Whereas we are well familiar with stage [drama] productions, comedy as a genre had never been a “thing” in Uganda. But somehow Ugandans have managed to import it, localize it and even export the surplus – so to speak. Now we have gotten ourselves so addicted to laughter that we just can’t do without it anymore.
In a space of just about 10 years it has stolen the hearts of many Ugandans to the extent we begin to wonder how entertainment was like without comedy!
These 20 stand-up acts are the best Uganda has at the moment and they surely exemplify what we have come to expect of our modern-day entertainment. With all the agonies beating us back and forth, these people have mastered a wonderful craft of turning around the real world around us, push us to think differently about our own lives – and most of all, make us howl with laughter.
Having started as an “extra” with Philip Luswata’s Theater Factory team, Ann Kansiime, in a short lag has evolved into one of the most respected comedians in Uganda as well as Africa. As a University student, Kansiime recalls going to the National Theater everyday to watch actors and actresses rehearsal… It was a matter of time before she made her move to apply for a role.
She was accepted. Her strength was in her ability to play almost every role with so much ease. Her comfort though was in playing a headstrong and cunning schoolgirl – a role she perfected with help of her extrovert personality, very sharp voice and of course, her undeniable talent. This is what won her a host of fans – she never looked back.
Riding upon that success, Kansiime has managed to brand her characters as fierce and uncompromising. Outside the character Kansiime is a social science graduate with sharp business acumen. Today Kansiime runs a syndicated comedy show, “Don’t Mess With Kansiime”, across networks in East Africa even on DSTV and YouTube.
Allan Mujuni aka Amooti
Was he born a comedian? Amooti actually began mimicking his teachers in nursery school. However he started earning from comedy in the late 1990s at Jenina Club in Nansana; here he was also emceeing a Karaoke set up.
Later on, Amooti and three other colleagues; Paddy Bitama aka Sali (RIP), Eddy Kigere and Nicholas Mpeirwe aka Messe, formed Amarula family, a comedy acting group, which helped them earn money collectively.
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Riding upon Amarula family’s fame; Amooti was given a job at Radio Simba, where he presented on the Mukulikeeyo [evening show] as a Mutoro satirist. Amooti speaks in numerous tones and can mimic virtually everyone. He is effortlessly funny.
Amooti has since evolved to jazz up his comedy with singing which is one of his earliest talents. With hits like Owolubina, Mpamazzi and others, the Comedian from Tooro shows no sign of slowing down.
Abbey Mukiibi is known to produce a regular [weekly] show on Bukedde TV, a satirical stage performance taped at one of the theaters in Kampala. The show features prominent actors like Leila Kalanzi, Justine Nantume and Patrick Mujuuka.
Mukiibi was mostly known for his Kaliisoliiso morning show on CBS radio. But that was before he landed a major role in an American award-winning movie, The Last King Of Scotland alongside Hollywood greats like Forrest Whitaker, James McAvoy and Kerry Washington. He has been in theatre for more than 20 years and recently was honored by the Government of Uganda, with a medal, for his contribution to the arts in Uganda.
Mukiibi has basically earned his living in comedy. His ability to mimic various personalities so convincingly makes him stand out. Nonetheless, Mukiibi has done even more, playing serious [topical] roles throughout the years of his drama acting career. Whereas he does most of his work in vernacular, Mukiibi is a learned fellow and speaks English rather fluently.
Mukiibi has also done a lot mentoring and nurturing of local talents and this is apparent with the frequent appearance of new comedians at his shows… such as Madrat and Chico.
Herbert Mendo Segujja
Herbert Ssegujja is actually a graduate and was a practicing teacher in a private school until recently. He became popular because of mimicking the President, Yoweri Museveni.
Whereas almost all comedians have at one moment tried to imitate the President, no one has done it better than Ssegujja. Boy, he has perfected his art and this excites his fans. In fact his name has since become Museveni.
Mendo eventually took up stand-up comedy as well, stage acting and it is now a full time job for him.
Kenneth Kimuli aka Pablo
He was the inaugural winner of DSTV’s Stand-Up Uganda. However Pablo was already in the limelight owing to his works with Theatre Factory which launched his career in comedy. With his famous catchphrase “Happiness is killing me”, Pablo would soon enamor a whole legion of fans both at home and abroad.
Having graduated from college, Pablo started off as a presenter on Christian radio, Power Fm and it was just the perfect platform to build a fan-base for himself that he would later need so badly as a comedian. And that is exactly how it was.
Pablo stands out because unlike most comedians, he does not try so hard to be funny; he naturally is.
His presentations are based on research and wide reading yet he makes it so simple anyway – his delivery is masterful moreover clean and decent.
Today, Pablo runs a regular weekly show in town and of course ranked one of the best in Africa.
Nicholas Mpeirwe aka Messe
He was a member of the Amarula Family since its inception. Yet even when he fell out with his boss, Amooti, he did not quit. In fact he retained virtually everything, including the Group’s name and actors.
Basing on his ethnic background, he finds it easy to mimic Banyankole and Bakiga speakers. Sometimes he imitates Asian accents and mannerisms.
Messe also works on radio and continues to plan and manage Amarula family as well as act with them.
Felix Jesero aka Dolibondo
Dolibondo does stand-up comedy which seems to dwell on wide observation of our societies. His claim to fame is UTL’s Vulumula promotions and activities. He was lucky to have big organized audiences throughout the country where the telecom company was promoting its activities. This raised his popularity upon which he built a career in comedy. He is surviving and has continued to find favor with the audiences.
Veronica Tindichebwa aka Tindi
Tindi first came to Uganda’s attention on NTV’s Comedy show, Barbed Wire which was a Theater Factory Production headed by Phillip Luswata. She, at the time, acted as the show’s host and she was immediately likeable; first of all, the camera likes her because she’s pretty but she also has a personable character and beautiful smile.
Tindi’s sense of humor is apparent; she’s gifted. What’s more, she is multi-lingual, perfectly speaks English, Luganda, Runyakitara and a bit of Kiswahili. Tindi also mimics various people in such languages including imitation of Asian accents.
She is said to be the sober comedian of the entire industry. Besides her unusual ability to make people laugh genuinely, she is just “different”. Veronica’s approach to comedy touches people’s lives in a remarkable way. She is actually one of the best female stand-up comedians of all time. She is captivating, and engaging. She does not make fun of others in her comedy. Her comedy is not vulgar, mean-spirited, or negative; it is simply entertaining.
Hannington Bujingo is actually a graduate and a product of Music Dance and Drama (MDD) at Makerere University. He became famous working with Philip Luswata [Theater Factory]. He does most of his acting in English, however he does many other local languages, including Luganda and Lusoga.
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He mixes his local experiences with modern [urban] lifestyles to come out with such hilarious jokes. He is funny, intelligent, sometimes corny, but he always entertains and provokes thought. He is immensely talented and it comes naturally.
Like most comedians in Uganda; Mujuka’s fame as a comedian reeled off his creativity and funny skits on Fm radios. He is another product of Afri-Talents, a drama acting group and he has since teamed up with Abbey Mukiibi to uphold the weekly comedy show in town, Akandolindoli.
He acts well with group, but he also does stand-up comedy really well. He is a good communicator and this is his most important strength.
Omara is a graduate of Uganda Christian University, Mukono. He broke his way to fame on NTV’s weekly series, The Hostel, which was very popular with University students.
He has since branded himself as a comedian and yes, he does some good work with the mic. His comedy takes the audience from dating to the lifestyles of the ghetto and uptown dwellers alike.
He is credited for being an engaging speaker who never gets lost in the story. However, he only communicates in English and as such eliminates a big chunk of comedy lovers.
Alex Muhangi aka Aleku
He was a sound Engineer at Steve Jean’s Fenon Studio. Alex was attracted into comedy by the hype of the Theatre Factory.
After watching what his colleagues were doing every Thursday at National Theatre, he realized he could do as much or even better. For a long time, at Effendys, he was a man of the night sending people into loud ululations with his tales about Banyankole.
Dickson Zizinga is a superbly talented comedian. Moreover he does with such ease and calmness. His skits reflect the life of ordinary Ugandans; they sound natural and are for real. He can speak perfect English and local languages alike.
He broke out as a famous comedian working with Theater Factory which has since eveolved into Fun Factory. He still works with them although he also does a daily show on Bukedde TV, Mini Buzz.
Richard is one of the funniest comedians in Uganda right now. His first attempt was music; he was in a group of three fresh graduates called VIP, but it could not survive the winds of competition.
He later joined Philip Luswata and a few colleagues and pushed Theatre Factory further. In fact, it is the Theatre Factory that made him popular. Richard is all round; he acts in English and other local languages.
He was the director of Theatre Factory before it transitioned into Fun Factory. He founded the group to regional fame. Luswata, a University lecturer who became popular for his TV adverts.
He featured in South Africa’s TV soap Egoli. He left lecturing to concentrate on comedy business. Luswata’s skits are more of drama than jokes.
She is a [Makerere] University graduate, and is one of the pioneer female stand-up comedians in Uganda.
Her jokes however, are hard to follow especially if you have never been to school; she presents in English and her jokes sometimes require a bit of quick-wittedness. Some of her best jokes revolve around comparisons between Northern Uganda girls and Central Uganda girls.
Patrick Idringi A.K.A Salvador
Salvador is a University graduate; he worked with MTN before quitting to join the Comedy industry. He has a big following of old and young, especially University students. His jokes dwell mostly on local daily life which makes him relatable.
He has been reviewed by several media outlets in Uganda to be the best stand-up comedian and one of the best in the whole of Africa.
Salvador has attracted a lot attention from abroad, including some of Africa’s finest comedians like Basket Mouth from Nigeria. He calls himself the man from Ombokolo and he has prided himself in having looks similar to those of former Uganda dictator, Amin.
However, many people have acknowledged him as a good communicator and naturally funny.
Madrat & Chico
These perform as a group – one complementing the other. They are some of the most endeared acts of comedy in Uganda. Reeling off the pros and cons of Kampala’s cosmopolitan culture, Madrat and Chico draw humor from the awkwardness and weirdness of everybody trying fit in with the other.
They are very funny. Moreover in doing so, they do not offend any people and are never profane. They are rather “organic”, believable, personable and simply likable. They have a bright future.
He is one of the new routines of comedy talent that aspire to take over the mantle from those that broke the ground. He has been reviewed by several media outlets as funny – and relies on everyday mannerisms of Ugandans collect his most humorous lines [content].
He has however been discredited for being coarse and repetitive.