|Comedian Churchhill [Photo: Muendo/Standard]|
By Geoffery Korio and Sheila Kimani
In one of the most unanticipated moves, a month ago, a top local comedy act behind the popular Crazy Monday partnering with Kenya Kona show split up fuelling a fresh round of speculation in the fast growing laughter industry.
Unbridled rivalry emerged among stakeholders; with cartels forming as each hassled to get hold of the comedy industry, with the battleground moving to TV and then to corporate sponsors.
Pitching concepts to leading media houses in search for the highest bidder, comedians are not laughing about the fact that they want a slice of the pie. It is certainly not funny when friends go ahead and backstab each other as deals start being cut under the table.
One of the leading comedians in the country recently confirmed in an interview that he would not take anything less than Sh50,000 for an ordinary show. When approached by corporates, the figure is higher.
When pitching to media houses, the big shots in the industry get sponsorship to buy slots and make money running into the millions from advertisements.
In-house productions also get funded, anything from Sh70,000 upwards per episode. This may not be much for those who are still seeking to make it into the industry especially if they have to split it amongst a troupe, but there is no denying that they make good money.
Another thing that has made the industry competitive is the huge disparity between the high-earners and those seeking to make it, with the usual under-cutting lurking in the background.
Fred Omondi and his troupe are now the new kids on the block running the new rib cracking Crazy Comedy Show in KTN. The Kenya Kona offshoot left its organisers seeking for plan B as they headed to Citizen TV where the show is about to be re-launched.
Even before the dust settles, Churchill Live is set to launch the new season before the end of this month.
It is not clear which station will have the rights to air the heavily sponsored show as Nation TV, which used to air it, still has JB Masanduku’s Comedy Club running every Monday.
As if that is not enough, during an interview with Pulse, Chipukizi confessed that one of the groups considered as a rival to Churchill Live show attempted to buy him out in an effort to get him off the Churchill Live show.
He even went ahead to say that another group stalked him day and night as they wooed him with good offers.