Top Billing is desensitising my gag reflex

Every Thursday night for some reason Jenni-Fuh, J-Rab and I end up watching this lifestyle TV show on SABC 3 called Top Billing.



My South African readers all know this show, it’s been on TV for at least the last ten years, but for my international readers from so far afield as Helsinki, Katmandu and Brakpan (where they haven’t invented TV yet), lemme give you the low down.

Top Billing is a platform from which the rich upper classes of South Africa can stand and tell all the poor people in this country (who can’t afford satellite TV and are therefore forced to watch the show) how amazing their rich and famous lives are.

They feature everyone from South African musicians, to actors, to sports stars and visit places like wine estates and five star luxury game lodges. Then they attend weddings (I shit you not) that always look like they’re being hosted in the some kind of fairytale castle out of a Disney cartoon and interview ‘interesting’ art deco people who are making avante garde ‘creations’ out of weird shit like bees wax and processed angora goat hair.



It’s nauseating, and it’s not because everyone and everything that is featured on the show is literally saturated with money, it’s because everyone on that goddamn show is so fake.

I have a very highly developed bullshit detector (mostly to my own detriment) and I swear, the minute I hear the smarmy theme music for that fucking show the ol’ BS-detector starts going off like an air raid siren in my head.

Celebrities of South Africa and other successful people that end up on Top Billing, I hope you hear me loud and clear when I say this: Nobody thinks you’re cool except for nobodies. Stop being a buncha total douchebags and show us something real.

And then there’s Jeannie D, who I’m sure is a wonderful person in real life, but who makes me actually swear loudly and throw stuff at the TV nearly every time I see her.



She gushes happiness the way clogged up sewers gush floaters. It offends me. Why does she have to smile ALL THE TIME and talk like she’s on the verge of bursting into a peal of girlish laughter at any and EVERY given moment? Is that in her contract or something?

‘Ok, the Top Billing gig is yours.’


‘But you have to constantly speak and act like you’ve taken 600mg of Lexapro every time we turn the cameras on you.’

‘That shouldn’t be a problem, I just have! Hahahahahahahah!’

And don’t even get me started on the godawful wankfest that is Top Travel. That’s basically an hour of Jeannie D and her co-presenter Janez Vermeiren swanning around the world and palling around playfully with one another while everyone out there in Sofa Land thinks exactly the same thing.

Yep, they’re totally fucking.

I used to dig Janez – he made his name as the DIY dude on Top Billing and he was badass. He could build anything and basically looks like he’s carved out of a slab of marble. That was the peak of his career, ladies loved him, men wanted to be his buddy so he could come around and build that outside braai area they’d always wanted, life for Janez was sweet.



Then Top Travel hit and every week we were forced to watch him try and match Jeannie D’s bubbly, faux optimism and the result was that I, for one, lost my broner for him completely.

Get out while you still can Janez. Come to the light. Start up ‘Top Cage Fighting’ where you go to dirty bars in the South and kick the living shit out of people.

THAT’S good television right there.

Lastly, before I go, I want it to be known that unlike my usual vitriolic posts where I just bitch and moan about stuff and don’t actually do anything to make it better, this time around I got me a game-plan.

At this stage I can’t say much except watch this space. Over the next few months I plan to start up on OWN lifestyle show with a little help from a buddy of mine I like to call THE MAEN.

It will be super low-budget and will basically make you piss yourself laughing with EVERY EPISODE, because the people of this world take themselves too damn seriously and it’s time we exploited that for the good of mankind and the betterment of humans as a species.

And yes, ladies and gentlemen, them’s fightin’ words 😉

Have a killer weekend, take 5 tabs of acid, find God.


17 Responses to “Top Billing is desensitising my gag reflex”

  1. December 11, 2009 at 10:41 am

    Iv always had this spoof in my head which starts out a lil something like this : [cue pompous michael mol Voice Over] ‘from the foothills of the 12 Apostles, we take a scenic drive to a rustic, quaint area in the mother city, known as khayalitsha – unspoilt by urbanisation and running water, the inhabitants of this informal settlement may be living below the breadline, but are dying for you to arrive in your Elweirda tour bus to snap up images to be included in your Facebook ‘Squatter Camp’ album.

    SA local production needs a punch, square in the kisser. Our audiences need2realise they’re being fucked three weeks from Tuesday with some of the lame offerings out there. It’s time to dip your hands in melted honey and shards of glass Van Damme cos u ain’t seen nothing yet…

  2. December 11, 2009 at 10:46 am

    Yes, but no. It’s complicated.

    Look, Jeannie D is a personal friend of mine so I can tell you with great authority that she’s a fantastic person in real life and what you see on TV ain’t her – she answers to a producer who wants her to be like that.

    But this doesn’t change the fact the the content of the show has slowly been decaying the minds of the people who sit religiously every week and watch it.

    If you really want to complain about Top Billing, you have to question why on Earth they employed Lyndall Jarvis as a presenter.

    Yes, she’s more eye candy than you can hold with two hands and she was FHM’s sexiest woman in SA but, sadly, she’s also a complete airhead with about as much depth and substance to her as a newborn’s nappy.

    I never thought I’d ever say this, but when Michael Mole left the show, it was the beginning of the end. Now HE had class – kind of like a South African Bradd Pitt. Good looking, talented and more of a man than all of the fang-bangers they put on TV nowadays put together.

    I was over Top Billing even before it started. But, it’s obviously got the viewership for the SABC to keep the show going. I’d hazard a guess it’s been going for much longer than 10 years. Luckily, though, its viewership is a dying breed. Literally.

    The only place you ever really see Top Billing being watched with much delight is in old age home TV lounges and at your parents’ place. Top Billing can’t last forever. And when it gets cancelled, I’ll be PVRing every single episode of Them’s Fighting Words TV for my kids to watch.

  3. December 11, 2009 at 11:13 am

    What if Janez added some DIY to his travel presenting?

    E.G. He builds a skottel braai facility onto the Eiffel Tower, or an outdoor shower behind an Easter Island statue.

    Obviously without permission from locals, to add some tension.

    • December 11, 2009 at 11:35 am

      My God.

      Please warn me before posting suggestions of this nature. The sheer awesomeness of it knocked me off my chair and through the wall behind me.

      I can see it now – angry locals in grass skirts storming Janez’s freshly built thatch lapa armed with sharp sticks and chanting ‘Ooga chaka’.

      Janez doesn’t even bat an eyelid. In a flash he builds an outdoor water feature, instantly placating the locals with the soothing, eclectic sounds of flowing water.

      The genius of it is staggering. I think I got my broner back 😉


  4. December 15, 2009 at 12:16 pm

    The other day I happened to be in front of a television where Jeanie and Janez were in a South American (I speak under correction) forest with a tribe of neanderthals, whom I assume is kept away from civilisation purposely for tourism-related reasons..

    and I could not help but wonder why these people never go to the equivalent of “townships” in these fabulous countries they visit.

    isn’t that the idea..? to give us insight into EVERYTHING about the “travel” destination?

    • December 15, 2009 at 12:28 pm

      I’m with you dude, but I think there’s about as much chance of them actually showing us the less glamorous side of the countries they visit as there is of Miss D (double-D?) and Janez-the-toolman-Vermeiren releasing an internet porn video.

      Would you watch that? I’d watch that!

      Thanks for the comment 😉


  5. 8 tizz
    December 21, 2009 at 1:53 am

    all i can say to everything above is ” ew ew ewwww “

  6. 9 IS IT TRUE
    January 13, 2010 at 6:11 pm

    Apparently TOP BILLING got cancelled yesterday…

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