Comedy: Andrew Odongo, alias Don Andre, is a comedian who has been on the scene since 2017. He has performed on different shows including the Nairobi International Comedy Festival. Isaac Ssejjombwe chats with him about his love life and comedy.
Why comedy of all careers?
A medical profession is not bad at all but biology, chemistry and mathematics showed me the way to my talent. Standup comedy is my life and I do not regret making this decision.
At what point did you start doing comedy?
I started in 2016 after auditioning to win a spot for open mics. I suffered several heartbreaks of being bounced many times to go back and work on my content. But I did not give up. I kept coming back for rehearsals until that day when Timothy Nyanzi approved my work. That was my starting point. I then made my debut with the punchlines at Waikiki, that progressively saw me performing on different stages in the country, such as Kubbys open mic, Funny Tuesday, Pablo Live, Comedy files, Comedy Store, Kampala Comedy Festival Nairobi International Comedy Festival, Comedy Black Friday, among others.
In 2019, I recorded a half hour content with my colleagues Timothy J Nyanzi, Hillary Okello & Ak Dans. I am still hungry for more achievements.
How did Nyanzi’s approval impact your career?
The open mics in 2016 during the Waikiki days, then later 2017, came with Kubbys open mic which was my main home that groomed me a lot. Timothy Nyanzi is the only guy who sacrifices and spends time listening to your content and he is ready to watch you grow. So his approval meant a lot for my career and it came with a lot of recommendations. If he stamps your work, then you are good.
If it was not for comedy, what would you be doing?
I would be that player helping Arsenal win the Champions League. I grew up playing football and but I could not juggle it with academics. The other alternative would be law.
What do you think is lacking in the industry lately?
Comedy industry has no godfathers. Comedians are on their own. There are no facilities and an enabling environment such as free theatre space to practise art through open mics is lacking. Expensive venues are one of the most frustrating things in this industry. It is until you are a “Daniel Kaluya” that you can be recognised. A comedian must suffer his way up on his own.
Were you among those affected by Covid?
Of course. A lot of my career plans have been frustrated. I did not even know how it felt to spend a year without stepping on stage. But if there is anything that the lockdown taught me, it is the fact that hunger is real and saving is important.
How different are you from other comedians?
No one will ever be me. I have my own style of delivery. I do not struggle to make jokes to be understood.
Are you in any relationship?
I have a strong relationship with my family and friends and if you mean the other one, yes but her Ssenga has not yet picked me and danced to show me off.
What is the most precious gift you have ever given a woman?
I almost bought her a diamond ring from some guy around Gazaland but before I paid for it, he was arrested for theft.
Would you let a woman vibe you?
If she is the one distributing Emyooga I can give her a chance.
What happened to your university course?
I was pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Community Based Rehabilitation but as time went on, I lost interest in studies. I only recall my lecturer in a communication skills lesson class saying “you need to let people hear you well because some of you will become standup comedians.” I took that prophecy and the rest is history.