The days of Ghanaian comedians being heavily criticised for not being funny and not living up to expectation seem to be long gone.
Today, Ghanaian comedians are mounting stages not only in Ghana but in places such as Nigeria, considered as having the best comedians on the continent, and they are also successfully headlining their own shows, with fully packed auditoriums and satisfied patrons who get their money’s worth.
We don’t have to look too far for proof; 2021 is a perfect example and even with the threat of COVID-19, comedians such as Lekzy Decomic, Comedian Waris, OB Amponsah, Foster Romanus and Comedian David Aglah pulled huge numbers at their shows.
It’s nearly 10 days into the New Year and as the creative industry takes stock of its performance in 2021, Ghanaian comedians are facing 2022 with the hope of better prospects.
In interviews with the Daily Graphic this week, the comedians were united in their ambition of taking over new territories with their craft.
In his submission, OB Amponsah, who successfully headlined the ‘Popular but Brok’e show at the National Theatre in December last year, pointed out that they would not be limited to Ghana in 2022.
“So last year, the comedy industry saw lots of improvement, especially with putting up shows and patrons coming to support. It started with Comedian Waris who did ‘Seriously Unserious’ at the Snap Cinemas, which was sold out.
“Lekzy Decomic, Jerry Ashinyoh and I put together the WMT Awards and it was a well-attended event as well. Lekzy also had his comedy special, ‘Too Cute to Be Mute’ at the Snap Cinemas and it was successful.
“We cannot forget Foster Romanus’ ‘Romanus Incomplete’ at the Accra International Conference Centre (AICC) on December 24, 2021. Some other comedians pulled off solid performances at various venues including the +233 Jazz Bar and Grill.
“We are grateful to God for the hard work we put in and patrons who attended our shows. With such patronage and the huge home support, we are emboldened to venture into new territories so we promise to work harder so we don’t disappoint our patrons and ourselves as well,” he said.
Lekzy Decomic was very confident that the comedy industry would record more growth and patronage this year.
“All I can say is that people should expect more shows across the country and not just in Accra, but most importantly, we will be invading territories outside of our comfort zone. That is to say we will be hosting comedy shows in Africa and I know 2022 will be a good year for Ghanaian comedy,” he said.
Foster Romanus was particularly excited about the acceptance of Ghana’s comedy and said the confidence reposed in them should be a stepping stone to greater heights.
“Once upon a time, little attention was given to Ghanaian comedians but the story has changed in the last few years, with 2021 being one of the best years for the sector. This doesn’t mean we have to be complacent, it should rather inspire us to conquer the world.
“I know my colleagues are working around the clock to push Ghanaian comedy to the world stage and as a player, I will work hardest to bring this ambition into reality. I’m more than hopeful that 2022 will be a very good year if comedians continue to be united and support one another as is happening now,” he said.
For “newbie” Jerry Ashinyoh, his expectations are very high this year. “In the first place I am happy about the progress the comedy sector made last year and hope that it gets better this year. We will be giving Ghanaians more shows with more content. We just expect that they patronise our events like they have been doing, and continue to support us.
“I also expect Ghanaian comedy to go out to the world, because we have what it takes to be named among the powerhouses of comedy in the world,” he stated.
Corporate Ghana support
Describing 2022 as a year of better opportunities, David Aglah, who successfully held the ‘Pure Comedy’ show in Kumasi, called for more corporate sponsorship for their shows.
He mentioned that Ghanaian comedians had proven their capabilities over the years but their ambitions to take over new territories would be jeopardised if they don’t get sponsorship.
“From last year’s patronage, there’s no doubt that people have embraced comedy in Ghana but we have to build on what we have achieved. However, that will not be possible if we don’t get the needed sponsorship so I’m appealing to our corporate bodies to support the comedy industry,” he said.