Rib-cracker: He is among the first Stand up comedians in Uganda. Today Kenneth Kimuli aka Pablo is a household name in comedy circles. He tells his fan Hannington Byereta how he is using this platform to mentor young talent.
If you were not a comedian, what would you be doing?
Considering the fact that I am a journalist by profession, I would be behind a desk editing articles for a newspaper or managing a radio station.
When did you notice that you were meant for a career in comedy?
I guess it was in Mbarara High School when I stood for Food Prefect just for fun and ended up being elected.
What kind of comedy do you do, and why?
Informative and educative comedy. It not only makes people laugh but adds value to their life.
How best can one earn as a comedian?
First they need to identify their target audience and tailor their humour to meet their interests.
When did you achieve your breakthrough in comedy?
It was in 2004 when I started performing with Theatre Factory, the first comedy outfit in Uganda doing skit comedy.
Why did you leave Fun Factory?
I sought their blessing to go and start a stand up comedy show, Pablo Live Show, since they were concentrating on sketch comedy.
What do you think are the challenges of the comedy industry in Uganda?
The biggest problem at the moment is that we are lazy at doing research and end up recycling jokes. There is also a new breed of audience that enjoys dirty jokes. This has made comedians to alter their jokes to that brand to earn a quick buck.
Are there any comedians that you have mentored?
The list is long but I will say that Mendo Herbert Segujja a.k.a Teacher Mpamiire and I run a comedy clinic that has seen products form comedy outfits such as Punchliners, Comedy Files, among others.
At one of your shows, you said you are a Rotarian. What compelled you to join Rotary?
I joined Rotary Club of Kampala North to serve humanity. We are always asking people to pay and watch our shows. Now it is time to give back.
How would you like the Ugandan comedy industry to remember you?
As a person who premiered stand up comedy in Uganda and mentored comedians at his Tangaza Arts Centre to set the right precedence.
Who is your best comedian in Africa and why?
I do not have any in particular because different comedians have something special that would qualify them to be my best comedian.
You are considered a legend in the comedy industry. But have you done anything to leave a legacy?
I have mentored at least 50 per cent of the established comedians right now. I am in the process of opening Tangaza Arts Centre at Makerere Mukwenda Zone to train and mentor comedians and other forms of art. I have created opportunities for several comedians to perform on an international scene.
And how would you like to be remembered in Uganda?
I would like to be remembered as a man of ‘first’ – first standup comedian in Uganda, first comedian to have an own show, first stand up comedian to win both international and local awards, first stand up comedian to host international comedians in Uganda, first stand up comedian to represent Uganda on an international stage, first stand up comedian to perform before 15 presidents, first Ugandan comedian to write a humour book, first comedian to start a comedy training centre, first comedian to join Rotary and now among the first comedians to be nominated for world’s funniest in the world competition representing Uganda.