Chipukeezy's ascent to the top has been applause-worthy.
Like a Boeing 777, he has risen quickly from the runway to 35,000 feet in the skies.
He started out as a comedian on Churchill Show and his jokes only revolved around the town of Mlolongo. Now, he is not only the host of a major TV show but also a director at the National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (Nacada). If the word success should have an additional synonym, then it should be Chipukeezy.
Chipukeezy has toiled in his career. He also chose the right company to keep early on. At one time, he had a lengthy stint as Eric Omondi's side-kick. He was the Robin to Eric's Batman. Everywhere Erico went, Chipukeezy was there. They even did countless comedy skits together. Consequently, his stock rose tremendously. Hanging out with Eric also helped him get plenty of connections.
Obviously, in the voyage to success, one of the major keys one needs is "having friends in the right places". They will always recommend you when opportunities come up. A recommendation might not automatically get you a job but it at least gets you to the point where you are told "show us what you got. If you are good, we will take you."
Chipukeezy and Jaguar (Starehe MP Charles Njagua) are good buddies and have been pictured hanging out together a dozen times over the years. The comedian was even the only celeb invited to the most recent birthday party of the singing politician's daughter. That must feel good right? I wouldn't be surprised if Jaguar recommended him for the Nacada post after the politician left the job.
Despite Chipukeezy's achievements, he isn't really well-liked online. The comments that get posted on anything bearing his name are proof enough. If you check the reactions to clips of "The Chipukeezy Show" that keep circulating on Facebook, there is a scarcity of love and appreciation. All that is present is backlash.
Why is this so? Why does such a successful entertainer draw so much criticism?
The major issue people have with him is that he doesn't know how to interview guests. He tends to appear rude or authoritative. His interviews have the tone of a harsh father talking to a son who has messed up or an FBI agent interrogating a captured Mafioso boss, instead of the tone of two friends having a candid conversation.
LISTEN TO YOUR ELDERS
When Jalang'o appeared on Chipukeezy's show a while back, he even told the comedian to check on the tone he uses while probing guests. However, he didn't seem to listen. His responses to Jalang'o were a mixture of defensiveness and brushing it off.
Jalas is somewhat of an elder in the showbiz industry and when you don't listen to elders, the universe tends to give you a whipping later on at its own convenient time.
There are those who say Chipukeezy isn't funny. I disagree with this. Humour isn't universal. It isn't a one-shoe-fits-all kind of thing. Humour is in the ears of the listener or the eyes of the watcher. What one person finds funny, another person might find unequivocally boring.
For example, I always insist that Chris Rock is the greatest stand-up comedian of all time. A good number of my friends say it's Dave Chappelle - someone who happens to make me sleep than laugh.
So, Chipukeezy is funny in his own way. And alongside Dr. Ofweneke and Dr. King'ori, he is the only other Kenyan with a comedy night-time talk show. Maybe he should add 'doctor' to his name too...
In the US, comedy night-time talk shows are very popular. The likes of Trevor Noah, Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon, Stephen Colbert and James Corden are major superstars. The format is always simple. The host begins with a monologue then he interviews a guest (or guests). I have to give King'ori, Ofweneke and Chipukeezy credit for trying to recreate something similar.
Of the three, Chipukeezy is obviously the most famous. Given his following, he has all the tools needed to be a legend in the late night show arena. Sadly, he isn't taking it seriously.
They say that with much success comes laxity. You tend to stop putting effort in the little things that you were once strict about. Maybe Chipukeezy has no time to think of how to refine his craft, given that he is travelling all over and he also has a government position. But as the great Sanhita Baruah said, "You don't get time, you create time."
Chipukeezy can easily change the perception that fans have of him if he just changes how he steers his show. His attitude needs surgery. With just that one change, he'll be unstoppable - just that one thing, nothing more. Oh wait, there's one more thing. He should also never lie to Kenyans that a major celebrity like Kevin Hart invited him somewhere ever again.
That move really tainted his reputation and I kind of feel that a good number of people haven't forgiven for him. The 'Chipukeezy Vs The People' battle shouldn't last forever though. He will be forgiven if he figures out how to stop annoying everyone.
Will he stop annoying everyone? I doubt it but I am ready to be surprised.