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Optional Allan: Just passionate

BREAKING IN: Allan Kibuuka alias Optional Allan is an up coming comedian who is trying to make himself a name in this flooded industry. He has had stints on big stages and now he tells us more about his comedy career.

Where did the name Optional Allan come from?
Having grown up in the suburbs of Mulago, I was involved in many camps because most of them were my friends so they always used to say that guy is optional. I just incorporated it with my real name Allan.

Why comedy of all things?
I started doing comedy as a passion, not career. However, if it is what brings in the money, then I can’t refuse to consider it as a job.

Who are your idols in comedy?
Everyone who laid a brick in the foundation of stand-up comedy has inspired me. Guys like Napoleon, Dolibondo, King Kong, and others.

How special are you from other comedians?
Whenever I step on stage, I relate with the audience. Others start off with their jokes immediately they step on stage.

You often perform for different audiences. How do you relate to them?
For some, I come on stage with a song playing in the background and before anything, I greet them to get the mood and it also puts them in the mood of watching you.

What challenges have you faced in this industry?
People think I am so young and I have missed gigs at most shows because of that. Maybe because I am short. Also, If I may speak on behalf of other comedians, the comedy industry hasn’t been embraced like other careers.

So can we clear the air about your age now?
I was born on May 5, 1993. Do the calculation and see.

Do you take anything before you step on stage?
Yes. I pray. You have to put God first in everything you do.

Many Ugandan comedians have vulgar jokes. Are you the type?
Like I said earlier, I relate to the people, the music industry, and the society. But again, being vulgar is not a problem but how you execute your vulgarness matters.

In case you make a joke and people don’t laugh, what do you do next?
It hurts so much because being called a comedian in the first place means whatever comes out of your mouth, people have to laugh. However, comedy involves a lot more than making people laugh; It also involves being educative, informative and so much more. If people don’t laugh at my joke, I make sure that the next one makes them laugh.

During what time do you focus most?
I am more creative during those few minutes before I sleep and after I wake up.

How many times do you step on stage in a week?
I am on stage at least thrice a week. At Laftaz, Auto Spa, Beverly Hills, Benrich and other places.

How many hours should a comedian be on stage?
The maximum time is 30 minutes. Beyond that, it is far from comedy. You would be forcing everything on them.

The brotherly love skit you did with Okello Okello trended. Were you looking for some dimes from Coca Cola?
We just wanted to be relevant but as time went by, our mindset changed, although Coca Cola never paid us anything.

Is Optional Allan married?
No, but I am working on it. I have a girlfriend.

Tell me about your school journey?
I went to Buddo Junior School for Nursery but I was there for one month because I hadn’t paid school fees.

You were chased for school fees at kindergarten?
What happened is that I did not want to stay at home while other children attended school. So after I was told to go back home, my dad picked me up after some months and took me to Lady Bird Primary School in Kalerwe. I later joined St Elizabeth Secondary School up to Senior Two. I was expelled for escaping to Kavumba to watch Bobi Wine. I then joined Mulago SS, where I completed my Senior Four. I sat my A-Level at Comprehensive SS. I didn’t go to campus.

Because I was now old enough to hustle on my own. I wanted my sister to also reach somewhere with her studies.

Are you interested in going back to get a university education?
I do not believe I can now. I feel I am a star to get involved in studies lately.

Life in comedy and his favourites

There is this one moment someone in the audience shouted ‘get off stage’. It hurt me so much. We call them hecklers in comedy.

After cracking that joke, other comedians started to also use it, so I can no longer own that joke. I talked about boda boda guys who just say anything without having an idea of what they are talking about. It was during the campaign days. I said I was on a boda and another boda guy came and said Museveni hasn’t done anything for Uganda in 30 years and when I asked why, he told me even the National Anthem has no video. A video is something so small that he should have done already. It was so funny to me too.

That would be ‘Entujjo ya comedy’. It was a tour which started at Laftaz Kampala, Mukono and Jinja. The people who attended the event in Jinja were slightly more than 1,000. I would say that is the biggest audience I have performed for so far. However, I have also performed at Camp Comedy, among other places.

Okello Okello and Emma Napoleon. I always rehearse with Okello Okello and Napoleon is a teacher.

Before comedy
I used to work at a certain radio station but I wasn’t being paid enough. I also once owned a boutique but the business failed.

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