Thursday, February 22, 2024

CJ de Mooi: “What’s on your mantelpiece?”

20 questions with actor and professional quizzer CJ de Mooi, best known for being a former panelist on the BBC’s ‘Eggheads’ 


The Steeple Times shares “wit and wisdom”. What’s your guiding force?

Only a rat can win the rat race. I prefer to be human kind.


“Don’t get even, get medieval” is, in our humble opinion, a great motto. What’s yours?

Take responsibility for your own actions.


Kerry Katona was considered unacceptable in 2007. Who or what is unacceptable in 2013?

Vladimir Putin. He’s a paranoid, homophobic, power mad, egotistic dictator.


Tony Blair misses being Prime Minister. What do you miss most in your life?

I try never to look back but there are always certain people who disappear through nobody’s fault so I’d just say my friend Alex. I also miss Tony Blair as Prime Minister.


What might you swap all your wealth for?

Any major step towards ending the terrible blight of homelessness.


Donald Trump was once a case of: “If you owe the bank a thousand, they close you down; but if you owe the bank a billion, you own the bank”. What’s your view on the banking crisis?

I’m sure there were a multitude of complex reasons but it really all boils down to the institutionalised avarice of individuals. They were encouraged by the faceless financial corporations which knew they’d always be bailed out and thus be free to continue as before.


What phrase or word do you most loathe?

“Amazeballs”: For the love of puppies, where did that abomination come from?


In the UK, some people consider charity to “begin at home”. What’s your view and what causes do you personally support?

The causes closest to my heart are homelessness and HIV. I worked and campaigned in both sectors for nearly 25 years.


The judge in Law Abiding Citizen states: “I can pretty much do whatever I want” before being blown up whilst answering her mobile phone. What’s your view on the appropriate use of such devices?

They’re an essential and unavoidable tool in a modern society. I wish people would be more considerate of their surroundings when using them. I’m utterly dumbstruck at the number of cretins still calling or texting when driving. Unbelievable callous stupidity.


CJ de Mooi
CJ de Mooi

If you could fill a carriage on The Orient Express, who would be your fellow passengers?

In the last year or so since I became an actor, I’ve met some wonderful people, particularly in the theatre, so I’d certainly want them there. My partner and friends too of course but I’d love to meet Albert Einstein, Thomas Jefferson and perhaps strangely, Adolf Hitler. All had incredible influence on history for very different reasons.


If you were unfortunate enough to end up on death row, what would be your last meal and where would you eat it?

The most delicious thing I’ve ever eaten is a cream cheesecake from the Viand Café in New York. I’d ideally eat it there… close to the unguarded rear exit. What would they do? Make my sentence worse if I tried to escape?


What time is it acceptable to consume the first drink of the day?

I have a sip of water about 8am. I’m a lifelong teetotaler. I’ve never even tasted alcohol so apart from orange juice with breakfast, that’s about as adventurous as I get.


A Negroni, a martini or a cup of tea?

I do like the occasional cup of tea. I usually have Darjeeling but if I can find it, a nice Ceylon Orange Pekoe is my choice every time.


Whose parties do you enjoy the most and why?

I’m not really a social person in the party sense to be honest and I’m sure my teetotal status has something to do with this. I try to avoid ‘celebrity’ or ‘showbiz’ parties as I feel somewhat of a fraud. A few mates, a pizza and a game of poker (I’m really awful) is perfectly fine for me.


Who is the most positive person you know?

My director friend Jamie. He’s lovely, always smiling and ready to create and face new challenges all the time. He makes me sick.


What’s your most guilty pleasure?

Pizza. I eat it all the time. I spend several hours a day in the gym just to counteract all the absolute rubbish I eat. I hear there are these things called vegetables now but I try and avoid them.


If a tattoo were to sum you up, what would it be of?

Not at all sure about this. I quite like tattoos and body art on others but I’d never have it myself. Maybe simply a question mark (melting a la Dali?) to reflect my internal contradictions… and my quizzing.


If you were a car, what marque would you be?

My favourite car is a Porsche GT2 but I’d be an Ariel Atom. Quite strange and confusing to behold but full of energy and surprises when it gets going.


Cilla Black presented Surprise, Surprise. Tell us the most surprising thing about you.

I’m an adrenaline junkie. You’re only here once so why not try and fit everything in? I’ve been skydiving, bungee jumping, scuba diving, white water rafting, motor racing, the lot. My next aim is a naked bungee jump out of a helicopter. Seriously.


What’s currently sitting on your mantelpiece?

I don’t have one! I’m even lacking a fireplace. I’m a very minimalist person and the idea of decorative knick-knacks and ornaments is completely lost on me.


CJ de Mooi is an actor, panelist and professional quizzer. He is best known for having been on the BBC’s Eggheads between 2003 and 2011.


Follow him on Twitter @cjdemooi


To support CJ de Mooi’s attempt to raise £10,000 for The Albert Kennedy Trust, click here.

The Steeple Times
The Steeple Times
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