Ghanaian comedy, according to pundits, has been dead for some time now because many of the country’s comedians are unserious and lack creativity compared to veterans like Fritz Baffour who are held in high esteem.
On Rhythmz A-Z on Joy FM a couple of months ago (a show I produce on Saturdays), the problems of comedy in Ghana were clearly diagnosed and there was consensus amongst the panellists that the country’s comedians lack what it takes to achieve great success.
George Quaye, Public Relations Officer at Charter House, organizers of the Night of a 1000 Laughs & Comedy series, took a swipe at Ghanaian comedians, saying most of them are wack.
George, also known as Aboagye, Charter House does not contract Ghanaian comedians for its comedy shows primarily because many Ghanaian comedians are simply not good enough. He said the local comedians need to sharpen their craft if they want to meet the standards of Charter House.
According to him, he had auditioned several Ghanaian comedians over the years and “they were totally appalling. I think most of our Ghanaian comedians are wack and they really need to go back and learn. They need to draw inspiration from our big dons like the Fritz Baffours, the Tommy Annan Forsons, the KSMs, they need to look up to the big dons in the industry, those that made it and draw some inspiration. A lot of them are very disrespectful and arrogant.”
It’s been four years since organizers of the 1000 Laughs & Comedy series – which is bi-annual comedy show – used a Ghanaian on the hugely Nigerian dominated series. That was Funny Face and admittedly he performed creditably.
In 2014, it was the Nite of 1018 Laughs and a Ghanaian, DKB (Derick Kobina Bonney), was making a huge Ghanaian return onto that stage. A lot was really expected of him and he was expected to make a strong case for Ghanaian comedy – the ailing Ghanaian comedy industry – that the country’s comedy acts equally deserve a spot at the event and any other comedy event.
DKB has for some time now been an enemy to many after his unfortunate disqualification in the Big Brother Africa (StarGame) in 2012 where he slapped Sierra Leonean female housemate, Zainab. He gained prominence across Africa for the slap than his comedy.
But Saturday, August 2 was different as the Ghanaian came face-to-face with four strong Nigerian comedians – Funny Bone, Okey Bakassi, D’Humorous, and Bovi. With their impeccable accolades, the Nigerian comedians were a force to reckon with and they needed no introduction.
To the many patrons, (including critics and sceptics like me), DKB’s performance on the night whether good or bad was a story and he knows that!
Let’s skip the other performers for now and focus on him. DKB entered the stage with Daddy Lumba’s ‘Yentie Obiaa’ and what looked like his entry dance steps were cut short when MC for the night, Amanda Jissih hit him on the bum as they walked past each other.
That unfortunate hit must have altered DKB’s grand plans and as he tried to rollout his much expected comedy punch lines, the over 2,000 expectant patrons at the Accra International Conference Centre sat there mute, silent as a graveyard, waiting for the Ghanaian saviour.
Unfortunately the Ghanaian saviour was flat at his first hook. A history many thought was unnecessary – a closed chapter about his unfortunate ordeal after slapping Zainab. “First of all my name is DKB and I am not a slapper…” For some seconds, many wondered if that was what they paid to watch. He quickly dusted himself from that poor intro and a lucky gamble on Ghana’s ethnicity, tribal and religious difference did the trick for him.
Asantes, Ewes, Gas and even the youth of Nima served as fodder for his rib-cracking jokes. He superbly wove his jokes around them to the delight of many no matter how dangerous they were. On his check list, a Hausa or Muslim person won’t leave you to your faith in times of trouble unlike other tribes.
Even politicians, President John Mahama and former president Jerry John Rawlings tasted a bit of his comedy syrup.
DKB painted a classy picture of how those personalities would have reacted to the unforgettable ‘Tweeaaa’ episode. According to DKB, it would have been very easy to point out who said “Tweaa” if it had been Rawlings delivering a speech at the commissioning of a KVIP.
He noted that Mahama would have punished the “Tweaa” by increasing prices of commodities a day after the incident. DKB’s signing out was also impeccable; he restated a popular slang during primary school days “Fri mi so, Kwasia,” to wit, get lost! Fool!
“From today onwards if anybody says that there are no comedians in Ghana, look at the person as say ‘Fri mi so, Kwasia’” he said to a thunderous applause.
Overall, DKB raised the marking scheme for the night and Ghanaian comedy. His jokes were apt as Ghanaians could relate to them. For me, he was the best performer on the night, period!
I was impressed with DKB’s performance. He made a clear statement that Ghana still has a comedy industry which only needs the platform to excel.
DKB told Myjoyonline.com after the performance that, his main aim was “to make history,” and because of that, he “selected a few of the jokes out of my best jokes….rehearsed and connected them.”
The Nigerian comedians equally brought their ‘A’ game to bear on the night. After years of doing comedy, the Nigerians seems to have mastered their craft and their confidence level were unmatched – something DKB lacked.
Funny Bone, Okey Bakassi, D’Humorous, and Bovi knew they were performing to a mostly Ghanaian audience and they therefore carved their jokes to suit Ghana.
The Nigerian comedians’ number one victim is Black Stars captain Asamoah Gyan. They all seem to have a problem with his dance. According to them, they will prefer all the players to score against Nigeria in every match except Asamoah Gyan.
Bovi for instance said whenever Asamoah Gyan scores, he calls all the players to one corner to dance and he knows why he does that. According to Bovi, in 1990, Cameroonian legend Roger Milla scored and danced near a Coca Cola sign board and was recently offered $20 million for the dance to be used for an advert for the 2010 World Cup.
Because of that, whenever Asamoah Gyan scores, he calls his fellow players and asks “where Coca Cola sign board dey?” and they run there to dance saying “secure your future ooo”. “That’s why Ghana lost” he added.
In all, it was an impressive show couple with impressive music performances from Akoaboah, Wiyaala, and Nana Tuffour.
By Ernest Dela Aglanu (Twitter: @delaXdela / Instagram: citizendela).