Humble beginings: Gocher joined comedy through the Pablo Live Comfort Comedy Clinic at the National Theatre in 2013. Because of his lingual versatility, he has become a celebrated comedian in eastern Uganda. Rebecca Kabuya caught up with him.
Hello! Is Gocher your real name?
My real name is Umar Ahmed Nsaaju. Gocher is my stage name.
What kind of family does Gocher come from?
A poor and humble background; I have one brother and three
How did you end up a comedian?
I joined comedy through the Pablo Live Comfort Comedy Clinic in 2013 which was organised by Kenneth ‘Pablo’ Kimuli and Herbert Ssegujja ‘Mendo’ after his return from the American comedy Institute.
What inspired you to join comedy?
I have always dreamt of being a star since my early school days at St Anthony’s Boys Primary School. I led my school drama group to several awards, and I was celebrated at the school even after I left.
What makes you unique?
I own my style. I crack jokes in several language; English, Luganda, Lusoga, Lugisu, Lugwere and Kiswahili. I am fluent in most Ugandan languages.
What was the first joke you cracked?
I remember it was at Club Galaxy, Basement in Malaba and my first joke was about how you can differentiate a Gishu girl from a non-Gishu in the club. All you had to is ask her to order for a drink; a typical Gishu girl can’t pronounce Smirnoff. She will say, “Waiter, bampe similiniofu.” That joke got me an applause.
Does Gocher the comedian ever tamper with Umar?
Hahaha… I can ably manage the two. When I am on stage I am Gocher, off stage I am Umar, a very humble and serious guy. I am a bit shy in real life but when I get the mic, my comic side is aroused immediately. Off stage I am very serious, because I want people to take me seriously.
What is your most memorable moment as a comedian?
It was in July 2014 when I performed at the Multichoice Comedy Club in Kampala. The show was featured on DSTV. It was my first time to share a stage with Patrick Idringi Salvado. That was the biggest moment in my career, besides sharing a stage with Salvado and Kansiime, I was paid well. For the first time in my life I earned in dollars.
Who is your favourite comedian?
Internationally it is Chris Rock, locally it is Patrick ‘Salvado’ Idringi, although I have much respect for my mentors; Pablo and Mendo.
What is life like away from comedy?
I am just normal. I smile and laugh where neccessary, I get annoyed where necessary because I am human.
What else do you do apart from cracking people’s ribs?
I am an events promoter. I have done several shows in my home town, Mbale, taking musicians and comedians to entertain my people. I host these shows myself.
What do you like and hate about your job?
The job pays well, but I hate it when I am on stage and my show is disorganized.There are people who are planted in the audience just to disorganise people’s shows. Imagine stepping on stage and people start shouting “vayo, twakowa”, you can’t concentrate.
Any nasty stage experiences?
It was at Club Eltanjia, Mbale when a drunk woman in the audience claimed I was her ex-boyfriend and that I left her in pain. She kept shouting unti I called the bouncers to throw her out.
How would you rate Ugandan comedy?
Ugandan comedy is growing steadily. I salute the guys who have been in this industry for long and set the path for us. It is amazing to see that comedy shows are taking over music shows.
Where do we see Gocher in 2021?
I will be one of Uganda’s funniest exports.