FeaturedShowbiz

[Article] Ghana’s comedy now a gold mine – The case of ‘Popular But Broke’

Since I started working in Accra in 2017, I have attended a few stand up comedy shows.

From Accra mall to OB Amponsah and friends at the now defunct Bar Naas at Bawaleshie, East Legon.

For some reasons, any time I attended those comedy shows I would not be that enthused. I’d occasionally smile as though I never paid attention to what was happening. I always felt Ghana’s comedy needed more time to blossom, having watched the performances of some comedians from Nigeria like Klint, Basket Mouth and their friends.

Alas! I was wrong. Within four years, a lot had changed and I would be gobsmacked at an event I nearly jettisoned.

POPULAR BUT BROKE!

The title OB Amponsah crafted for his show reminded me of the TRUE state of the Ghanaian journalist/broadcaster. (That’s a story for another day)

Although I had bought a ticket and wanted to dash it because of other engagements, my senior in the area of PR, KB Williams whom I’d earlier requested for a ticket sent a message. ” Hiya. Do you still want the ticket?”

“Yes Sir”, I affirmed and he directed me to one of his PAs for it.

THE DEAL

When I got to the National Theatre, the show hadn’t commenced, but I went to grab my seat and started surfing to see what people had to say about the show.

I was simply amazed at the tweets and mentions.

Filling the National Theatre, I’m told, is one difficult task. No wonder OB Amponsah kept begging us on social media to come and fill it.

Few minutes to 20:00 Hrs GMT, the place was almost full. I was amazed. Then I realised the legendary Fritz Baffuor, a former MP and Minister, was among the performers of the night.

By 20:00hrs when people had started lamenting the delay both in the auditorium and on social media, boom! We had Noella brighten the stage with her beauty.

Show had started! She rattles ‘brofo kakra’, introduces her Co-MC as Clemento Suarez .

Ay3ka! There and then, I knew the night would be exciting even if the comedians don’t impress.

Suarez started dashing his sun glasses and his shoes. The ‘awwwwnn awwwwwn’ I heard behind me were soothing.

Then he introduced the first comedian on stage.

IG (I don’t know whether I got the name right). I could tell he was trembling. The crowd was humiliating, considering what it was seeking– #purecomedy and laughter. But he nailed it. First time hearing his name but he managed to make me laugh with his Christmas Carol jokes.

 

After his performance, Clemento then comes in to collect the stuff he had dashed to some of the audience. His mom had told him he was incomplete so he had to collect the sunglasses back. Can you imagine?

Ranzy (the Ashaiman boy) took over the stage with what he could do best. That was the first time I had heard his name too.

His joke that blew me off was when he recalled how he began his comedy career and branded himself Tea bread. His Dad would beat him up anytime anyone called him.

Then there was that day a guy whose event he had performed at came to his house to pay him 5000 cedis for his earlier performance.

His dad upon realising the cash was real, called Ranzy who was then bathing ‘Breadooo’.(perhaps an iPhone 12 pro max version of Tea bread)

“Come for our money”, he said to his son.

Oga Tea Bread (father of Ranzy) had to name himself after a bread (butter bread or so) and named his other children after different kinds of bread. 😂😂 Sika nti.

Tee Kay was the third guy to perform on stage.

His ‘y33y3 or Apuu’ wasn’t bad. Everybody warmed into that Q and A session especially when he asked whether Ghanaian women did not like money.

You could hear the men all shout “apuuuuuuuu”.

When he asked if Ghanaian men do not like to cheat on their partners, the “apppuuuuuuuuuuuuu” in unison was louder than a thunderstorm.

I wondered if none of the ladies present had come without their husbands/ boyfriends.

Again, Tee Kay’s joke about how a beggar had told him “Braa walahi, Ebeye yie” during a traffic jam was sad and funny at the same time.

That was just 30 minutes into the show. Within that period, the crowd was cheering the performers on.

I said to myself ” ahyeasie mpo ni” to wit: this is just the beginning.

33 minutes into the show, Clemento Suarez ushered in Jerry Jerry Ashinyo .

 

Apart from Jerry eating in his dream and had to clean bowls in the dream restaurant, his LGBTQ+ joke was punchy.

Who doesn’t like $2000? (This amount, he said was offered him by a gay to buy call credit and get back to him after proposing to the comedian)

Kojo Pee Jay followed. Another name that wasn’t familiar.

His joke about a running stomach on a VIP bus en route to Kumasi and the three conditions it gives to people who encounter such terrible situation was real and funny.

Losing the belt when you finally get to the loo and how one can dance azonto to unlock his belt before sitting on the WC was lit.

The take over by Clemento Suarez and his subsequent joke on Socrates Sarfo who was right before him was hilarious yet he made his message clear that he should tell the government to renovate the auditorium. This was after audience at the ‘popular stand’ complained that they were feeling hot.

It was 55 minutes into the show, yet the house was still blazing.

Oh-Joo came through.

His joke on the girl he took to his ‘self acclaimed house’–OB’s room– was quite winding but got the crowd to follow his narration. He was quite super but the ‘vim’ of the audience was dying.

The music break after Oh-Joo was a saver.

The artist was quite good. I loved his energy, especially with the last song he performed which zoomed into the part Clemento Suarez came in with his raps.

Clemento Suarez’s rap was an icing on the cake.

How Clemento acknowledged the presence of the Ingleshie Amanfrom MP, Sylvester Tetteh and Giovanni Caleb of TV3 was rib-cracking.

At this time, I had laughed a 1000 times if I’m to be modest.

The seventh comedian on stage was Lekzy DC at 21:25hrs.

The VGMA and Grammys awards and how Musicians mount stage during similar award shows and waste time was hilarious.


The Funny Face and IGP joke was on point.

The scintillating part was mimicking Ras Kuuku. The Act was superb and I could see people stand to cheer him on.

Clemento Suarez once again comes to stage to share biscuits.

How he called his wife, who I’m sure was shy, to come for her share of the biscuits before anyone else put me in stitches.

“Bɛgye na ɔkyena ɛnoaa na yɛbɛdi”, (come and take because that’s all we have to eat tomorrow), he commanded.

When his wife was reluctant, Suarez looked into the crowd and yelled in Akan “hwan na ɔpɛ me?” Loosely translated as “who wants me to marry her?”

Before anyone could blink, the comedian’s wife had gone for the biscuits.

How he informed the president the people were hungry hence the mad rush for the biscuits was brilliant.

The 8th performance.

It was the veteran Fritz Baffour.(a former minister)

Sterling performance, it was. His joke about Parliament, the Nigerian and Ghana match commentary and the pre-fourth Republic Police men and their work were cool.

 

Kwabena Kwabena!!!

Before people could begin asking where’s OB? Highlife star Kwabena Kwabena had taken over the stage at 22:02hrs with a spectacular performance.

He commenced with Mene woaa, Bibinii and lighted the building with
Asor.

The song electrified the auditorium. Asor pushed about 85% of the people out of their seats, took over the song and sung along in an exciting manner to the surprise of Kwabena. Yes! He probably had goose bumps all over him, looking at how he reacted to the crowd with kisses.

Asor, I’m pretty sure was his last song, but, like a man behind a bottle of fine blend whisky, the crowd was yearning for more; so he gave them ‘Adult music’ for about 2 minutes.

Like they say, he left when the clap was louder.

At 22:23 OB Amponsah– the climax of the show– appeared on stage.

His entry, I must say, was the e-version of the Biblical narrative of how Jesus Christ entered Jerusalem.

OB Amponsah performing at the National Theatre on Saturday night

He got dazed! He didn’t believe he had filled National Theatre to its brim.

His joke on how President Akufo-Addo was being driven around town, saw the skyrocketing fuel prices and called Dr Bawumia who replied him “Gyae me, mere yɛ Ghana card” threw everyone into laughter.

The Serwaa Broni and Addo Dee exchange of nudes. (Expensive joke though) was super hilarious.

The LGBTQI+ joke was super! He wondered how an SDA pastor could bring to church a man, Abeiku, and call him his wife when LGBTQI is legalized.

The COVID experience and shortage of toilet papers in US while Ghanaians were grabbing food was great.

The terrorist who had to stay at home because of COVID was punchy.

“You have to wear jalabia to be a terrorist”.

The joke on how a Christian terrorist will delay and sing before detonating a bomb in a trotro was really funny.

OB’s joke about Jehovah witnesses who suffered withdrawal symptoms was real ish.

His jibe at Kofi Kinaata who’s fond of crying in songs was spot on. He got the man himself, Martin KingArthur laughing.

The Cheddar incident that made him choose POPULAR BUT BROKE for his show was deep and almost everyone present could relate.

The trotro man spitting in his nose mask unaware kept the auditorium lit.

The Skido skit was excellently executed.

My disappointment: OB failed to craft jokes around the NDC.

Nonetheless, the show was fun packed and if you missed it, start attending any comedy show you see being advertised on social media.

I will not be surprised to see big brands like MTN or Vodafone sponsoring OB Amponsah’s show next year, as the beginning of the exportation of Ghanaian comedy to most parts of the world.

 

The writer, Henryson Okrah, is a broadcast journalist at XYZ Broadcasting.

Back to top button