The other day, in a bid to touch base with the Gikuyu side of myself and with a nudge from my friend Kenyan Poet, I attended a Gikuyu comedy night at Alliance Française courtesy of Fanaka Arts. At first I wondered what on earth a 5 hour comedy show would entail and whether the comedians would manage to keep it funny the whole time. There were many acts including and I can’t document all of them. But these are my opinions of 5 of them that stood out for me. They’re in no particular order.
Wagithomoz are a pretend mûkûrinû couple who started their act from an average almost boring point and built it up to a surprisingly hilarious last half. I say surprising because they actually really looked like those acts you don’t mind missing. Like the one during which one could take a bathroom break. But by the time they did their last few acts which were corruptions of Nerea and nishike, the dancing couple had worked the audience into near delirium. They were the only performance to get a standing ovation from the audience that night.
When Pastor Kuria walked on stage with a bible in hand, I thought oh noo not here! Surprise surprise the pastor was hilarious from the first second and had no intentions of preaching at all! Not a minute of his session was boring, rather hilarious message filled snippets about the realities of the church, how for example faith will not get you that kilo of meat that you desire. That you cannot stand across a butchery and pray for the meat to teleport to you due to faith.
The good pastor came this close to bashing the very church for leading their flock into blind faith and lying to them that they money they give belongs to the church and to God. He had the crowd in tears as he admitted to what we all know – that the money is his as the church owner. A result of his sweat – he who stands at the pulpit every Sunday and preaches.
Considering that I was not at Alliance Francaise to sanitize the church or for spiritual nourishment, I did not mind the pastor at all. He’s actually a pastor in real life.
Just seeing his name on the poster had me excited. He just sounded funny and I was looking forward to his part of the show. Unfortunately Mûndû particular was quite the disappointment. The little humour there was to him came off as forced and I thought he should just stay away from comedy. He’s certainly a marketable actor but in my opinion and based on that night’s performance he should not be marketed as funny because he’s not. His act was towards the end of the night and I feared that he would water down all the hilarity that had been that night and close it on a boring note.
I did not feel Mûgwerû as such. He was not necessarily boring but he was not particularly funny either. This can largely be attributed to the fact that he’s the only one I’d heard of him and I may have been expecting more that he usually delivers. The rest of the audience seemed to love him though.
Kiengei had been slotted the longest time and he did not bore the audience for one minute. He was borderline crass in a few instances and outright vulgar in others but in the end he did not cross the line. You got the feeling that he was gauging the mood of the crowd and adjusting his act accordingly.
Comedy nights and generally Gikuyu theatre is something I’d certainly get used to and will be on the lookout for more.