Robby Collins is a rising star in the world of stand up comedy, having played to the biggest comedy audiences in South Africa, opening for Marc Lottering, Eugene Khoza and Trevor Noah. A natural born performer, he tried to be "normal" from a young age growing up in Newlands East, Durban before moving from Sydenham to Wentworth and then Musgrace in Kwazulu-Natal. Struggling with dyslexia in a rigid education system pushed him to follow in his sister's footsteps, where he found he preferred the stage more than school work, writing his first comedy skit at 15. He finally dropped out of school in Grade 11 after his teacher discovered he was in a local play and quipped he was "a better actor than a student".
His parents didn't make a big deal about him dropping out of school, but were concerned about his bigger plan. Collins has had a wide range of jobs from working in a call centre and handing out flyers to minding children and fixing cars. The lanky comedian kept himself motivated by reading biographies, in which he found many people's careers only really started at the age of 35. His mom has only attended a few of his shows and while supportive, his dad still insists it isn't a real job... but Collins isn't fazed.
Engaging with people and making them laugh from the stage at school, helped define his life's path as he moved from acting on the Durban theatre circuit to becoming a fully fledged stand-up comedian. He integrates his life's journey into his material, drawing from his human experiences and leveraging his believable stage presence. He's appeared at The Heavy Weight Comedy Jam and Blacks Only. His prolific touring with Trevor Noah's Daywalker show and being repeatedly selected as an opening act by top SA talent, lead to his well-deserved nomination for breakthrough act of the year at the Comic Choice Awards.
Collins performed his own show That Bushman's Crazy, which won an award at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown. He likes to tell real human stories instead of using stereotypes and prefers to avoid the "whole black and white thing". He also steers clear of religious jokes because his mom was once a nun and he was an altar boy. While the charismatic entertainer has shifted his focus to comedy, he's also acted in TV shows Scandal, Rhythm City and worked as a writer and performer for Laugh Out Loud and LNN. He's developed a loyal following and wants to continue fine-tuning his acting talent and eventually write and direct.
"My worst movie... anything Leon Schuster has done."
I can't watch movies without...
Which famous people share your birthday?
- Freddy Prince Jr. and this other guy Yunus. He sold drugs in Durban. (8 March)
What is the first film you remember watching?
- Oliver Twist, but The Lion King was the first film I saw in the cinema.
What's the worst movie you've ever seen?
- My worst movie... anything Leon Schuster has done.
Which movies have made you tearful?
- The Awakenings and whenever Jackie Chan speaks english in Rush Hour.
Who is the most famous movie star you've ever met?
- Laurence Fishburne, but he just looked like he's from Eldorado Park.
What's your favourite movie line?
- "You talkin' to me?" ~ Robert De Niro in Taxi Driver
Who would you choose to play you in your biopic?
- Jaden Smith. That's only because I want to meet his dad.
If you could produce a movie, what would it be about?
- I'd love to do a remake of Oliver Twist. The story is so universal.
Finally, your top ten movies of all-time...
- City of God ...it’s one of the most original stories.
- Ed Wood ...it’s a reminder of how great Johhny Depp was.
- Flowers of War ...the suspense is amazing.
- Coming to America ...I just remember laughing as a kid.
- Aladdin ...nothing better than an old school Disney movie.
- Rocky ...it's got to be the most inspirational movie ever
- Oliver Twist ...no need to explain.
- The Little Rascals ...childhood favourite
- Carlito's Way ...it's the softer side of scarface
- iNumber Number ...because it was a great local film. Not only good for South Africa standards but world standards.
Top Ten Movies with... is a people series on SPL!NG, featuring a host of celebrities ranging from up-and-coming to established personalities from all industries including, but not limited to: Internet, Radio, TV, Film, Music, Art and Entrepreneurs. It's a chance to discover who they are, find out where they're at and to get a fun inside look at their taste in movies.