Today marked 5 years since we stood on the Idols stage and pretended to sing and play fake instruments on live TV.

This moment in Streep history is one that fans often ask us about, so here are some answers to our frequently asked Idols questions:

How Far Did You Get On Idols?

It’s a common and completely understandable question, but it’s usually asked by people who only saw the finale. The fact is that we never entered Idols – we were simply asked by the producers to create a comedy song about the show, and then were invited to play it to the judges in the audition phase. When it proved popular, we were asked back for the final show. So in a sense, whilst we were never in the competition, we made it to the very end.

Were You Miming?

Oh yes, 100%. But it wasn’t our first choice. In the audition there was no easy way of quickly setting up a full band in front of the judges, so we thought the best way to bring across our full sound was to mime to a recording as it would be faster, clearer and less of a strain on the sound editors. But that introduced the moral dilemma of miming, and because we didn’t want to pull a Milli Vanilli on South Africa, we decided to make it blatant that we were miming by playing clearly fake instruments that would have never produced the sound you were hearing.

When it came to preparations for the finale, the producers actually asked us to mime to make the sound dynamics of the live event easier, and it wouldn’t come across as being too weird because it had already been established in the audition. We were still afraid of any Vanilli backlash, so we decided to make it even more obvious by making references to lip syncing in the opening lines.

How Did You Get Away With Insulting The Show?

This is where we have to give the producers a lot of credit. When we got the call to write a song about Idols, they gave us permission to say whatever we wanted to, and in fact encouraged us not to hold back. They even specifically said we could mention the embarrassing voting incident from the year before – essentially, we had complete free reign. And they held true to their word. They accepted the first version of the song we pitched, and were incredibly generous in the way they treated us throughout the process.

Dave or Mark?

Heinz.

My darling sister Roxy got married in Thailand in April 2015 and I had the privilege of singing her down the aisle. The song she and her husband chose was “This Old Love” by Lior. A beautiful song for a beautiful day.

However, I did toy with the idea of doing Sally Brown’s song she sings while Snoopy waits at the altar in “Snoopy’s Getting Married, Charlie Brown”. This was one of the many PEANUTS specials Roxy and I watched on VHS as kids and the song was sung from time to time over the years.

While the thought was sweet, there were a few problems. Sally is singing to a dog. A dog who is waiting for another dog to walk down the aisle. I know Snoopy is highly anthropomorphised in the PEANUTS universe, but the bride-to-be is essentially just a dog. And maybe that’s not the greatest sentiment when you’re singing at your own sister’s wedding. On top of that, [SPOILER ALERT] Snoopy’s bride-to-be ends up running off on the day. Again, not a great sentiment.

But there was a silver lining when hunting through my old VHS tapes to find this song; I got to revisit a load of old South African TV adverts! These are ads I know word for word having seen them so many times as a kid. But watching at them again as an adult, I could only laugh. The styles, the colours, the music, the fashion…brilliant.

Here are a few that stand out for me but please explore them all for a trip down memory lane…

(Apologies for the occasional audio drop out – these VHS tapes are over 20 years old)

Fun fact: The last line of our song Christmas Time is inspired directly by Marie Pentz’s delivery of the line, “…feeling is believing…”.

I’ve always loved ProNutro’s slogan at the end of this ad. “Probably.” It’s so honest. Also, that kid is definitely Rich Streep.

I’m not sure the bullies would necessarily be frightened off by a few Muppets in dustbins. In fact, if Simon Streep were part of the street gang he’d probably be thrilled and go chat to them.

I don’t get this ad. Who is advertising the potatoes? Who are we meant to buy the potatoes from? “The best meal on earth.”? I think Tim Noakes and Banter Clause might have something to say about that…

Here are the rest of my findings:

Last night many celebrated as they discovered Netflix had just been launched in South Africa. It was like getting a late Christmas present, an unexpected surprise. But then a lot of people opened the present, and found socks.

South Africans love to hate DStv, but if they want to legally enjoy premium movies and TV series, they kinda have no option but to go for MultiChoice’s satellite TV offerings. Because let’s face it, SABC and e.tv aren’t exactly on the cusp of recent television trends. To be fair, Noot vir Noot is worth our TV license fee alone, but even the solace of knowing my money goes towards Johan Stemmet’s waistcoats doesn’t quite warm me towards our local channels.

(Side note, South African Broadcasting Corporation, if you’re reading this, I have an idea: I think more people would pay their TV licenses if they stood a chance of winning 90’s TV memorabilia. Maybe one of Dali Tambo’s pillows, a Telequack signed by Martin Bailey, or a bottle of Felicia Mabuza-Suttle’s tears.)

For a while now the digital age has bought along the potential promise of being able to stream TV via the Internet. Some local streaming services cropped up, but because good content requires good deals which require good portions of money, most of these services seemed to offer a substandard selection. Sort of like going to an all you can eat buffet, and realising they only have beetroot salad. I’m no market expert, but I’m guessing this is because all the good content had already been tied up in contracts with MultiChoice – a truly clever name because you essentially have NoChoices if you don’t use their services.

Now before we hate on MultiChoice, I think we need to give them credit where credit is due. In comparison to what people pay for similar services oversees, they’re actually incredibly well priced. They also have an amazing collection of shows. If you lived in the US and wanted a similar satellite selection, you’d not only need basic cable, but you’d have to also subscribe to premium cable channels like Starz, Showtime and HBO. (In case some of the terminology is too confusing, premium cable is basically another way of saying bad language and nudity.)

I know for some of you reading this it might be like meeting your partner’s ex and finding out they’ve secretly been siphoning fuel into your car, but MultiChoice have actually done you a favour. They might indeed have a monopoly in TV in this country, but if they hadn’t been making the exclusive deals they have been, they’d have more competition, and you would probably need to go to more than one TV provider to get the same selection.

But yes, we all know monopolies are bad. Even the board game causes un-repairable rips in relationships, so a little competition and an alternate way to access TV is probably a good thing. Enter ShowMax. The first SA streaming service that actually has a catalogue you’d want to pick from. No more beetroot salad. But there’s a catch… ShowMax isn’t quite competition to MultiChoice, because they’re both owned by Naspers. DSTV just put on glasses and a fake nose and thought no one would notice.

And that’s why it was so exciting when South African Netflix was announced. Finally, a company big enough to stir the pot. They have connections with content providers around the world, they have money, they have House of Cards… what could go wrong?

And that leads us back to where we began… socks.

If you’ve fired up your South African Netflix account, you’re likely to be fairly underwhelmed. Yes, there are some fantastic series on there, but it’s nowhere close to what is offered on the American version. It’s like getting to the buffet and someone has put salmon into the beetroot salad. Yes, it’s salmon. But there’s still a lot of beetroot. My rough conservative estimate is that the SA Netflix has about 5% of the content of the US Netflix. It doesn’t even have House of Cards, but it does have Big Momma’s House 1 & 2 if that’s any consolidation. (Maybe one day they’ll make Big Momma’s House of Cards).

The good news is that socks are still better than no socks. Netflix coming to South Africa is a good thing. There’s hope for our buffet yet. They are big enough to stir the pot, and in time, they will. My guess is that certain exclusive studio deals have been made with DStv/ShowMax that are currently standing in the way of a fully formed South African Netflix, but as Netflix continues its global domination, they’ll have the money and pull to be able to make global deals that will make all their countries catalogues more like the US. After all, that’s America’s ultimate desire – to make more countries like America.

So, as the consumer, what should you do?

If you’ve read this far… you probably should watch less TV. Get out there, enjoy the world a bit. There’s more to life than streaming series. But, once you’ve got some fresh air, why not subscribe to Netflix? Enjoy the free trial. Supporting your local Netflix will in theory increase their leverage when making global deals with content providers. Whilst it’s missing key series and movies, it does have Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Making a Murderer, Master of None, Narcos, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt – and that’s more than enough to keep you going for a while.

As for ShowMax, if it’s working for you, enjoy it while it lasts. If Netflix gets space to breathe in this country, ShowMax might be the one that’s left with old episodes of All Access and Leon Schuster movies.

As for DStv, they’re expensive, but fast internet and enough bandwidth to stream video is also pricey. Do the Maths and see what works for you.

As for me, I’ve still got to finish Breaking Bad, so it’s hard to tell if my opinions on television actually count anyway.


It’s hard to tie this article back to acoustic comedy, but, if you like TV, then you might like movies, which means you might enjoy my top movies of 2015, our little musical tribute to Stars Wars, our song about movie twists, or ode to Disney Princesses.