Gone are the days when Nigerian comedians dominated most of the big comedy shows in the country. The narrative appears to be changing as Ghanaian humour mongers gradually win the confidence of patrons of comedy.
This progress has not come on a silver platter and according to comedian, Itz Lekzy who has been at the forefront of Ghanaian comedy the comparison of Ghanaian funny men to their Nigerian counterparts “provoked” them to work harder.
Itz Lekzy who had his break at Charterhouse’s Night of Laughs in 2016 when he got a standing ovation said “The praises we are enjoying today didn’t come easy as we worked our way up with determination. We got provoked to prove critics wrong when we were continuously compared to our brothers from Nigeria.
“I’m happy the story is changing and gradually, we are being given the opportunity to prove our worth. Ghanaians are now paying attention to us because we are now at par with them and even perform better than them sometimes,” he said.
According to the graduate of Takoradi Polytechnic, critics mostly base their poor judgment of Ghanaian comedians on a one or two poor performances which is common within the fraternity.
“You can’t always have a good day as a comedian, that never happens but in Ghana, that is unacceptable. For years, Ghanaian comedians were sidelined because we were considered not good enough for shows just because of we failed at getting people to laugh on one ocassion in the past,” he said.
Even though Ghanaian comedians are getting some attention recently, Itz Lekzy says the sector isn’t enjoying much support as it should. Among the challenges he names are the lack of sponsorship from corporate bodies as well as an “open market” that allows the influx of foreign artistes at comedy shows to the disadvantage of Ghanaian comedians.
“I’ve been trying very hard to get shows in other African countries but it is difficult to penetrate because their markets aren’t so open to acts from other countries but that isn’t the same here.
“It is even more frustrating when you need sponsorship to organise your own event and there is none because no one believes in your potentials,” he said.
Real name, Emmanuel Nkansah, Itz Lekzy won the Best Comedian at last year’s People Celebrity Awards and he has performed on the stage of all the big events including Night of Laughs, RTP Awards, MTN Music Festival and hosted this year’s Easter Comedy show.
“I will appeal to Ghanaians to stop creating unnecessary rivalry among young and established comedy acts because it breeds disunity. Any senior comedian will feel disrespected should his works be compared to a junior. It doesn’t help we the younger ones to get mentored because they see us as competition,” he said.