JOKE OF THE FAMILY| The Incredible Story Of How SA Legend Leon Schuster Got Hooked Into Comedy
South African legend Leon Schuster has become a movie favourite in most homes because of his funny personality.
His movies are unique because they merge comical acting with practical, real-life jokes involving unsuspecting people.
From Oh Schucks… It’s Schuster! and Panic Mechanic, then the Mr Bones trilogy; Schuster never disappoints.
Leon Schuster, a comedian, actor, singer, and film director, was born on 21 May 1951 in Vereeniging, Gauteng.
Schuster’s love for filmmaking developed at a very young age, as he and his brother Ottoh L would play practical jokes on his family and film them.
“I remember running down the aisle of the Ritz Theatre, playing cowboys & crooks, which was all the rage at the time. I also remember loving Laurel and Hardy, Charlie Chaplin and the Three Stooges. I was always acting things out and pulling pranks. I used to fool my grandma into thinking I’d shot myself in the foot with my pellet gun… tomato sauce everywhere, me squealing like a wild pig. Pranking is just in my nature, but I’d never thought I’d become a movie star… no, I’m not a movie star; I’m just a local outjie that likes to entertain people.”
Schuster attended Hoërskool Jim Fouché in Bloemfontein, where he was also a teacher, interestingly. At school, he was an avid rugby player, which explains why it features a lot in his movies.
After high school, he went to the University of Free State for a Bachelor of Arts. He was also in the institution’s rugby first team.
After college, Schuster joined the SABC, where he created the Afrikaans radio series Vrypostige Mikrofoon with Fanus Rautenbach – which involved disguising his voice and playing phone pranks on unsuspecting victims.
Most people might not know, but Leon Schuster is an accomplished musician. In his music career, he has sold over 680,000, and in 1995, he won a South African Music Award (SAMA) when his album Hier Kom Die Bokke was the Best Selling CD.
Schuster’s first movie, You Must Be Joking!, was popular, and it gave rise to the sequel You Must be Joking! Too. Since then, the comedian has belted numerous box office hits, which usually outdo Hollywood movies in South Africa.
His most successful film is Mr Bones, which earned more than R33 million at the South African box office.
Below are all Leon Schuster movies.
You Must Be Joking! – 1986
You Must Be Joking! Too – 1987
Oh Schucks… It’s Schuster! – 1989
Oh Schucks…! Here Comes U.N.T.A.G – 1990
Sweet ‘n Short – 1991
There’s a Zulu On My Stoep (aka Yankee Zulu) – 1993
Panic Mechanic – 1997
Millennium Menace – 1999
Mr Bones – 2001
Oh Schuks… I’m Gatvol – 2004
Mama Jack – 2005
Mr Bones 2: Back from the Past – 2008
Schuks Tshabalala’s Survival Guide to South Africa – 2010
Mad Buddies – 2012
Schuks! Your Country Needs You – 2013
Schuks! Pay Back The Money – 2015
Frank and Fearless – 2018
Mr Bones 3: Son of Bones – 2022