Johannesburg, South Africa But Am I Kosher?

Woke up to my last day in Africa.

South Africa. Where Nelson Mandela’s Yoda-like visage is literally sewn into the furniture.

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Melissa left two days ago. I was supposed to leave too, but had a change of plans when the Today Show asked if I’d stick around and meet up with them. For those confused by my map, that’s why it says I’m back in Seattle right now. Never got a chance to update it.

I did the show a few hours ago. It seemed to go well. I can’t provide an embedded video on this page, but for the moment at least, you should be able to watch the segment at this link.

I’ve done this sort of thing a few times now. It’s very exciting. But I’ve gotta say, it carries with it the unpleasant sensation of being ground into sausage.

By its nature, television has a tendency to simplify; to trivialize. They have to package everything, no matter what it is, into a discreet, digestible segment. And when they’re through, they’re through. You no longer exist. It’s on to the next thing.

I don’t want to sound like I take myself too seriously. I don’t. For heaven’s sake, I dance badly for a living. And expressing this sentiment is a risky thing. If I were reading this instead of writing it, I’d probably be thinking, "Cry me a river, buddy. You got to go on the TeeVee!"

But trust me. Once it’s over, you feel like sausage.

I’m not picking on the Today Show. They seem like decent folks and I liked how the piece turned out. It’s just the process.

Anyway, I’m now in the midst of the similarly sausage-like process of flying across the planet. One flight down. Three more to go. I’ve got a bunch of posts going up soon from the last few weeks. Just gotta get home and sort myself out a bit.

25 Responses to Johannesburg, South Africa But Am I Kosher?

  1. Ello

    I watched you on TODAY and you look like you’re having a blast. I didn’t know about your journey but will continue to follow.
    Dance on Matt!

  2. pepe andres

    woooooow matt you rocks u have to dance in mexiko to chiapas to san cristobal to el chiflon
    be cool

    cheers

    pEpE

  3. Verônica

    i watched your film today ! why didn’t you come to brasil ?? you could dance in front of the Christ, in Rio !

    i’ve already watched it, i don’t why you do this, but i’m your fan now .. keep on dancing, man !

  4. “I dance badly for a living” What, you mean you will never have to go back to real work? Jammy B*stard we all wish we had your job!

  5. California George Family

    Hey Matt,
    We have really enjoyed the videos. Not sure why you felt so sausage-like, the interview with Matt Lauer was short but interesting. It was nice to see your brief interview.

    We’ll keep watching!

    Thanks,
    The George Family in California

  6. Stephan

    The appearance was good Matt, you seemed at ease, was fun to watch.

    Too bad we don’t get more blog posts like on your previous trips, by the way.

    In any case, next time you’re on TV, get them to give you the questions before so that you don’t have to say “gezz, …” :p

  7. Carole

    I just love it – a great way to start each day by watching you dance your way around the world – the whole time I am smiling and especially when you dance with the kids in Rwanda! What a hoot seeing the monster guy in Seattle – I’d forgotten all about him! Keep on helping the world smile more!

  8. Will McGarry, New York

    Hey Matt, We watched you on the Today show and thought the piece was a lot of fun…it made my wife and I laugh out loud, so I had to check out your site. The compilation video you put together is brilliant…we loved it and, like you, our favorite was you dancing with the Rwandan children.

    Although I’m not sure what it all means, it is a good thing you are doing. Thanks.

  9. 7ContinentsMan

    Hey Matt, you were great on Today! I brought my wife to see you on TV to tell her the story of how you emailed me back and we had short mails around how I’ve done marathons on 7 continents including Antarctica and are heading towards the 7 summits (highest mountains) on same 7 continents. Her comments were, “you wish you could do what Matt does for a ‘living’ also?!! Keep up the fun in a dark world!

  10. Lisa Ross

    Hey Matt,

    You should go with Matt next year on where in the world for NBC, your next gig ! I know you may feel like sausage after the show but I know the hits on your site are probably way up from the people who saw it like me and did not know you were out there and NBC linked to your site!

    Great Job, keep dancing

  11. Ok. Is Matt Lauer teeny tiny, or are you really that tall? That was so… unexpected. You don’t seem quite so lofty when you’re all by yourself dancing. But next to Matt… dang!

    Sorry you feel like sausage. I thought it was fine. Had to laugh that somebody edited in Napoleon Dynamite, though. What are they trying to say, exactly?

    Can’t wait to hear more about your adventures.

  12. Victoria

    Aw, I’m sorry. It must be totally weird and obnoxious to be on a tv show. I know because I set up cameras and lights and point them at people on a regular basis, and it’s really easy to forget that the person isn’t just a piece of meat to be filmed.

  13. I checked out the Today Show clip, and actually I think they did an okay job of keeping you out of the sausage grinder. I work in production, and they seemed to keep it straight ahead. Good job for coming off sincere and at ease! Keep it real…

  14. Kim

    My favorite dances are the ones with the kids in Rwandaw, and 2nd favorites would be the ones with the animals – especialy the elephants. I will keep reading, and hopefully understand why you do what you do. But I LOVE it! And I will be signing up to dance with you, if you ever make it back to Utah!

  15. Matt Melton

    It really is a small world to be near the Today show once a year. Let me know when the reunion of the “Matt Dancers” will be and where…Vegas showgirls in the background??? Just an idea. Thanks for what your doing.

    Matt

  16. Mark in NY

    Ugh, those Today Show personalites (and so many other similar ones) are just rediculous; they have their job based on their appearance and on-air facade, not for their actual ability and intellectual credibility. Matt Laeur demonstrates it perfectly: the story is more about the interviewer than the interviewee. I just knew during the whole clip that those yokels in the studio would bait you two to dance as “two Matts”. What fun. Why didn’t they ask you about how you’ve brought some measure of light into the bleak lives of those poverty stricken children in Rwanda? Naw, the dancing is much more interesting.

  17. Dennis

    Eh, seemed kind of impersonal to me, but I can’t imagine any tv is personal. I prefer the direct medium on the website here.

    Also, is that the same black guy on the today show that got bypass and lost all that weight, then did food network tv for a while? And he’s fat again? Maybe I have the wrong fat black guy.

  18. Simon

    Matt,
    I think your message about being part of a larger community and the need to see it, experience it and interact with it came through loud and clear.

    Hooray for Dancing Matt.

    Best,
    Simon

  19. Rich

    I haven’t seen the Today show, but to be honest I haven’t been too excited by most of your TV appearances. They scratch the surface and that’s about it. I *loved* watching your lecture on YouTube. That was great.

    I was plain ‘ol pissed off after I watched you on Ellen. She barely talked to you. Kudos to you for never saying anything bad, but I thought it was pretty b.s.

  20. Arwen

    You are in South Africa and all you can talk about is the Today Show.
    There are some amazing people and places in SA and it has some of the cleanest and nicest beaches in the world. It is also vastly undeveloped and unspoilt.
    Did you get to see any of that or is the picture of our last President on the furniture the only impression it left?

  21. We met in Johannesburg Briefly, me and my partner Sandi were at the Wimpy at the Johannesburg station. Send me a mail I really think your blog is Fab. Meet up when you are in Joburg again

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