Just where did your journey in the arts start?
Professionally, my journey started at Theatrix Arts Ensemble by Alliwah David in 2011. I later moved to Heartstrings Entertainment in 2014, one of the leading comedy theatres that stages plays at Alliance Française, and grew under the leadership of director Sammy Mwangi. I was soon starring in TV shows such as Inspekta Mwala, Sunday School Academy and Mwalimu Rikunyati among others.
How did you transition from acting to writing and co-anchoring TV shows?
Theatre is an activity that empowers you as an actor as well as an orator, and all round creative. When taken seriously and of course over time, one amasses a lot of
knowledge that cuts across different careers. I have over 10 years in theatre, which I believe prepared me for creative writing and improvisation. Theatre equips you for the world so that your motto is ‘hakuna mkate ngumu mbele ya supu’. Online courses have also helped me sharpen my skills.
What are your achievements and highlights?
Writing and producing TV shows is a high in itself. It is quite humbling to see your ideas on air. My partner Victor Nyaata and I do skits and comedy on my YouTube channel called Mkisii ni Mkisii, which has comedy in English, Kiswahili and Ekegusii. We held the first ever comedy show in Ekegusii at the Kenya National Theatre in 2020 and it was a sold-out event, and we plan to do even more in future. We are also proud of starting our online radio and TV stations; Mkisii Radio and Mkisii TV. I believe that local languages are the next frontier. We cannot all be struggling to tweng and biting our tongues in the process.
How has Covid-19 affected the business of comedy?
There have been no live shows or projects where one can emcee and get money. But it also means it is a time of introspection and planning. It has also highlighted the need for comedy content that can be shared on social media. It has been a learning process for comedy brands on matters content and financial accounting, I would say.
What keeps you going?
God’s grace, hard work and people’s goodwill. I am passionate about art; I love creating content and making people laugh and thereby easing their worries even if it is just for a moment. My faith in God has also kept me centred and focused through it all. Knowing that I am doing my best and leaving the rest to God gives me immense peace. My family keeps me grounded whilst keeping me hungry for more. Knowing there are people who are unconditionally rooting for you and celebrating your highs and holding your hand in your lows means that it is harder to give up. You cannot give up, as that would mean nullifying all their efforts. So, we keep it moving, knowing that the best is ahead of us.
Do you think the comedy industry has grown in the time you’ve been active?
Definitely there’s immense growth. The industry is slowly getting recognition with brands and corporate bodies acknowledging the power and social influence of comedy. The fact that comedians can put up shows and fill halls is testament that comedy is not a business to take lightly, pun intended. It also shows how Kenyans’ perspective about comedy has changed. That so many comedians are slowly coming up and entertaining and educating Kenyans makes me so hopeful for the future of this industry.
What are your plans for the future?
They say go big or go home. So, my friend Victor Nyaata and I are planning a US tour. We had been planning that for a while before coronavirus came and shook up everything. Of course it also goes without saying that I plan to keep churning out great content.