; we start around 10, and hopefully, by 10 at night, we're done. The low is that the people feed us all the time. There's everything, and then someone comes and asks: "Do you want Nandos?" And of course, you want Nandos, I'm not going to say no to Nandos!

Ayanda Thabethe: And Anele always has the goodies. And she always goes: "Do you want a sweet?"

Jason: Like a dealer!

Thinus: What have the three of you learnt about each other that you didn't know before Celebrity Game Night SA?

Ayanda: That Anele is such a mamma-bear. She will literally take care of everybody. She's very fierce. She's such a strong woman, but she has a very soft, emo-side where she's just taking care of everyone. Jason is also a softie when he wants to be. He's always making jokes about everyone and all of that, but at some point, you actually catch the soft side of him.

Anele: Ayanda is pregnant. We all learnt that on set. She's incredibly competitive, but she's incredibly funny. With Jason on set and me, everyone thinks that the jokes will come from us. Negative. Ayanda is there, and she's ready to go. Jason tells every comedian and musician that they're his best and favourite. 

Jason: They are! There are different genres!

Anele: This is Jason: "Lira, you're my favourite musician", and then the next day: "Moonchild Sanelly, ah, you are my favourite musician!" Everyone. You are my favourite.

Jason: About Ayanda, I've learnt don't judge a book by its cover. When you look like me, and Ayanda looks like that, that's when your mind goes: "Aaah, she must be dom. You'll have an advantage over her." Ayanda is all the things: She's smart, she's sweet, she's humble - far more humble than she needs to be, and there's no bad camera angle. She can take a selfie of the back of her foot and get more likes than you. 

The only negative is she cheats while looking you in the eye. Robba! But it's true love. A wonderful competitor and an unlikely competitor. And you must plan your future pregnancies between shoot dates, please.

What I didn't properly understand about Anele, and the biggest thing I've learnt is work ethic. In terms of inspiring women, I look at Anele, and I go: Nobody on earth has an excuse not to make their dreams come true because you've got to wake up as early as Anele, you've got to go to bed as late as Anele.

Anele, just understand that you've got to get it and do it. Then you spend a couple of weeks with her on set, and I leave set going: Jason, there's still more in the tank. You can still push more because those are the dreams and things you want. 

Anele is always nice, never grumpy. I'm telling you, when you work with Anele, you'll feel bad about your own talents. Strong. Clear. She knows exactly what she wants. Anele also has great vision, so working alongside a co-host, you'd know that it can be very difficult if people are not on the same plane. Anele's just got this way of pulling everybody together.

There would be moments in the show where there's a lull, and without prompting, Anele goes straight to a gag and brings the energy back. It's so much fun and makes our job easier because Anele's basically doing all the work. We're there for the jokes while Anele's managing the energy, managing the pace, managing the mood, managing things. I'm just in awe of Anele's talent and work ethic. Passion and drive beat talent 7 days a week. I'm not saying Anele's one of the most talented people I know - but I'm saying passion and drive.

Thinus: Why do audiences love this show?

Anele: There are such few programmes on TV that your grandmother, your mother, you, your child, and the whole family can sit, and everyone will find someone they love. They'll find someone they side with; they'll find a team that they support. 

TV programming was made so that families could sit on the couch eating supper and spend time together. Everyone's always on their phone; everyone's always on the computer or in their room. A mom came to me in a mall and said she's got four kids of all ages, and the one time she can get them to come together and sit without their phones is when Celebrity Game Night is on.

That's why for me, I really want this show to carry on for seasons to come because, as South Africa, the only way we can build is if we are focused on family. 

Celebrity Game Night SA season 3 is on E! (DStv 124) on Sundays at 20:00, starting 13 February.

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