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Date with a celeb : Comedian Onak loves to stand up in a bright way

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Rib cracker: His name is Bright Onak. The comedian likes to stay true to his name and do intelligent comedy. He meets his fan Roger Mutebi

When did you start doing comedy?
I started comedy five years ago. I am basically a stand-up comedian. I’m a social critic and I do comparisons and day- to-day life stories.

Who is your best comedian in Uganda?
Ken Van Muk is my favourite. He is dynamic and very intelligent with good one-liners.

What is the funniest joke you have ever heard?
It was from Eddie Murphy on a show he called Delirious Ice Cream Man. I don’t know if I can put it exactly the way he did, so I would rather not try.

Why do Ugandan comedians recycle jokes?
Ugandan comedians sometimes repeat jokes, but compared with comedians in other parts of the world, we are more creative. I have comedian friends from US like Sharon Layec and Sofie Frøysaa from Norway who are all shocked that we do weekly shows with different material at the same venues unlike them who do the same piece for a whole year but in different states.

There are more comedians coming up. Don’t you think you guys are becoming too many?
Kampala is a small town and there is a big demand for jokes, which does not match the supply of comedians. Stand-up comedians in Uganda are not more than 25 and we have to satisfy a population of more than 35 million people. So the industry needs more comedians.

Besides comedy what else do you do?
I’m a commercial farmer in Ntungamo, growing matooke and wheat.

Do you think Ugandan comedy is rising or backsliding?
Ugandan comedy is on the rise. It’s becoming an export for Uganda. Comedians are flying to UK, Rwanda, Kenya and other countries. The challenge is that we have more Luganda comedians, who are very funny but limited to performing for only people who understand the language.

How old are you?
I’m 27 years old.

Do you get stage fright?
Every stand-up comedian gets stage fright. It is healthy because it helps you prepare for the audience.

We no longer see you at Laftaz. Did you join another comedy outfit?
I’m still with them. The way we perform changed. Instead of weekly shows, each comedian only performs once a month. This helps us to have fresh material.

There is a lot of in-fighting among comedy outfits, sometimes leading to break ups. Why is that so?
Comedy groups’ fighting is a question of dissatisfaction based on finances. Comedy promoters in Uganda are more popular than the performers hence they earn the same or more than the performers. So, comedians don’t want to accept that reality. In the long run it ends up in the fights you see.

Are you married?
I’m not married but I’m in love with myself.

Who is your ideal kind of woman?
I would want a career woman because they have less stress and are more romantic.

How would you impress a woman on a first date?
Speaking less and listening more.

Where would you spend your honeymoon?
Universal Studios in the US.

Do you think someone can earn a decent living from comedy?
Yes. Most popular comedians you know earn more than bank managers at the end of the month. But managing the finances is always a challenge because of the fast life we live. For that reason, one needs another source of income to make ends meet.

If there is one thing you can’t live without, what is it?
Seven hours of sleep a day.

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