Entertainment of Sunday, 25 November 2012

Source: Samuel A. Baah

Enough Of The Madness Ghanaian Comedians

The arts industry should really be grateful to programmes managers of radio and television stations because their decisions to give out precious air time for entertainment related programmes is greatly appreciated and it`s affecting the industry positively.

Last week Saturday on Multi TV, specifically on the Adom TV channel a new entertainment review and discussing programme was started with Mark Okraku Mantey as the substantive host of the programme interacting with some industry kingpins. You can freely call the programme Anansekrom, obviously taking inspiration from our folk tales of the past.

One of the topics that sparked a heated debate between the host and the panelists alike was whether comedians of our time need to dress fancifully on the stage to excite an audience. May be this writer of Flex newspaper does not understand what it means to become a comedian so we took it upon our shoulders to search for other meanings from other sources.

Our reference in the Concise Oxford dictionary gave out these different understandings for readers of this particular piece. 1.That comedy is an entertainment consisting of jokes and sketches intended to make an audience laugh. 2. A film, play or programme intended to arouse laughter. 3. A play with humorous or satirical tone, in which the characters ultimately triumph over adversity.

Infact, I could have gone over and over from different sources as my search engines but since this piece is not meant to teach English language, I decided to pull hard breaks after these three explanations. Now, if you will agree with me on this piece none of the explanations above made mention of fancy dressing or what one panel member described as “cartoonic” dressing, (pardon me if my words are harsh but it has to me described as such).

It is obvious now that what a comedian needs to make an impact on a stage is not his or her appearance but the message. My analysis is that the comedian only has the first minute to score with his appearance but to make a lasting impression, what will be needed most will be the message he has prepared for the audience. Therefore as much as I appreciate what Multi TV people want to do for would be comedians, I would be very appreciative if they can instill into the minds of these young wannabees to start learning that comedy has nothing to do with appearance but rather with message and vibes.

I was reliably informed after the programme that international comedian Charlie Chaplain is one comedian who started dressing fancifully on stage but what influenced his decision, nobody can tell. In Ghana, think about standup comedy and you are sure to see people dressed as mad people in the name of making people laugh. It started in the days of Bob Okalla, Nkomode, Bob Santo and some few other ones whose names will not readily come to mind and the value has been the same even though we are exposed to other comedians from different parts of the world.

I hate to use our Nigerian counterparts in this case study but please permit me to do that for clarity and nearness. They come here courtesy Charter House every year to make us laugh but do not dress like the way our own people do.

Why are we being slow to learn something positive when in reality Ghanaians are quick in copying especially negative attitudes. The time to do so should be now and I hope Multi TV will use their platform to send out this education. Enough of the madness on comedy stages, we can do better my people.

What we need to do as comedians is to research well before hitting every comedy stage. At least in Ghana, we can boast of quality and high stature comedians like KSM and his protégés Funny Face, DKB, David Oscar alongside some growing comedians as well. Let`s learn through deep research whiles avoiding repeating some people's jokes and we will get there. Enough of the madness, Ghanaian comedians.