Many laughs: When Phillip Luswata and friends started mapping out Uganda’s early comedy performances, Pablo was a journalist meant to live the story as it developed. Yet, many years later, he would outlive the story as the last comic standing, writes, EDGAR R. BATTE.
An apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, Pablo, born Kenneth Kimuli grew up observing his grandmother, Janet Kagango, a fine dancer and his grandfather, two people he says were hilarious. Later, he would take on their character that as an adult, he kept his workmates in bouts of laughter.
But he wasn’t always a comedian, in fact, he started out in the newsroom at Daily Monitor, under the mentorship of Elizabeth Kameo. When she learnt that he had studied at Namasagali College, a school that was widely known for producing entertainers, she asked him to cover nightlife events such as the Jam Session at the National Theatre.
Please walk me through your hustle to earn your footing in your comedy world?
One day in 2003 in the Musicians Club, Philip Luswata, Frobisha Lwanga and Kwezi Kaganda were locked in a conversation about comedy. They would occasionally go to the club and share their stories with the late Elly Wamala and Jimmy Katumba.
The plan was to turn such stories into sketch comedy skits. I told Kameo about it and she advised me to be part of the developing story. In the picture, was Andrew Ssekajugo so Luswata, Frob, Kaganda, myself and others started performing at some place along Lumumba Avenue in Kampala.
The audience didn’t understand what we were doing. The owner said we were confused. We then went to TLC at George Street, the owner Dr. To had a room that could accommodate theatre performance but was hesitant, he didn’t understand the comedy we were telling him.
It was eight of us performing for three people so it was a show where the performers were more than the audience. It was Frobisha Lwanga, Phillip Luswata, myself, Hannington Bugingo, Veronica Namanda, Richard Tuwangye, Kwezi Kaganda and one Farouk.
We performed seven skits and Dr. To laughed and gave us rice as our first payment.
Philip Luswata came up with an idea of the Invisible Theatre approach where you also come as part of the revellers, get a drink on a table, create a story, and argue about it and end up at the stage acting.
People liked it and started laughing. Word went around that there were some weird guys at TLC every Thursday. People started coming. By the time, True African, an SMS company, had just been established so Gerald Rutaro could collect customers’ contact numbers who would receive weekly reminders about the show.
Soon, Dr. To started charging 1k and 2k then 3k as entrance fee for revellers. We decided to move to the Green Room at National Theatre where my journey as a stand-up comedian began.
How did the Green Room anchor your stand-up comedy career?
READ FULL INTERVIEW HERE>>> Comedy must address important issues but in a light mood – Pablo
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