#TBT: Lessons from the Zimbabwe Comedy scene.

As Simuka Comedy prepares to launch Simuka Comedy Virtual Festival founded by award winning comedian and promoter Doc Vikela which is running from Friday 27 to Sunday 29 November 2020, BustopTV and PO BOX TV are celebrating 6 years i thought I should do a THROWBACK THURSDAY feature with a Facebook post i made exactly 3 years ago where i applauded the growth of Comedy in Zimbabwe.

By Plot Mhako

Sadly last week we lost a legend, Lazarus Boora aka Gringo who will forever be remembered as an icon who brought so much comic relief to generations.

earGROUND

I will do a follow-up article soon as there have been many developments on the comedy front since 2017.

LESSONS FROM THE ZIM COMEDY SCENE // 26 November 2017

The growth of the Zimbabwean comedy scene is too compelling to ignore. Here are a few points i have noted which i attribute to its steady growth.

Never despise the Foundation – The new generation of comedians are building on a base built by pioneers like Mutirowafanza, Mukadota, Mhekiya, Langeveldt, Gringo et al whose rib cracking antics made them national icons despite not making a fortune from the fame. Television gave them the impetus.

No Dream is too big: – In 2010 Carl Joshua Ncube made a BIG ANNOUNCEMENT at 7 Arts Theatre to a full house. It didn’t stop there, the innovative artist took the challenge to the 5k seater HICC and got a sizable audience. To date we have seen Carl breaking new frontiers, getting nominated at major comic Awards platforms, swooping corporate deals, embarking on national and global comedy tours, breaking world records, making international news and dreaming to build the first-ever comedy dome in Vic Falls.

Social Media:- With the absence of plural tv platforms in Zim, comedians have not been deterred. They use social media effectively. PO Box , Bustop TV, Zambezi News, Monthly Comic Awards are some of the Comic projects That have managed to monetize the advent of social media. They have unleashed stars and celebrities with a paying career. Initiative and innovation: Sabhuku Vharazipi has done some pretty crazy and cool things. From selling own DVDs on SA bound buses to selling from the boot at Copa Cabana and appearing in adverts.

Bustop TV + PO BOX TV

Corporate endorsements:- Comedy in Zim has proven that if artists are organized its easy to lure the much needed corporate support. We have seen comedians in commercials, billboards, campaigns, supported shows etc. Relatable content: In a country where creative content on radio and TV is censored comedians are successfully riding on the populace’s cravings for Truth and Comic relief. This applies to all genres of art and comedians have shown fearlessness & often attracted official authorities to their shows.

Recent Mambos Chicken event that had several comedians

Multiple platforms: Book Cafe played a pivotal role in promoting comedy. It’s closure did not dampen the growing movement. Shoko Festival started with a drop of comedy to their fest and now boasts of an entire evening of comedy.In Bulawayo we have seen the growth of Umahlekisa Comedy Club. In Masvingo the Charles Austin Theatre is hosting several Comic shows. In Gweru promoters like Muneer Walele have been doing the same. The use of non-conventional venues to host comedy shows has also been one encouraging factor.

Umahlekisa Comedy Club

Unity is power:- When PO Box split and Bustop TV was born there was a lot of social media debate. The former had attracted a whopping 60k following and viewership on FB within a short time. We saw new faces emerge, several of them female which was historic for a scene dominated by men. Last year the later celebrated its 2nd anniversary at Ambassador and the event was packed. We saw comedians uniting and taking turns to make people laugh. Yesterday Bustop TV celebrated its 3rd anniversary and they hosted a free show which was fully supported by the corporate and had PO Box members again performing. A very encouraging thing to see and very good for the industry.

Promoters follow value:- Artists often cry foul over lack of corporate Support and few promoters showing interest in new talent but Comedy has proven otherwise. Last year Tongai Mbidzo‘s Xtra Time brought Anne Kansime from Uganda and filled up 7 Arts and a few months later they raised the stakes and filled up HICC with the same artist. Several local comedians benefited too.

Relationship & Networking:- We have seen local comic collaborating on stage, tours, and projects with comedians around the world and results coming out.Last week Q the Boss hosted a top SA comedian Donovan in Byo and the show was a huge success.

——— Chakanaka chakanaka Salute to people like Doc Vikela, MK Rolland, Q, Admirre, Magi, Madam Boss, Sabhuku Vharazipi, Clive Chigubu, Tinaye Wayne, Wencelacy Kadem Katuka, Mandla Da Comedian, DearLuckie , Babongile Sikhonjwa, Carl, Gonyeti, Alson C’ka Mlambo, Long John, Simba Kakora and many more. You inspire a generation! I could go on and on. #theplotthickens

Simuka Comedy Festival

In the next article i will touch on the state of comedy and the new crop of rib crackers.

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