There is a silent or cold war going on between Ugandan comedians and journalists over the ‘crumbling’ standards of comedy particularly stand-up comedy in the country.
The disagreements which have been going on silently blew up when a one Joseph Opio penned a damning dossier or post-mortem (as he refers to it) in The Kampala Sun, a tabloid run by Vision group detailing reasons why the industry is falling under the noses of the concerned parties.
The heavily opinionated article titled ‘Uganda comedy taken off life support’ was actually written by a student of stand-up comedy Joseph Opio, formerly at Urban TV now studying at the American Comedy Institute in New York.
He dissects the ‘pathetic’ situation of stand-up comedy in Uganda accusing them (comedians) of being unprofessional and even in some cases, not funny at all.
Some of the top local comedians like Salvador Idringi took offence and started a war of words that degenerated into personal attacks on social media. This, after the author and other supporting casts like Kojo Cyril and Solomon Muleyi claimed our comedians are recycling jokes and not doing enough research to improve on the industry and instead getting comfortable with the little they get from an audience that keeps dwindling by the day.
Salvador who knows Opio personally was the first to respond on Facebook castigating him of blasting comedians and the industry as well as pointing the fact that the author was being disrespectful to them at a point when the likes of him and Anne Kansiime are flying the national flag high up across the globe. He received hundreds of responses mostly in support.
“The Article was really too harsh and its timing was just absurd, for someone to boldly write a “Ugandan Comedy is on Life Support” when at that moment the Amazing Kansiime Anne was touring in Australia and I had just come back from my UK tour where I performed at one of the biggest theaters on the world “The Apollo”… Was just too wrong…. As one of the people fronting my country everywhere I go due to comedy, I feel disrespected and hurt that a respectable tabloid can do that to one of its own, someone representing their country in what they do best, I didn’t even get a mention in regards my tour in the Kampala sun…” Reads part of Salvador’s response
Salvador’s colleague Alex Muhangi also weighed in by sharing the experience he had with a journalist a one Solomon from Kampala Sun who called to ask about the same topic but apparently did it in an unprofessional manner.
“I think Comedy in Uganda is not dying, you guys are Rather killing it.” He said
In his rather long Facebook post, he asked Ugandans to support local talent like it is in other countries instead of bashing.
“I have been to countries like Kenya, where even if you get more laughs than Eric Omondi, the best you can get is a little mention in the story tomorrow,
They support their own,
If we don’t, which journalists will,
Let’s support our Musicians too,
But if you diss me in the Tabloid, I diss u in my jokes & on Facebook, Thank God we can revert too via these platforms, where is it gon end.
Being disrespectful of each other’s industry will never build Ugandans but rather kill us.”
This generated a long stream of debate on Muhangi’s wall with some journalists defending their colleagues while those for the comedians defending stand-up comedy and their stars.
The debate is now raging on other media platforms as well on whether comedy in Uganda is going down. You can join the debate on our facebook page and share your thought here