Standup comedies gaining ground in Malawi

Spending weekends in Malawi has for a long time been the same pattern for most people with musical performances, football and drama featuring high as the only established sources of entertainment.

However, the entertainment landscape seems to have taken another shape with the coming in of standup comedy both as a promising source of weekend entertainment and career.

One of the standup comedians in the country, Madalitso Nyambo, populary known as Mada said standup comedy was slowly gaining reputation in the country and steadily attracting an audience.

“Standup comedy was initially there. It was not that easy to establish the trade but we are making significant improvement.

Comedians:Welce and Mr. Jokes

“In each and every show we have we see significant improvement as patronage keeps rising which is a sign that standup comedy is being appreciated in the country,” he said.

One thing that is certain is that most Malawians are more familiar with international standup comedians like Nigeria’s Basket mouth and South Africa’s Trevor Noah than local artists.

However Mada expressed concern that high expectations from fans as regards their shows is proving to be one of the challenges facing the comedy industry in the country.

“A lot of Malawians are exposed to various standup comedies and they see what happens with other performances from the clips they watch ranging from the state of the art venues, stage props, to the overall performance.

“Therefore when they patronise our shows they expect the very same standards they see elsewhere and they get disappointed seeing anything less. Nevertheless we are working on that to see how best we can improve,” he said

Mada explained that the standup comedy industry is facing venue challenges just like any other entertainment functions in the country.

“Lack of adequate venues is yet another challenge facing the trade. There is need for nice open venues where we can be hosting these shows.

“Government could assist us by renovating and reopening the French Cultural center which could be much cheaper,” said Mada, who ventured into the trade in 2006 while still in school at the Chancellor College.

Nanzikambe Arts Development, a leading arts theatre in the country has already established itself and recently at its premises, Arts Cafe in Blantyre, held a standup comedy show involving some of the hottest comedians Mada, Mr Jokes and Welce.

Nkhwachi Peter Mhango Assistant Arts Cafe Manager/Special Projects Coordinator for Nanzikambe said the idea to boost the comedy industry in Malawi is excellent and his organisation is doing its best to provide a platform for artists to develop.

“The comedy industry is big in Malawi only that it has not been given the chance to grow even bigger, Malawians love comedy big time and this as evidenced by the patronage we get at the arts café, at the end of the day the arts café is there to give the talented artists a platform to grow.”

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