Dar es Salaam, Laughter has always been considered the “best medicine.” Besides film, music and literature, we can use our unique humor to relieve some of the stress that everyone feels.
African comedy over the last decade has showed immense growth and gained popularity, producing some of the best comedians the world has ever seen. Comedians are capable of turning normal every day happenings into artistic expressions, thereby inspiring the continent and the world at large.
We’ve seen how South Africa’s very own Trevor Noah has hit it big in the US by hosting the Daily Show – one of the most popular television comedy shows not only in the US, but globally as well.
In Tanzania, we have comedians who’ve over the years blessed us with their great humor, breaking our ribs with laughter. Such comedians that managed to maintain their top stance in the comedy field include the Late King Majuto, Joti, Mpoki, Masanja Mkandamizaji among others.
Punchline Africa Limited, an entertainment company believes that comedy has a potential to be a key pillar of the entertainment industry in Tanzania and exponentially make the industry a significant contributor to the overall national economy.
In efforts to encourage talent discovery, create jobs and provide a platform for healthy distractions of young Tanzanians; Punchline Africa Ltd in conjunction with Nafasi Art Space offered a unique Standup Comedy course titled “Be a Standup Comedian in 7 days” run by Tanzania’s very own funnyman Evans Bukuku.
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Speaking to The Beat, Bukuku said that the seven-days workshop attracted nine would-be standup comedians who were taught various arts including discipline, confidence, voice, rules of rhythm, how to market themselves, what to look out for as well as what not to do with social media.
He noted that on the seventh day they would be required to do a three minute of performance of what they have learnt. The first workshop started on April 29 and courses are absolutely free but with limited spaces. Workshops are conducted twice a week, for 3 weeks.
On May 2nd the workshops were conducted by renowned South African comedians Kagiso’ KG’ Mokgadi and Carl Weber who came just to impart their knowledge and so accelerate the development of Standup Comedy in Tanzania.
On Friday May 3rd, more than 200 people gathered at Terrace Slipway to experience the comedic talent showcased by Kagiso’ KG’ Mokgadi and Carl Weber accompanied by Tanzania’s Top comedians. It was a rare and classy event filled with laughter.
It is through such events that Punchline hopes to create platforms for young upcoming Tanzanian comedians to showcase their talent.
Explaining, Bukuku said that they are working on the development scene of Tanzania beginning with comedy standups.
“Comedy standup is a freedom of expression to the public in this case audience with direct feedback which basically laughter is the response,” he said.
He said that he is passionate about standup comedy and has been in the industry for 10 years, however the biggest challenge he’s facing is lack of good infrastructure that can help standup comedy reach greater heights by providing necessary knowledge and tools required in the profession.
Talking about aspiring comedians, Bukuku further said that local comedians need to work on their confidence, script to be able to perform well while on stage.
It is for this reason that they decided to invite comedians from across the African continent to teach the youngsters the basic skills needed for one to become a great standup comedian.
“We are not paying them a dime. They have come as volunteers to improve talent,” he said.
According to the comedian, the aim of the workshop is to allow comedy standups to expand footprints in Africa and beyond in order to accelerate growth in the industry.