Patience they say moves mountains and for actor and comedian, Clemento Suarez, there is a lot of truth in it. He may be enjoying popularity today for his comedic skills but it has taken years of patiently waiting and even working for free to get the recognition he deserves.
Unlike some of us who struggle with finding our calling, Clemento has always known that comedy was what he wanted to do and he set out to make his dreams come true. Although he dreamt of entertaining a bigger audience, for years, he had to make do with just making his siblings and other family members laugh.
Not one to give up, he took to working pro bono for clients which also helped him because he improved on his act. Today, he has been cast in over 20 plays which has brought him a lot of attention.
“I knew what I wanted to do right from childhood since I believe comedy is my calling. From primary school to the University of Ghana, I was always part of every drama group.
However, I got more serious when I got to SHS 3. My roles were typically comic because my directors noticed that talent in me and I’ve been doing that in the last 15 years.
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I don’t think I’m where I want to be and I have no intention of setting unnecessary goals for myself. I took my first pay as a professional actor in 2011 after working for years for free.
“My purpose at the time was not to enjoy the fame but equip myself for bigger tasks in future. Today, people see me in many productions and they think the journey just got rosy but it has never been so,” he added.
Although he has been cracking up audiences with his antics on stage for over a decade, Clemento owns up to the fact he still gets the attack of nerves whenever he has to mount the stage but that also plays a critical role in his delivery.
“Behind those funny antics on stage is the fear of failing but the truth is that anytime I see my audience, I get encouraged to let go of my fears and face the task I’ve been assigned.
“Besides, comedy makes me feel like a superhero and so I can’t afford not to live up to expectation when I get the opportunity,” he told Showbiz.
Clemento Suarez, born Clement Ashiteye to Mr and Mrs Victor Tetteh of Teshie, started his primary education at the Bethel Junior High School and continued at Tema Secondary School. He furthered his education at the School of Performing Arts, University of Ghana, Legon, and completed in 2010.
He told Showbiz the sacrifices his parents made to give him a better life. “My parents were ever ready to give my sister and I the best they could offer. Can you imagine investing so much in your son and he turns out to be a comedian? he teased. Continuing he said, “they have been very supportive since my childhood and I know they are proud of what I do now”.
Although he enjoys the “home support” from his family, Clemento says he has always depended on feedback from friends and fans who monitor his works to know how he is doing.
His comedic skills are admired but the cast member of Kejetia Vs Makola says he has no intention of being a stand-up comedian.
“I think my colleagues in stand-up comedy are doing well but that is the last thing on my mind now. Yes, stage plays are always stressful considering the number of times we rehearse but it is fun and I’m content with it,” he said.
It is not unusual for entertainers to adopt showbiz names but what informed his decision to choose Clemento Suarez.
“Clemento is just the Americanisation of Clement to make it sound good with Suarez. Now, I took Suarez because of the heroic performance he put up at the world Cup which prevented Ghana from eliminating Uruguay at the time.
“I know he is our devil but you see, he put his career on the line to save his country at that crucial time and that is my goal, to be the Suarez of Ghanaian comedy but in a positive light,” he explained.
Since 2011, Clemento Suarez has been cast in many plays including Gallery of Comedies, Thank God for Idiots, Romantic Nonsense, Sweet Dreams and Nightmares, What Can Come Can Come, Flagstaff House, Mallams and Pastors, I Can't Think Far, Dinner for Promotion, Blue Black, Prison Graduates, Ama 2G, Ladder, You Play Me, I Play You, Bukom, Upstairs and Downstairs and the most recent, The Inspection.
He has also featured in TV series like Master and 3 Maids, Yellow Cafe and Wofa Kay and starred in movies such as Could this be Love? Royal Diadem and Keteke.
“My most challenging role has been in Prison Graduate because I had to get out of my comfort zone and that is what life presents. We must always be ready for the uncertainties and face it squarely,” he said.