#6 Kate Goliath – Taking Over the World, Evolution of Comedy Amidst COVID, and Being a Working Mom
PODCAST: Episode 6
Kate Goliath – Taking Over the World, Evolution of Comedy Amidst COVID, and Being a Working Mom
In this episode, we speak to an inspiring and powerful mother who is the “Boss” of the Goliaths. What a pleasure chatting with Kate Goliath, who is supposedly, among her other roles, the funniest of the Goliath siblings.
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About Our Guest: Kate Goliath
In this episode, we speak with Kate Goliath. Kate is the Managing Director of Goliath and Goliath, an award-winning comedy and entertainment agency and club. Her role includes managing the careers of Jason, Donovan, and Nicholas Goliath, as well as the day-to-day operation of the business.
Kate has helped support, develop, and grow the careers of dozens of comedians across the country and has fearlessly continued to build Goliath and Goliath despite the challenges of COVID-19. Kate is part of a movement and woman’s collaboration network called Cotton Candy and also executes her role as supermom, flawlessly.
- How Goliath and Goliath have adapted during the national lockdown.
- Piloting the survival of the comedy industry.
- How she educates her kids.
- What it takes to be both a businesswoman and a full-time mom.
Full Episode Transcription
Philip von Ziegler: In this episode, I’ll be speaking with Kate Goliath. Kate is the Managing Director of Goliath and Goliath, an award-winning comedy and entertainment agency and club. Her role includes managing the careers of Jason, Donovan, and Nicholas Goliath, as well as the day-to-day operations of the business.
Kate has helped support, develop and grow the careers of dozens of comedians across the country, and has fearlessly continued to build the Goliath and Goliath brand despite the challenges of COVID-19. Kate is part of a movement and women’s collaboration network called Cotton Candy and also executes her role as Supermom flawlessly.
In this episode, we discuss topics such as Kate’s entrepreneurial journey, the challenges of navigating COVID-19, how she educates her kids, and what it takes to be both a businesswoman and full-time mom, as well as a range of other topics. I thoroughly enjoyed this conversation with Kate, and I’m sure you will, too. Without further ado, I give you Kate Goliath.
Kate, thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us today. To start off, for those who don’t know who you are, maybe you can just tell us a little bit about yourself, what it is you do, where you come from.
Kate Goliath: Awesome, thank you so much for having me. It’s always strange when I get a request to do anything and I’m not facilitating something for the guys. So it’s really cool to be chatting to you.
I’m Kate Goliath and Managing Director of Goliath and Goliath and essentially manage a comedy company. We are building it into more of a production agency, adding in just more creative elements due to COVID. Which has caused us to sort of change the plan a lot more drastically than before. But yeah, I manage the day-to-day of our business. So finances, admin, diaries, bookings, invoices, whatever it is, you name it.
As well as executive produce and talent consulting for a couple of external clients as well as for shows and productions that they do. So it’s a mixed bag of treats, is generally what my job is. I usually say I’m the organiser of everything. That’s my main job title.
How Kate Became the Managing Director of Goliath and Goliath
PvZ: Great, well, I want to start by talking a little bit more about Goliath and Goliath before we move on to your kids and their education. But before talking about Goliath and Goliath, what was your educational journey like, that you ended up as the MD of this comedy/agency/company/club. How did you get there?
KG: Phew, by accident, literally. I studied, I took a break year after high school. And then I came back and I studied a communications degree at the University of Johannesburg. And then I took another break and I went overseas again. And then I came back and was very lucky to get a job in public relations at Primedia Broadcasting in Jo’burg. And that was a whirlwind 3 years of just like craziness, but really essentially pricked me for the next steps in my journey.
And then as fate would have it, I then left and was sort of in-between jobs and doing little communication jobs for really sort of arb companies, I won’t mention names.
And then Jason started doing comedy with Donovan and Nicholas and things started getting a bit busier for them. And I had just had a baby and my mother actually suggested to the guys, why don’t you just use Kate to do your bookings? At Primedia, I had some talent management within their talent agency.
And the rest is literally history, from starting on my mother’s dining room table, with a baby on my lap to now having my own office, building a studio, having clubs, closing clubs, managing intense careers. It’s been quite a journey and a lot of it has also been educating myself and learning things myself. And that’s been a big part of it.
And I say this all the time. I’ve learned how to do my job by doing my job, which I think is something that sometimes people forget to do. Once they’ve finished studying, they feel like, well, I’ve learned this now, I don’t need to learn anymore.
So that’s my basic journey to getting to where I am now and to having a fully-fledged company with a VAT number. It’s quite something for now, and yeah, I mean, it’s all literally, I mean, finance was the last thing that I’d ever thought I would be doing. But now I look at balance sheets and cost of sales and I know what all of those things are, which is still scary to me. But I have to do it, so I had to learn how to do it as well.
The Impact of Coronavirus on the Entertainment Industry
PvZ: So, look, I mean, you’re run running Goliath and Goliath. It’s obviously been a business that’s been growing for many years now. And then all of a sudden, coronavirus hits. That must have been a big shock to the system. What have you done to mitigate the damage that coronavirus may have done to a business like yours? And how have you adapted over the last couple of months?
KG: So, I think for everybody, as corona affected every single life, being on this earth, it was a complete shock. And from what was our busiest months, March/April went to our zero billing months. And we had a venue, we have an office, we have staff, so a lot of adaptions and evolving sort of happened. We had to retrench our staff, close our club, but then look to what other avenues we can still push comedy in, and I could still push my talent into.
And so we started a daily live show with the guys at Mushroom Live and it was called Goliaths GO LIVE, and we ended up doing 100 episodes within the lockdown period. Chatting to people from all over South Africa, from all walks of life, celebrities, sportsmen, DJs, normal people, everybody, comedians, and asking them about what their lockdown journey was.
And that was just to, (a), keep the guys funny-fit, fit-funny, and (b) to also keep them connected to each other on a daily, which we now didn’t have. And (c), to just also get them more comfortable with talking to screens, which is still really awkward and uncomfortable.
But it certainly took it up a notch in that we were now fit to start doing corporates in this way and could start offering corporates different packages. We now have a technical manager from the Mushroom team who can assist if the guys all need to be on screen at all one time. So we’ve got a complete package that was developed in this time that we can now service our clients. And we’ve also seen that a lot of corporate clients are not moving back to big, full-scale events right at the moment.
So keeping in that plan, we started looking at building rather a studio in our office where we could record podcasts, voice-overs, digital content, videos, corporate videos for clients, etc, etc.
So it’s been quite a big push into the change that we had started planning for already. So in a way, COVID sort of forced us to start the plan, which we had started thinking about and strategizing towards. But COVID sort of said, hey, you’ve got to get into it now and move, and that’s what we’ve done. We’ve literally have not sat down, and we’ve been pushing.
It also helped Donovan sort of flex his creative muscles more on a digital platform. And because he had the ability, but I think there was sort of a disconnect because with all the stage time and live interaction, and now he’s finally found his groove and he’s so comfortable there.
So there have been so many different changes, bad and good. But we’ve tried to also remain positive in the fact that if we are still alive at the end of this, we’ve already made a profit, we’ve already conquered, we’ve won already. So it’s the move on from there. But also, just to use what we have and evolve it, and give clients still the value that we used to offer them live on stage.
We did some online comedy shows, which are not really the guys’ thing at the moment, so we’re looking at other ways of getting to the public audience, and that’s still in development. But I think, we’re on a good path and I think we’re excited about the after-corona effect and where we go from there.
PvZ: Yea, I think we’ll bounce back relatively quickly. But it is incredible to see what an adverse situation does in terms of driving your resilience and resourcefulness and creativity to solve problems. So it’s a super interesting time.
Kate Goliath’s Family
PvZ Something that I want to move on to, which is sort of the primary focus here. You’ve got two boys, I believe?
PvZ: So tell us a little bit about them and their education journey. Are they at school currently?
KG: They are. They are 9 and 5 years old. The 5-year-old, George, is a very boisterous, loud, independent boy that doesn’t like to listen to instruction, but is very clever and picks up things very quickly. And he’s at nursery school. He’s moving to the German school, the DSJ, where my oldest son is, and will start kindergarten next year.
And my 9-year-old is now in Grade 2 this year, and also very boisterous, not as loud, but also very independent and very creative and has a huge imagination, which is great.
So their schooling hasn’t been much, but I have noticed that in Grade 1 and 2, there’s been a lot of growth and change within my older son. And it’s crazy how he went from not reading, not writing, to now being able to do it all and reading everything around him. And now he reads and writes in English and in German, so it’s quite a lot. And he’s also starting to also understand that we don’t understand as much German as he does, so that could become a problem soon!
PvZ: That’s dangerous!
KG: Which is why we look closely at reading these German books with him every night! But yeah, so that’s their basics. I mean, my littlest, he is learning the alphabet now and properly learning how to colour in and cut and that sort of thing. So he’s still at the very beginning of his journey.
PvZ: One of the hardest jobs in the world is being a mom. Not only that, you’re also the MD of Goliath and Goliath. How do you balance the two roles?
KG: Before lockdown, it was a lot easier because office/ home was quite separate. And I sort of forced that by the time I got home, by 5 o’clock, I don’t answer my phone unless it’s really urgent, and I don’t work at night. So that time is spent for them, and weekends are for the kids and for the family.
During COVID it’s been a bit different because they’ve been around all the time and sort of managing and balancing that time has been a little bit anxious or anxiety-driven at times. It helped having my husband at home and he’s a very hands-on dad, so that also helps me strike a balance. So we’ve also got a great system at home where Dad has his bonding time, Mom has her bonding time. And we sort of separate chores, if you want to call it that, in terms of balancing roles.
And also, my husband is very, very aware of not forcing that Mom-role. So that the boys will always just see women as moms and as these caring roles. So we work hard to strike that balance there, and I think that just creates a bigger balance as well.
And just as a woman and as a mother, it just comes naturally. You just sometimes, I don’t know how, but you manage to balance and fit it all in and wake up with a smile on your face most days.
PvZ: That’s incredible.
KG: But, yeah, it literally is difficult to say how you create the balance. You’ve got to just find your way and find what’s easy for you, not follow books and bloggers.
PvZ: You mentioned earlier that you’ve obviously taken this conscious decision to put your kids in the German school. You’ve got an active role that you’re playing in developing their academic road map.
In saying that, to what extent do you think the traditional school system has its shortcomings? And what I mean by that more specifically, is when you mentioned that a lot of the things that you have to do today to run the business that you’re running, are things that you had to learn by yourself. You weren’t taught in varsity and you certainly weren’t taught at school.
Now, are there certain things that you wish were taught in school? And what are these essentials that kids are missing out on by purely relying on the schooling system to educate them holistically?
PvZ: Taxes! Nick said the same thing!
KG: They really should have taught us about tax and finance just those nitty-gritty life lessons. I think we had life skills, but it’s still a very sheltered approach to what life actually is. And I think that’s also what the education system is. It’s a very sheltered sort of, this is the bubble you need to stay in to be a normal person in society.
But what I found is that my kids also watch YouTube videos to learn how to build in Minecraft and that sort of thing. So learning has become something that either you want to do it or you don’t, and you just want to close yourself up. And I think that that’s where I see a bit of, like, the education system currently is very closed and there doesn’t seem to be room for any sort of evolving and movement.
And I look at it in this time of corona, where teachers were so stressed out about an online working environment. The kids seemed absolutely fine. But the teachers, it really stressed them out, and that’s because they’d never even done it before.
They’ve never ever sent kids work home on MS Teams, and it’s in the file and everybody’s got it, and happy days. Or had that extra chat with a smaller group and a class and stuff like that.
So I think it’s the whole system that needs to change in terms of just allowing teachers to be able to teach in a way that’s comfortable for kids, for them. And not just here’s the syllabus, take it, go. This is what they need to tick off in their checkboxes, and that’s a pass. Whereas, you know, kids should be prepped for writing CVs, doing their taxes, budgeting, simple, simple, simple, simple stuff.
And just general, like if you take out an Edgars account, this is the interest, and this money that’s in this account is not actually your money, it’s Edgars’s money! And just those little tips, I think, can prevent all of us from making simple mistakes and becoming entrenched into economic failures, which we really don’t need.
So for me, those are the most important things that we need to start incorporating, I suppose, and the flaws may be that I see within the education system. I mean, we had looked at Montessori as well for our kids. But a lot of things about the DSJ pulled us towards there, so we’d known people that had been there. Nicolas’s oldest child had started before ours. His wife had been to the German school. And because also kindergarten, primary school, high school, all in one happy day. So a lot less admin on our part, but also very much a sense of, and I think they’ve got it somewhere in their slogan, a sense of ubuntu at the school.
They are very, very focused on the education and not so much on what the child looks like, how he talks, how his hair looks, which I had growing up in my school. So your hair had to be a certain way otherwise you can’t learn. Whereas at the DSJ, they are more relaxed on that and very, very strict on the education part. So those are just a few things that drew us there.
But my husband and I talk about it all the time that eventually school is going to be obsolete, and YouTube is going to be the university for everybody. Because you can literally learn anything you want to off YouTube.
Kate’s Personal Education Journey
PvZ: So out of interest in your personal education journey, how much of what you do today would you say was informed by your own research online? The use of tools like YouTube, online courses, simple Google searches. What role did the Internet play in your education, put it like that?
KG: Like massive, massive! I mean, I don’t even remember the things I learned in varsity, all those big textbooks that we had to learn. And obviously, those things are now ingrained in me, and I look out for them as a businesswoman. I see some connections there.
But in building this business, everything came off of YouTube, Facebook, the Internet. Checking out international comedy clubs, and how bios are written. Just looking at looks and feels from other parts of the world to see how it works.
We’re lucky that generally, comedy is quite a consistent platform where even if it’s in another language, it’s done the same. So we’ve done loads and loads of research online. And you’re absolutely right, with an Internet connection, and a fully charged device, you can literally take over the world and your access just changes completely.
So that was also like within corona and I decided to diverge. But that was also my worry, is that there’s a lot of kids that don’t have access, so how did they learn?
Which is quite daunting. It’s a daunting thought because it’s an absolute privilege to have the ability. Even for me, building my business, it was a privilege to have my mother’s Wi-Fi at her house. So I can’t stress how important it is.
PvZ: So with regards to your kids, you’re obviously educating them in a German school that does give you the international opportunity. It opens that door up. How would you define a successful education? I think that a lot of parents send their kids to school because it socially sorts of the normal thing to do, without too much thought. That is the default position of most parents.
But I would argue that a lot of parents don’t answer that question, of what is a successful education? What am I really trying to achieve here? So in your words, what would a successful education at the end of Matric, or at the end of university, look like for you with regards to your kids?
KG: I think the product, I hate to call my kids products, but I think the endgame for us is to have a wholesome person that can live their lives and make decent decisions. So, I mean, my mother always taught us that you must deal; the consequence is number one. So whatever choice you make, be ready for the consequence of it. Be ready to make your reparations, fix it, and move on. Don’t harp on it. Don’t make it a focal point, fix it, move on, get stronger.
And so for me, it’s very important that my kids understand that education doesn’t only happen at school. So schooling is not the be-all and end-all. It’s an addition that you add on to your life experience as a person. Your social experience with other kids and with other people. So the end goal is developing a human that can live within society. And be kind, and stand up for themselves, and know that even though you don’t have a BSc but you have a BCom or a BA, you are still a worthy member of society and can still add value wherever you go.
And I think that’s the problem is that a lot of parents think that school, you know, teachers must teach kids everything at school. They send them to school for all life sort of skills, etc, etc, and that’s not it for us. Education happens at home and in the classroom. Education in the classroom is literally to standardise you. An education at home is to teach you how to be a person, and that’s the end goal.
And I think when they then have that outlook and go to school, there’s not so much pressure that, I’ve got to get As and Bs and that sort of thing. It’s a case of I’ve done the best that I can do, and I feel happy about this.
And it’s at the end of the day, you know, I’d love an A. But I also have to understand that if English is not your thing, you’re not going to get the A there, but you’ll get the A in maths. So it’s a whole combination of things just adding up to that.
How Kate Exposed Math and Coding to Her Children
PvZ: Coming back to the schooling side – maths. Maths is obviously one of the core subjects. I believe somebody that has a fundamental understanding of maths, somebody that can communicate well and articulate themself well, is in a very privileged position and a very powerful position. But the next skill that’s becoming ever more important is the ability to code. It’s sort of the language of the 21st century. Is this something that you’ve adopted in your life with your kids?
KG: Definitely, I mean, as young parents we’ve also been hearing a lot about this, oh, coding, coding. And coding is this and get your kids into coding, and that sort of thing. My oldest son loves maths, and he knows that he’s good at maths, so he’s also got a great confidence in it. And now the same with the coding. He feels very confident in it, whereas he’s not a big sportsman, but put him behind that coding and he’ll come and show. And I mean, he draws cartoons. He makes his own little cartoon series and characters and that sort of thing.
And so I think the coding also is great for him to start expressing himself in a really cool way. And that also gives him a sort of advantage that not all kids can do it, or will be able to do it. But he gets it, and that, I think, is the difference. You also can’t force them and say, hey, you must do this coding now, it’s coding, coding time, coding time. But he gets it and he really enjoys it.
So for us, it’s important to keep flexing those strengths of his so that he can become more confident. And then also if they can start early, I mean, there are 12-year-olds that are earning great money and sorting themselves out. And you look at like, will those kids go to university? That sort of thing, so if he does the coding thing, he might not need extra education or experience, or whatever. He might just get a job and it’ll help him evolve as a person. So we fully encourage it.
And so, I also wouldn’t be sad if his brother said, look, this isn’t for me. I want to do something else. I want to play outside still and not get on it. But I don’t see that not happening, but yeah.
PvZ: And I assume that the school that they’re going to, or that the second child is going to go to, this German school, is not following the South African curriculum?
KG: They are, they do, I think more from the high school. I haven’t had too much experience with the high school, but I think the high school is definitely following the South African curriculum because they do in German, I think, you know, that’s separate. But maths and English are still very important.
Although in the primary school, German is the focus until Grade 3, and then they start pushing in more English for them to prep them for high school. It’s not GDE, though, program, so they can still study here and then study overseas as well.
Kate’s View on Screentime and Social Media
PvZ: How do you feel about social media and how do you feel about your kids using social media?
KG: I like it and I hate it at the same time. I complain every day and I also unfollow people every day. And I’ve become, especially during this time, I’ve become so conscious about what I’m consuming from my social media. So I don’t go on Twitter. I’ve got an account, but I refuse. It’s really just not a pleasant place to be. Facebook, here and there, and Instagram, I prefer the most because the content is so varied and it’s easy to use.
But I think it is up to them. I’ve just got to show them what I’ve learned in this period. When social media first started, it was like, I want everything, I want to follow everybody. Whereas now I’ve started baking sourdough bread in lockdown, and that’s what my Instagram feed looks like, sourdough bread and comedy, that’s it.
So it’s also just a tool for them to learn other people, and to learn how that side of the world works. It can be a positive, happy place. You can instill positivity, but they can also be that negative. So you can’t stop them from being on it, but it has to be an honest conversation. There’s negativity and there’s positivity, and you don’t have to get involved in anything that doesn’t draw you to it.
Or just because this person is your friend, you don’t have to follow their account because they’re your friend. You follow what’s interesting you, and you can curate it to your life and to make sure that you get the most out of social media as well.
They’re very aware of YouTube and they love doing Instagram filters on my phone, so that’s a treat for them once or twice a week. We’ll go and I’ll find actually, cute photos that we can download and that sort of thing and that they are obsessed with.
And then they’re also obsessed with cooking videos and those little hack videos and that sort of thing, which I also let them watch sometimes. So, I think it’s also how you experience these things. And I also think that even when they are a bit older, some of these might not even be relevant anymore. There might be, like TikTok, for instance. I am the worst, I get drawn into TikTok, it’s like a hole. But I cannot be active. I cannot post because I don’t know what to post.
But I look at these young kids and they’re like just making content out of air, and it’s incredible what they can do. So I also wouldn’t want to say to them, don’t use this thing, because I also know the value and I know my artists make money off of social media, so it’s a platform.
So essentially, what I want to teach them, is that any job these days is valid. If you can do it online, and if you can build it, and if you can put your whole being behind it, you can build a successful whatever out of whatever, literally.
KG: And that’s literally what I’ve learned, even with my business, I sell funny. Which was also growing up, you don’t even think about going into entertainment. And now it’s a viable career path for some.
So I think it’s really opened up in a way that so many more things are valid for them. So many more things they’re able to do and to think about doing, and that’s what’s exciting for me. I don’t want to also crush their spirits and say this is a dark, horrible place. I want them to go in there and say I can make this better in my way.
PvZ: Oh, it’s incredible. I think what I’m going to do to round off this conversation is just ask a couple of rapid-fire questions and then I’m going to end off with a slightly longer form question. But my first question, and it has to be, who is the greatest comedian of all time?
KG: Oh, that’s such a hard question! Jerry Seinfeld, for me.
PvZ: Okay, Seinfeld, yes. Next question, who’s the funniest Goliath?
PvZ: You know what? Nick said the same thing.
KG: Good, I’m glad he knows.
PvZ: Brilliant, brilliant! And then another one I want to ask is, as a successful businesswoman in South Africa, slightly more seriously, what are some of the challenges that you had to overcome in building your career?
KG: I work in a very male-dominated space, but I’ve always been more drawn to hanging out with men and having guy friends and stuff like that than girls. I’ve always felt more comfortable.
But a big challenge is just being heard, and just being taken seriously, and being more than just a date-keeper. Where I think we need to, as women, work a little bit harder, shout a little bit louder and stomp our feet to get the attention, and then say, I’m not crazy. I’m actually making a valid point here.
So it’s those things in that you can be sort of overshadowed in a male-dominated industry, but you’ve got to keep on forcing your voice. So my greatest challenge has always been to just not keep quiet, to not be complacent, and to just, you know, force.
And another thing is, I think as women, we’re so scared to ask questions about anything because we’re supposed to know everything, and we shouldn’t. If we ask questions then we really are a dumb woman, but questions are an empowering thing. So for me, it’s about just being strong enough to ask even the silliest question, to make sure that I can still fulfill and do whatever I need to do on my side.
PvZ: What do you believe about education that you think most people disagree with?
KG: That teachers will become obsolete. I mean, in this whole digital age, we’ve seen print publications die down, but we also have not seen newspapers and magazines disappear.
And I think a lot of thought is that now with this digital thing, teachers will become obsolete, and people will be learning from robots, te ra ra ra. But you still as a human, you still need a human. So you still need to ask a human a question that a computer can’t answer.
You still need that emotional interaction with somebody who cares about what you’re learning, and so that would be the answer for me.
PvZ: Great. Kate, thank you so much for your time, I’ve really enjoyed this conversation.
KG: Definitely, I enjoyed it so much as well, thanks so much, Philip. It’s really been, you know, we don’t talk about education and coding in the same sentences many times. But yea, no, it’s really sort of gotten me excited, and I know my kids are going to love this Smartick app. It’s so incredible that they are people like you that can think this way and that can encourage ultimate education.
The Future Minds podcast is brought to you by Smartick. Smartick is an award-winning, intelligent, online mathematics and coding program for kids ages 4 – 14. Powered by sophisticated, adaptive AI, Smartick teaches kids math and coding from the comfort of home in as little as 15 minutes per day. For more information, visit smartick.com or download the app on tablet or iPad today.
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