By Dorcus Murungi
At around 4pm on a shiny Monday afternoon, I met Patrick Idiringi, aka Salvado, at Media Plaza in Kamwokya, Kampala.
He is busy trying on an apron similar to that worn by chefs; he is also carrying a frying pan with a ladle. One would quickly imagine that he is heading to the kitchen.
But the man from Ombokolo, as he is also known, is getting ready for a photo shoot for the promotion of an event he is supposed to emcee.
After pulling several awkward poses as he utters words like “the Wakanda in me” and “the man from Ombokolo,” he gives me audience with a lot of humility.
“You will forgive me for the delay, but as you can see these guys have come along with yummy bites, so posing for one or two pictures can’t be a problem,” he jokes.
The 33-year-old has over the time become a renowned comedian both locally and internationally and has won a number of awards.
He came to the limelight in 2010 during competitions organised by MultiChoice Uganda where they were searching for the funniest man in Uganda.
“I didn’t believe I was funny enough, but one of my siblings insisted that I should join the contest. There were thousands of contenders, but surprisingly I emerged second best overall,” he recalls.
Though the competitions brought Salvado to the limelight, he says his profession advanced more after he was called to co-emcee at the Miss Uganda 2011 pageant.
“I was not the main MC for the day and I was warned by the organisers not to bring my silly jokes since it was a serious event. However, midway the event there was a power blackout and the engineers notified the organisers that the blackout was going to last for 40 minutes,” he narrates.
“The organisers called me and asked me to cover the darkness with some more jokes. Most of my Jesus Christ jokes had ended and I had to pull out the crazy person in me. I can tell you though there was a blackout, I managed to keep the crowd laughing all through. This opportunity opened my doors to success because I started getting gigs of being an MC immediately after that night.”
Salvado asserts that he owes his success to his family which he says did a great job in moulding him into the great comedian he is today.
“We grew up in a rented house in Kiswa, a suburb in Kampala. My family was so loud, we were eight siblings but each time we would hold a conversation, it would sound like we were arguing. However, we would afterwards burst into wild laughter that used to drive most of our neighbours crazy,” he says.
When asked who the star of his life is, Salvado is quick to say it is his family. He says though it was a humble one, there was never a time that they lacked anything. He also says it is through his family that he learnt about humility and respect for every one regardless of their status, which aspects have helped him in his day-to-day life.
To Salvado, this kind of atmosphere helped him shape his personality, especially the comic aspect in him.
A part from his family, Salvado says he gives much respect to Kenneth Kimuli, aka Pablo, and Amooti Omubaranguzi, both comedians. To him, these two lifted the comedy industry from scratch.
“Before I could even dream of joining comedy, these two were already in place, though we now share the same platforms and sometimes compete for the same accolades. I believe they are way past the level of awards, to me these people should now be getting recognition as founders of comedy in Uganda,” he says.
Asked about why he left his engineering profession for comedy, he says he followed his passion. He explains that though he was an engineer, one of the professions that Ugandans take seriously, he resigned his job and chose comedy.
“Though I was doing engineering and excelling with my work, I used to feel that there was something else I was supposed to do, but I was not certain of what that ‘something’ was until my brothers pestered me to join comedy competitions which acted as my breakthrough into the industry,” he says.
He observes that though some people wonder why he dropped his job for comedy, comedy is something he does which earns him a living along satisfying his mind.
“It is something that I do with a lot of happiness and yet it makes me earn, in a way it is a profession that is very satisfying to me,” he says.
He advises Ugandans to ignore stereotypes if they want to succeed in life. “There are some professions that people are still undermining in Uganda, they believe that those jobs should be done by a certain type of people. But people need to wake up and realise that the jobs they are stereotyping are actually making people earn handsomely,” he advises.