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Dolibondo: The comedian who relieves stress

A fan joins Dolibondo on stage to demonstrate a joke during one of his performances at Theatre La Bonita.

A fan joins Dolibondo on stage to demonstrate a joke during one of his performances at Theatre La Bonita.

The unstresser. Comedian Dolibondo says his calling is to relieve people of their stress through laughter. The stand-up comedian who is part of The Crackers comedy outfit landed into comedy accidentally after fans booed him when he tried singing. Edgar R. Batte talked to him about this and more .

Where do you get the stage name Dolibondo?
I had a friend who used to say that I was as funny as Dr Dolittle (Eddie Murphy’s character in the movie with the same title), so one day we were in a group jazzing and as I tried to assure the rest of the guys how funny I was, one of the guys failed to pronounce Dolittle, he instead said Dolobonbo and the other pronounced it Dolibondo, they sounded funny to me and I thought it would sound funny to many more people and I took it on. Many times people laugh at the name even before getting to meet or see me perform.

By the way, what is your real name?
Felix Jesero. People think Jesero is an English name but it’s not. Matter of fact I am from ente (cow) clan and in Luganda when you take cows to drink water they call it kweesa and that thing where cows take water from is called kyesero. Where these byesero are in plenty it’s called egyesero and thus the name Jesero so Felix is my English name.

That’s quite an explanation. And why do you call yourself the moniker “Unstresser”?
For the times you’ve attended our show, have I disappointed you? I haven’t disappointed my fans when it comes to relieving their stress with laughter because that’s what God sent me to do.

And you call yourself Babangida on Facebook …
It is simply my best nickname given to me by my mum when I was a kid.

What makes you tick as a comedian?
I am funny and educative. I offer advice on several life matters as I perform. It is funny, but in many instances, useful advice.

Dolibondo cuts a serious look (above). Left, he is the comedian the fans know.  PHOTOS BY EDGAR R. BATTE.

Dolibondo cuts a serious look (above). Left, he is the comedian the fans know. PHOTOS BY EDGAR R. BATTE.

Where do you get your jokes from?
I get my jokes from my day-to-day life experiences and that’s why people pick them quickly. These situations are on many occasions bound to happen to other people and I believe when that happens, they always remember that Dolibondo talked about this sometime back.

Do you ever think that the comedian in you is about to let down your serious side?
That has already happened because people never take me serious, so at times I am forced to involve my manager at The Crackers, Jonathan Kyeyo, in my personal issues.

What was the first joke you ever cracked?
Goats speak English and by the way it’s true and they do this for love. When it sees a she goat it will call it babe though it sounds like bebe.

What has been your biggest moment as a comedian?
Oh, those have been many. I don’t think I can point at one.

You stammer and your colleagues like making fun of you for it, do you take it to be another of your God-given gifts as a comedian?
Yes, and besides I am proud to be the only stammering celebrity in Uganda. Of course being a stand-up comedian, it gets hard for me sometimes when I fail to pronounce some words and I am forced to find alternative words. Surprisingly, my fans find it funny.

Who is your favourite comedian?
Anything to do with paying attention I am not good at it, that’s why I am not a movie fan, not good at reading novels because they require time and attention, so I don’t pay much attention to other comedians, but locally I find Amooti of Amarula Family the best because he is one guy you will give any random topic and he will make up a non-stop funny story of up to 30 minutes on the same topic. He’s really good at his thing and multi-talented. He is good at freestyle singing, acting and stand-up comedy.

What is your serious side like?
I am a graphic designer. Actually all that Crackers’ work you see is my creative effort; from tickets to stage backdrops, posters and much more.

How did you get into graphic designing?
I loved art as a child and unfortunately drawing is not my talent so I tried looking for software tutorials from the Internet and I began learning so I am self-taught.

When was the last time you had a hearty laugh? What made you laugh that much?
When comedian Kele Kele said mbu two thieves got married and when they gave birth their kid had the hands folded. After six months the parents were worried about the hand but when they unfolded the hands, they were shocked to see the kid had stolen a phone from the mid wife.

We have known you for being a comedian, which side of Dolibondo don’t we know?
I take life seriously and I don’t let the celebrity status get me under-looking people. Off stage, I am a quiet and polite guy and I live a normal life.

Walk us through your journey as a comedian… where did it all start?
I loved being a musician very much but one day my friend who had a karaoke group invited me to one of their shows and when I rapped, guys were not feeling what I was do, so I tried to crack a joke and people tipped me so I started doing more comedy since tipping me seemed natural to the audience whenever I cracked a joke. So, since comedy as a form of art was virgin yet my childhood ambition was to become a star, I gave it a try and I have never regretted.

Why was your motivation for becoming a star?
I loved the attention celebs got and the respect they got really inspired me to try my talent so one day I would be celebrated as an icon.

 What do you like, and then hate about your job?
I like the fact unlike business I can know when my client is satisfied; they will laugh and what I hate is that people never take me serious.

What has been your worst stage experience?
It was in Arua with Kele Kele. We were emceeing at an event then this guy called me and said “We jama sema Kiswahili,” then I replied in English that didn’t understand what he was saying and then he said, “Omekata ni kupiga (you refuse I beat you).”… Man, I shivered like the ground had been hit by an earthquake.

Do you find Ugandan comedy fine?
It think so because every week 1,000 people come watch our show at Theatre La Bonita.

Do you think anything needs to be done better?
Just innovation and comedians being cooperative, which will keep us going.

The Crackers are into hosting musicians at their shows nowadays. Who is your favourite musician and why?
I support and love Ugandan talent.

What kind of family does Dolibondo come from?
I was born in a family of three, all boys, to the Late Lawrence Kizza Katongole and Margaret Kikabi Nantongo. I am the second by the way from either sides.

What is your last word…
Thanks to our fans for the love you’ve showed us for all these years.

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