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Entertainment of Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Source: Ebenezer Anangfio

Are Ghanaian comedians funny at all? Tweaa!

Comedy in Ghana is in a sad state and that has triggered lots of discussions in the country. In 2010, the self-appointed crusader working to save the face of comedy in Ghana through his Corporate Comedy series, David Oscar, was everywhere criticizing Charter House for not giving him the opportunity to be on the big stages to match the foreign comedians boot-for-boot.

Through his rebellious act, he managed to bring some level of attention to himself and created the impression that someone was working against Ghanaian comedians believing that they cannot match foreign comedians when it comes to performance.

Since then, a lot has taken place but still the future doesn’t look good for comedy in Ghana.

Comedy shows have become a flourishing business in Ghana. It is an industry which has the potential of growing to become more lucrative than it is currently. The reason is simple; everybody likes to laugh because laughter is good medication.

In fact, a comedy show is not too difficult to organise at all unlike other events that need a long time of preparation to pull through successfully.

Actually, the most important thing in organising a comedy show is to put together credible tried and tested comedians to do the job for you.

A comedy show offers an informal environment for relaxation as the duty of comedians on the bill is to entertain patrons.

A tried and tested comedian must be someone who knows his or her job well to make people laugh. Such a person is different from someone who because he can make his family members laugh thinks he can translate that onto large audiences.

You have no business referring to yourself as a comedian, if you cannot take your art to the big stage. A quality that comedians in Ghana are deficient in.

Comedy does not come easy because to make people laugh requires a lot of skill. That said however, it can at times be made to look easy depending on the kind of joke being told and the person who is delivering, but I tell you, it doesn’t come cheap at all.

Even though patrons who pay to watch the annual comedy shows are charged high fees they have little to complain about because they get highly entertained. A fulfilled patron has no business complaining.

There is a reason why comedy has become huge in Ghana. As I stated above, since laughter is part of human nature and everyone likes to laugh, perhaps that may be a reason why Charter House has capitalised on it to lead the way and also smile to the bank.

Thanks to Charter House for introducing the annual ‘Night of Laughs and Music’ series, comedy has now become a lucrative venture in Ghana.

It has become big business in this country, such that the show put up twice yearly by Charter House in July and December is a highly anticipated event.

Granted that they are great shows, all the same, the comedy events have become a platform for foreigners notably Nigerian comedians who do not only make money but also keep their Ghanaian counterparts at bay by their constant presence. This leads one to question if there are no comedians in Ghana at all?

For many years, people have wondered whether the Ghanaian comedy scene was dying. Are there comedians in Ghana at all? I have not been able to answer the question outright because who is a comedian if he or she cannot make you laugh?

According to Wikipedia, “a comedian is a person who seeks to entertain an audience primarily to make them laugh. This might be through jokes or amusing situations, or acting a fool, as in slapstick, or employing prop comedy.”

Per that definition, then there are no comedians in Ghana as the handful who parade themselves as such can hardly make anybody laugh let alone talk about entertaining about 2,000 patrons in bigger and spacious fora such as the Accra International Conference Centre.

This write-up was triggered following a piece a friend posted on his Facebook page venting his spleen on event organisers for constantly making use of only one Ghanaian comedian during events when the country could boast of several comedians.

The comment posted: “In Ghana we have more than 5 comedians but some events people use only one and bring in imported (people): why won't there be backbiting in the industry .... : Just don't make sense.”

Funny Face is one comedian who is used consistently and word on the streets say he’s been overused to the annoyance of other comedians.

Obviously, the post was directed at him as he’s been the only comedian who is favoured and used more often in comedy shows and other events including product launches, television, and radio commercials among others.

But there are comedians like DKB, David Oscar, Nhyiraba Foster, David Aglah and others who are not being used under the pretext that they are ‘not funny’ at all. If they are not funny and therefore not being used, why the noise? Shouldn’t a comedian be funny?

Aside Funny Face, other comedians who have been on the comedy scene have not impressed. I can understand why Ghanaians will scream for home grown comedians to be given the opportunity, but then we should not forget that, comedy is business not a show of patriotism whereby people are given opportunities because they are Ghanaian comedians.

It is true that some Nigerian comedians repeat and recycle jokes whenever they come for an event. But, it will be entirely hypocritical so say that they do not amuse the patrons because the jokes have been recycled.

They deliver the old jokes and still make you laugh like you were hearing it for the first time. That’s the edge they have over the Ghanaian comedian.

As I read comments about comedians who complain that they are not given the chance to show what they have got up their sleeves and also defend their status, I wondered why they do not channel the same level of enthusiasm into hard work and invest time and resources to come up with new materials and improve on their brand.

Unless there is drastic change, no serious event organiser will use the Ghanaian comedian. Don’t just sit there and say you are good when you are not.

Comedy shows like other shows are put up to generate revenue, they are not organised as show of patriotism.

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