Somebody Is Killing Our Comedy – By Kwame Dadzie

Do you know Comedy in Ghana is dying? Who is killing it? What is killing it?

Our objective of projecting the arts and entertainment in Ghana will be elusive if other disciplines like comedy are left in the doldrums and a holistic approach to solving our problems is not employed.

Since the concert party shows collapsed some years ago, attempts to resuscitate comedy in Ghana has not yielded any positive results due to a flurry of  factors, principal among which is Ghanaians’ dislike for our local comedians.

Many people have described our comedians here in Ghana as mere buffoons, uneducated and not talented. As far as the Ghanaian community can be grouped into the “masses” and the “elite”, there is no problem if some of our comedians choose to use the local languages as their medium of expression. That is why I detest certain unsavory descriptions given comedians who use the local languages as medium of expression. Not speaking English is not synonymous with imbecility.

Annoyingly, even the like of David Oscar Dogbe, Percy, Aglah, and DKB who have impeccable command over the Queens language and could represent Ghana on international stages have received continuous sneering from scads of detractors in the industry. It is good to criticize but it must be constructive, you know.

We sit here in our country, flood in comedians and comediennes from elsewhere onto our stages at the expense of our own comedians. And what irritates me most is the assertion by some people that our comedians do not speak good English. It is arrant ludicrous for anyone to say this!

Look at what Charterhouse did to David Oscar. After discovering him in the maiden edition of ‘Stars of the Future’, they could not push him up the pedestal. It got to a time they said he had gone stale and so needed to be sidelined. Now, they organize shows and inundate our stages with Nigerian comedians, sidelining the local acts. I bear Nigerian comedians or Charterhouse no grudge but what I wish be done is to give Ghanaian comedians the opportunity to strut their stuff on such shows like A Night of Laughs and Music. Not one, not two. At least three of our comedians.

Folks, it is high time we realized that what we have is what belongs to us and no matter what we do we cannot call somebody’s “our’s”. Unless perhaps we want to be ‘thieves’ or would want to spend huge sums of money in ‘buying’ those foreign stars. And the big question is, in the end what do we gain? The repercussion of this is the flaccid nature of comedy in Ghana today.

I disagree with those who say we don’t have good comedians in Ghana, hence the choice of foreign acts over ours by event organisers. The fact is, we have good comedians but we have failed to discover them and to give the few in the system the needed support.

We like comparing ourselves to Nigerians. Ooh, good! Comparison is good but have we bothered to ask how come there are a lot of  good comedians in Nigeria? Do you think if they were sidelined by their ‘countrymen’ they would have come thus far? I personally do not see our own Funny Face Benson of ‘Tsorkor Trotro’ fame as funny but I believe in the  scientific philosophy that a magnetic material gets magnetized by getting in contact with a magnet.

There more we give our comedians the opportunity to perform on the same stage with the so-called foreign bigwigs, the more sharper their talents and abilities are honed. Let’s give the the opportunity to shine!

The time is now! The media, corporate bodies, event organizing companies and all Ghanaians should learn to cherish our stars, especially our comedians and prod them in that regard.

There have been a lot of music talent discovery shows on our electronic media. It is about time we thought about having program for the other disciplines like comedy. Let’s have at least a comedy show on every radio and television station. When such shows are run, it will encourage more people to join the comic industry as well as serve as a platform for fledgling comic talents to soar. To be frank, the music realty shows since their inception onto the music scene have helped develop the singing interest in most people and have motivated more people to take music more seriously, and that in part explains why our music industry is gradually getting a facelift.

We also urge corporate bodies inject some of their monies and resources into the arts; comedy in particular. It is sad how one suffers to get sponsorship for some of these entertainment shows. Kobbina Amissah- Sam and his Flamingo Entertainment team for about two years now, could not hold their ‘Greatest Painter’ reality show due to unwillingness on the part of corporate bodies to sponsor the show.

Nigerians are our neighbours and we encourage good relations among nations. Due to the benefits and essence of globalisation, there is nothing wrong having them perform on our local stages but not at our expense! The equation should be balanced, if not lopsided in our favour.

Entertainment buffs like Kwasi Aboagye and Fiifi Banson started the ‘First Edition Concert Party’ and ‘Just Like You’ shows respectively. We encourage them not to rest on their laurels but to keep up the good work. Dr. Kofi Amoah (Citizen Kofi) has also started a comedy show on Metro TV to help grow budding comic talents in the industry. Other event organizing companies should follow suit.

Very soon, the the KSM’s, Agya Koo’s, and Koo Fori’s would fade out and that is why we need to unearth new talents as well as nurture the existing young ones like  David Oscar, Funny Face Benson, Sagaribiwe, Kaninja, Percy, Aglah, DKB and the likes.

As we agree to do all these in overhauling our dear industry, we should not forget that our success would not be complete without government’s intervention, a reason why we should not relent in propagating the NO ARTS, NO VOTE gospel.

Apparently, somebody is killing our comedy and that ‘somebody’ is you. That ‘somebody’ is me. That ‘somebody’ is the event organizer, corporate institutions, radio and TV authorities. Yes, that ‘somebody’ is the government.