16 January 2019

Kenya: Stand-Up Comedy Where No Topic Is Off Limits

Ever wanted to watch a Kenyan comedy show that doesn't reek of tribal stereotypes? A group of comedians in Nairobi is working on satisfying this need.

Dubbed Saturday Night Comedy, the stand-up shows seek to address politics, relationships, corruption, gender inequality and "all subjects under the sun", according to Doug Mutai, the organiser.

Doug is also a stand-up comedian.

True to his word, no subject was taboo for the comedians at the January 5 show headlined by Mammito, who is also a "Churchill Show" comedian. It was held at The Blues restaurant on Loita Street, Nairobi.

PLAYGROUND

"I wanted to create a playground for comedians and help move comedy to the next level. I want to see professional comedians who don't have to be famous to entertain Kenyans.

We want to churn out the kind of comedy that makes people introspective about their day-to-day experiences. I see these comedians touring Melbourne in Australia, South Africa, Canada," he says.

And Doug knows a thing or two about performing on international stages.

The marketing graduate was a professional comedian in Canada, where he also did his undergraduate studies, before relocating back to Kenya in 2015.

"I realised that I was earning much more for much less time worked as a comedian than with any other job so I quit my side jobs and focused on it. I was signed by Yuk Yuk's Comedy Club and we had international performances too."

NURTURING TALENT

Yuk Yuk is a stand-up comedy club in Canada which boasts many famous alumni, hosting rising and established stars.

Doug, who is also a businessman, is a staunch believer in the depths of talent in Kenya but bemoans the lack of structures to support this talent.

"That is why I created the Saturday Night Comedy club where such talent can be nurtured and supported," he reiterates.

Their first show was in March, 2018. The shows are held on the first Saturday of every month at The Blues restaurant with open mic sessions every Monday.

"A lot of comedians who end up performing on the Saturday Night shows start off at the Monday Open Mic sessions."

Doug and fellow comedian Mammito are part of the Kenya Comedy Club.

They are keen on putting structures to the creative economy in Kenya and if the show on Monday 5 is anything to go by, then they are destined for success.

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