Kenyan Comedy : A Career Of Death?
The sudden death of comedian Joseph Musyoki Kivindu otherwise known as Kasee has shocked the nation and raised serious questions about the viability of comedy in Kenya.
As Kasee was lying by the roadside, dead, probably from an ailment, depression or just a combination of all and more, another comedian was fighting – and is still fighting – for his life at the Kenyatta National Hospital.
Othuol Othuol was admitted to Kenyatta Hospital over a week ago after he collapsed in his home in Kitengela. His admission was also panctuated with much drama and tension as the hospital staff let him lie for hours, unattended to, as his colleagues snd friends pushed desperate hashtags online.
Kasee’s lifeless body would be found by the roadside, a day after he had gone for drinks with some friends.
There are all manner of analogies on how he died, what killed him and what may have led to his steady decline into an abyss of gloom and utter destitution.
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Hehe Yaani kila Msanii naona post Rip Kasee!Wanafiq nyinyi it's high time hii ufala iishe!! kama huezi nisaidia nikiwa hai nikifa achana na mimi kabsa!😥usiwai ni post acha Mafans wangu wanipost ata hivyo sijawai ona Mtu wamekulwa na umbwa ati amekosa wakumzika!Yarabb tuepushe🙏kufa ni lazima lakini hii ya "Comedians"imezidi. ni vizuri watu wajue nini hukula wasanii wakafikia kujitoa uhai kwa next post nakam na majina na picha zao,lazima tukomeshe unyanyasaji dhidi ya Wasanii. #wasaniiwaacheuoga #Depression #victimization
But one fact remains : Kasee is one of the tens of Kenyan comedians who have failed to reap from his talent and ended up in the backstreets, sad, dejected, broke and dismayed.
Like Mzee Ojwang before him, a comedy legend who died a sad, broke man, and used to live on handouts from community members, Kasee saw his life fall right before his eyes ; His stint at Churchill Show reaped little, if anything for him and his last years were spent in dinghy pubs in Kinoo, either making a handful of drunks laugh or just drinking his time away.
Viusasa News spoke to Ken Waudo, who is the director of the Comedians Association of Kenya and while he admitted that comedians were having it rough, he also shied away from addressing the claims raised by another comic – Zeddy – on the role that comedy director Victor Ber has played in the lives of Comedians.
According to Zeddy, one of the finest female comedians in Kenya, Victor Ber, a known thespian and comedy director who also happens to be the husband of Teacher Wanjiku, is the reason comedians have been sinking into depression and wasting their lives away.
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LONG POST ALERT PART 1. Ndio huyu mzizi wa fitna @VictorBer24 creative director wa Churchill Show "Depression maker". Kama ushaiwai enda auditions za Churchill show, hakika unajua huyu msee.huwa hearltess, roho chafu kuliko ya Firaun (farao) yaani atakuthalilisha na maneno yake makali kuliko moto wa jehanam (hell) Atafanya ujidharau maisha yako yote! Kwa wale hawajui, ndio perform Churchill lazima uende rehearsal 3days so Ber hatakwambia day one hajafeel jokes zako.Atakufanyisha P.E hadi siku ya kurecord show,kama bado 2hrs anatoa program ya wale wata perform.Ukiangalia list ya performers unapata jina lako haliko. Ngai hapa ndo unaonga msanii ameanza kupata stress coz umekam three days umetumia fare, ukabuy nguo ya kuchapa show ama ata ukakopa,unapata msanii amefanyiwa hivi like three months.Imagine, wewe kama msanii, bado unarudi juu comedy ni inborn; unaskianga tu kuperform. Ukipata bahati upenye alafu uanze kushine, Ber anaanza kukuua pole pole; utaenda rehearsal ataskiza kila mtu kama umekaa hapo amke na aende bila ata kukuambia lolote, unabaki na viulizo. Unaeza enda rehearsal akuite akuulize leo ni when, ukimjibu anakwambia ukam next year siku kama ya leo na hujamkosea ata! Anaeza pata umeandikwa kwa program tayari umepakwa makeup na akutoe bila sababu,yaani Ber hua ameweka wasanii na baridi utadhani tuko(Netherlands)anataka umuabudu laa si utakipata,wasanii hulamba huyu msee hadi kale kachumvii ka🍑 si eti mimi ni shujaa zii ni vile nimekaa makaburi miaka 5 nikajua hii dunia si mama ya mtu; story for another day reason naandika hii ndio upcoming wale wanakam wasipitie yale tumepitia Ber, Njenga alikulilia hadi siku ya mwisho ndio mauti yamfikie? Alikol mara ngapi?After nimepost natafuta Kasee mlimtafuta mkampumbaza siku chache ukamchocha atakua anachapa show alikuja rehearsals mara mingi sana lakini wapi ukamwambia ataperfom show ya Machakos. Kufika huko ukamyima show. Swali ni,je, utaumiza wasanii hadi lini? Wasanii waitaishi na Depression hadi lini. Pliz Comedians msicomment hamtawai pewa show mimi nishachoma,lakini, ile siku mtajua Mungu ndiye hupeana riziki hamtawahi lamba mtu makwapa. #Depression #stopvictimization #artistslivesmatter
In a lengthy post that she plasted across the Internet, Zeddy let it all out in a style and fashion that has rarely been seen.
Zeddy laid the blame squarely at the door of Victor Ber who she claimed was frustrating comedians, killing their dreams, strifling their art and treating them like pigs.
And even when other comedians attempted to hold brief for the defamed director, Zeddy was none the pleased, opening yet another can of worms, posting;
“You want to please Ber , you’re very pretentious , don’t pretend as if you like Churchill and you’ve always trying to fight him . You even started your own kids festival at garden City. Ber intention is and was clear to kill the show and all female comedians for his wife to shine. “
But Ken sees things some other way ,” Zeddy has her own issues. Her own pent up issues. I guess ilifika place zikalipuka. I can’t support what she says about Victor Ber. But najua Wasanii wengi hawampendi. Lakini Victor is a professional. About Zeddy, I don’t know what she is going through….” he said.
While the blame may be placed on many individuals, including Churchill himself who has time and again being called upon to pay his comedians properly and accord them a decent income, the fact remains that the comedy industry in Kenya is no laughing matter.
Churchill may be credited with raising huge names like Eric Omondi, Chipukeezy and MC Jessy, all of whom went on to carve out successful careers and reap big financially, but he can also be blamed for watching as some of his brightest and youngest talents wallow in poverty, take home measly pay, sink into depression and die away in poverty.
Kasee’s ignominious death, and Othuol Othuol’s hospitalisation serves as one of the biggest blots on the Churchill Show machine.
Another comedian may bite the dust soon. And sadly, there may be nothing anyone will do about it.
So much for laughter.