Anyone who has been to high school knows the class clown. He's the student who cracks jokes during lessons, or imitating teachers, or distracting others during those boring after-lunch lessons. But Mark ‘Mwas’ Mwangi, 24, was never that guy. He was quiet, shy and unpopular. But his Instagram page, with more than 78,000 followers, tells a different story. With skits recounting numerous high school experiences and humour that always hits the mark, fans cannot get enough of this rising comedian.
Your content is about the campus and high school experience. Where did you go to school?
I was actually in Kenyatta University doing Economics and Finance, and I graduated at the end of 2020. As for my high school, it was not your typical school life. I was first at Murang’a High School then I transferred in Form Two to Dagoretti High School.
Are your skits your personal experiences?
When I went to Dagoretti High, they did not have a Form Three class at the time. So I had to repeat form two. In short, I have been in high school for five years, which maybe explains why I have so much material. Funnily enough, most of my ideas are from Murang’a where I spent less time, but it was the more social school.
How did you start doing comedy skits?
I was in my hostel in campus. I had an Instagram page with no posts, so I thought of doing something interesting. I started with memes. I would take a video or picture then think of a funny caption for it and then create a meme. I got bored after about 10 posts.
Then I happened to see Natalie Githinji in a friend’s Whatsapp status and immediately got inspired. I decided to try a similar thing, but now in my own way. At first I had a few views until Bien of Sauti Sol reposted me a couple of times. That pushed my growth.
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Are you afraid of running out of ideas?
It’s unlikely. I have so many ideas of videos I am yet to make. There is so much that happens in the daily life of a student as well as sort of imagined situations like the ‘students during Covid’ skits.
What were you like in school?
The exact opposite of what you see. I was a very shy boy sitting at the back. The ‘back benchers’ are of three kinds; the nerds, the noisemakers and the introverts. I am in the last category.
How about your social life?
I was not in any extracurricular activity. I have never gone for a ‘funkie’, drama or music festival, not even a Maths contest. The videos I create are from my friends and the stories they would tell me from their own experiences. Even now I spend most of my time alone at home.
Have you always wanted to be a comedian?
Not really. I would see comedians on Instagram like gods. I constantly wondered how they did it looked so complex and imaginative until I started and it really is not that hard. I believe now I can be a stand-up comedian. I am still working on trying long form content for YouTube.
Who makes you laugh?
King Bach, Lele Pons, Hanna Stocking, Ha Ha Davis and the likes. OG Viners are my go-to. I started knowing of Kenyan so to say ‘viners’ just last year, the likes of Seth Gor believe it or not, and I enjoy watching them too. I find Mammito Eunice as well as Rono funny. Anyone relatable makes me laugh.
How do you come up with new material?
I literally just sit down, eating my breakfast and remember an experience; like how I once missed tea in the morning and how devastating it was. So, I immediately record that video. If I am not in a position to, I write it down in a notebook I always carry around. Inspiration strikes me at any point and time.
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Do you script? Take us through your workflow.
The Kiswahili ones are simple, I do just one take. The English ones take me up to five takes because it’s not exactly my forte. So I script the English ones, but only because when I’m naming things sometimes I forget some and end up restarting. Scripting takes too much time, which means I would produce less videos.
I tried some time back and it felt too organised and not at all natural. I like my videos being as real as it would be in that situation. I think my fans appreciate it. After I’m done, I edit on Inshot on my phone, it’s that simple. There is nothing fancy about what I do, I just record on my phone.
What is the best and worst thing about what you do?
The best thing is obviously I get to do what I love and get paid here and there. It’s not much right now, but it is getting there. I love laughing at myself, so to speak. The worst is people assume because they see you on TV or you are ‘famous’, you have money. People DM me with real problems and I don’t want to be rude, but I am not rich, I can’t really help.
How about challenges?
Not many. My followers are actually quite friendly. I have never seen a negative comment. Maybe a challenge is I use bundles and not Wi-Fi. Sometimes it takes a while to render a video. Also for a camera, I just use my phone. Obviously using the back camera means I cannot really see what I am doing.