The Sunday Mail
DESPITE starting the year on a low compared to other arts genres, comedy ended 2018 with a bang.
When the year started, not many stand-up shows took place, in fact, many had pronounced the sector dead as platforms such as Bang Bang Comedy Club had collapsed and Simuka Comedy was struggling to consistently host shows.
As the year unfolded, the comedians united and started to push in one direction, opening up new venues such as Chez Zandi, Reps Theatre and Pakare Paye Arts Centre.
Not only was there action in Harare – Mandla Da Comedian and his colleagues in Bulawayo also put in work, while Carl Joshua Ncube lit the flame in Victoria Falls, ensuring most cities had some comedy action.
The first major deal that came through for comedians was when Bustop TV partnered with Kwese-iflix on a comedy series dubbed “Comic-Tick” – this was the first time Kwese-iflix carried local content.
A good mix of rising and established acts are featured on the show. The Bustop TV team is pleased with the deal, which saw them smiling all the way to the bank.
“We have managed to acquire new equipment with the funds that came from the Kwese-iflix deal,” said Bustop TV co-founder, Luckie Aaroni, adding, “The profits from Comic-Tick have also enabled us to work on a new production which will be released next year.”
Then there was the birth of the hilarious weekly online show, Special Class.
Spearheaded by its scriptwriter and producer, Doc Vikela, Special Class took the internet by storm.
“Special Class is a collaboration between College Central and Doc Vikela Entertainment. We realised that if we joined forces as comedians we would achieve more. The great reviews from the audience speaks to our vision.
“Ultimately the plan is to have a 30-minute-long version of the show. As we gather funding to do the show in that format, we decided to create anticipation from comedy lovers with these five to seven-minute online teasers,” said Doc Vikela.
Special Class features Melinda Shumba, Chati Buto, Kadem The Comic, Lisa Gutu and popular stand-up act, Tinaye Wayne.
Lastly, putting icing on the cake, USA-based Zimbabwean comedian, Alfred Kainga, in December hosted his second show in the country at The 7 Arts Theatre, which was a success. Though he did not fill up the joint, for him to sell tickets at $30 and $50 in an environment where comedy shows usually go for $7 to $10, was success.
The lad gave the audience value for money as he once again put up a stellar performance, proving why he has been headlining shows around the world alongside global comedy stars. The success of the show, which was marketed mainly on social media and via radio, shows that with good marketing techniques and show curation, there is a huge comedy audience in Zimbabwe that local acts can tap into.