Nam comedy scene thriving
By Adolf Kaure
WINDHOEK – The Namibia comedy scene is flourishing with talented comics in the industry. Recently, three acts – Mitch Gaoseb, Mark Kariahuua and Courage Gondo – hosted shows that left spectators in stiches.
Mitch Gaoseb, who recently won the Last Comic Standing competition in Windhoek, says that the comedy industry is emerging at a good pace.
“Namibian comedy is slowly growing at this point and I think a lot more can be done with comedy in Namibia. I mean our comedy culture is not mature yet compared to other countries, but we [are] getting there,” Mitch says.
The 25-year-old comedian added that his comedy is capable of influencing society in a positive way.
“My comedy is basically relatable comedy and educational at the same time, as it directs the youth in a more positive form of entertainment and helps some people handle situations they are going through in a much better manner because every time they go through something I said they remember the joke and will rather laugh it off,” he says, as he elaborates on his recent show titled ‘Nama with a Wambo Attitude’.
“I chose the name because I wanted to tell the people about my culture and my background. My mom is Wambo and my dad is a Nama/Damara. Whole thing is that these tribes both have strong attributes that can help with your purpose or challenges in life. So, basically I was trying to tell people to love our pros and cons and use them for the positive because that’s what makes us Namibians after all,” says Gaoseb.
Gaoseb is also a business consultant as well as a choir conductor, song writer and composer at the Old Apostolic Church.
Another comedian, Mark Kahiahuua (25) had his show ‘Fresh Prince of Okakarara’ sold out at Warehouse Theatre last month.
“I wanted the show to be iconic and impactful, definitely something I can look back on one day when I’m 30 and be proud of my project. It was really a theme I decided from the word go that if I’m naming this show ‘Fresh Prince of Okakarara’ we are going all out.
“I titled the show ‘Fresh Prince of Okakarara’ as a means of me bringing our own stories to life and not trying to imitate other people but be 100 percent authentic,” Kahiahuua says.
Kahiahuua says he started comedy as a form of artistic expression before he inevitably got noticed and slotted into the mainstream.
“I heard all the time that I was funny but I never really took it serious until the guys from Free Your Mind approached me to do comedy. At the time, I had never done any stand-up [comedy] whatsoever but they said I should try out Last Comic Standing, an annual competition for new comedians.
“The show is made up of a bunch of rookies, who compete against one another in a knock-out round style. So, to my surprise I was killing it with the punchlines and then I made it to the final round and I ended up being the runner up. After that my life kind of changed, I started getting calls to do corporate events and the rest like they say is history,” he explains.
Kahiahuua says the Namibian industry needs comics to work harder together to make it even better.
“I think people initially thought we were a bunch of kids who just talk crap. But the more we kept staying true to our brands, the more they kept coming, people respect us now for what we do.
“It could definitely be bigger and have more sponsorship and understanding even just from mainstream Namibia. But I do know that we also all have to work harder collectively,” he says.
A lot of the revamping that the Namibian comedy’s scene has experienced can be attributed to a comedian who hails from neighbouring Zimbabwe.
Courage the comedian has vowed to make the necessary sacrifices to expose Namibian comedy to international platforms.
The 26-year-old, who grew up in Bulawayo, says his calling to comedy came when his father taught him that “no matter what you’re going through, make the people around you feel happy and spread laughter”.
This inspiration led Courage to share his jokes on stage as a stand-up comedian.
“My biggest highlight is when I say thank you very much that was my time. And [when] someone comes and repeats a joke I said and laughs, I know I have done something good in that person’s life,” Courage shares.
Courage, who is also an actor, director, DJ, sound engineer and media personality, recently had a sold-out one-man show in the capital. He shed light on the concept behind the show titled ‘Nambabwean’.
“It takes a lot of courage to dare to do, so who better to do it than Courage the comedian. I’m not Namibian by birth but I will tell you I’m 100 percent Namibian by sense of humour, that’s why I called the show the ‘Nambabwean’ because I represent both Namibia and Zimbabwe… I’m like a coloured!” He explained.
Courage won the male comic of the year in 2014 two months after his debut in the industry. Another highlight for the Zimbabwean was when he was handpicked to perform alongside South African comedian, Loyiso Gola.