Sushi king Kunene's lifestyle 'a nightmare'

2013-03-25 11:32
Cape Town - If you want to learn how to spend a fortune in a flash, who do you go to? Kenny Kunene, of course.

That's why British travel star Karl Pilkington, who has 250 million viewers across the globe howling with laughter at their TV screens, hung out with Kunene and his business partner Gayton McKenzie this week.

He learnt how to "order a McLaren like someone else orders a pizza" and lounge about in a jacuzzi with bikini-clad models.

But he couldn't bring himself to eat sushi off a nearly naked woman.

Pilkington, 40, is the star of An Idiot Abroad, in which he is dispatched by The Office star and world-famous comedian Ricky Gervais, and his co-producer Stephen Merchant, to far-flung places to make a fool of himself.

His task is to have the worst time possible and comment wryly on, and complain about, what he finds. Gervais and Merchant devise hilarious ways to make Pilkington suffer as much as possible.

Owing to the show's runaway success, the former radio producer on Gervais' show on XFM in London has made "some money".

Sense of bewilderment

Pilkington's new five-part show The Moaning of Life involves Pilkington again travelling the world, but this time to gain advice on how to find happiness and enjoy his success.

His week with Kunene and McKenzie forms part of an episode exploring whether a luxurious, extravagant lifestyle, driven by conspicuous spending and consumption, could satisfy him.

Kunene was, frankly, baffled by the Brit.

"Karl just doesn't have a sense of what money does for you. His show is so successful, but he still drives the same old car he bought 20 years ago. I don’t know why he makes his money if he doesn’t know how to enjoy it," he said.

Speaking after the launch of McKenzie's book, A Hustler's Bible, which was given to Pilkington in an attempt to equip him with some "street smarts", it appeared the sense of bewilderment was mutual.

Pilkington said: "Kenny has all these cars and things, and that’s what I’m looking at on this programme: money, and what money does to you. Does it really bring all the happiness people think it does?"

'It's a bit of a nightmare'

"Kenny came from nothing, and now he's got a lot, so he’s a good person to ask. It's been interesting to see how he spends it. He showed me some of his cars. He had a Rolls there, an Aston Martin. He spoke to a guy on the phone, ordering a McLaren like someone else orders a pizza.

"That's how he is. He believes if you've got it, spend it. I’m not like that at all. I don't know what he's got. He might not have any money, the way he spends it. He was trying to sell me that lifestyle of fast cars and champagne, but I don’t like champagne. It gives me heartburn," Pilkington moaned.

"It's all like a music video: fast cars, champagne, women in pools, that sort of thing. It's meant to be a dream, but it's not my dream. To me, it's a bit of a nightmare."

Sushi-draped model

But this past week wasn't all about bling for Pilkington.

He spent Thursday morning with McKenzie selling snoek in Mitchells Plain, "learning how they started out".

Pilkington said: "They called it 'the hustle'. Buying fish at a lower price, selling it for more. Back home, hustle's not a word we use. I didn't know what it meant."

As for being expected to eat sushi off a scantily clad model on Thursday night, Pilkington said: "Again, that's not really for me. But let's get on with it."

Later, Pilkington was dressed up in a Kunene-esque jacket and dancing to house music behind a curtain in the VIP section of ZAR nightclub in Cape Town. Confronted by a sushi-draped model, the Brit simply refused to partake.

"I think he's afraid of what his woman will say," Kunene concluded, after giving up.

- Channel24
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