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Love for laughter: Women in comedy on what inspires their art

Achieving Woman
 Ciru Mwangi, a Kenyan stand-up comedian [Courtesy, Ciru Mwangi Instagram]

International Women’s Day is all about acknowledging achievements and milestones covered by women globally.

Women have established themselves in every field they get into. Whenever an opportunity presents itself, they give a good account of themselves. One area that women are excelling at is in the entertainment industry, comedy to be specific.

When anyone asks about ladies in comedy, names like Mammito Eunice, Awinja, Brenda Jones and Teacher Wanjiku will top the list.

The inspiration these few ladies gave to others has birthed a whole community of lady comedians with hilarious talents.

“I love telling stories and watching people enjoy them. Stand-up comedy offers me a platform to try out my material in front of a live audience,” said Ciru Mwangi, a Kenyan stand-up comedian.

However, Shazz Nderitu’s story of how it all started is a little different. It is not what everybody expects. She says her comical story started on a sad note.

“My sister and I were caught up in the Westgate Mall attack and we were called in for an interview by Professor Hamo and Jeff Koinange. After the interview, they commended us for making the session light and acknowledged our comical sides,” she said.

Shazz does English comedy. She says the industry has learned to accommodate women over the years with many male comedians encouraging ladies to take the stage.

 Comedians Shazz Nderitu, Ciru Mwangi [Courtesy, Instagram]

Anytime the opportunity comes, the ladies find a niche and stick to it, hence bringing new comedy consumers daily. As Nelly Wangechi puts it, it’s all about being unique.

“As a woman in the industry, it can be a little intimidating since it is a male-dominated industry. I have however learnt how to bring fresh perspective and unique experiences through my comedy. I love that there is a growing recognition of the unique perspectives and voices women bring to the industry,” said Nelly.

In as much as the number of women in comedy has grown bigger, there needs to be a constant assurance that they can do it no matter what.

 Mammito Eunice [Courtesy, Instagram]

Nelly says that it can be done better by creating awareness that humour is not gender oriented. All you need is your creativity and comical personality.

“I wish people like sponsors and media personnel would highlight more comedy events organized by women because they are happening,” added Shazz.

Back when stand-up comedy shows like Churchill Show were starting, ladies showed up and cracked ribs like never before.

Since then, the list of women in stand-up comedy has grown to include more than just Jemutai and Teacher Wanjiku.

The revolution is not only in stand-up comedy but in the industry at large. Anne Kansime, though not Kenyan, is one of the ladies who decided to bring comedy out of the stage and make skits out of it and she gained a global audience.

Packaging comedy in skits has become a norm with a huge representation of ladies. Cartoon Comedian is one of them and her audience appreciates what she does.

With the digital migration, social media platforms have come a long way to help all comedians garner a huge audience. This is contrary to the analogue days when you had to depend on mainstream media to air your content.

The ladies who used these digital platforms to shine their way to the top of comedy scenes include Elsa Majimbo, Chebet Rono, King Kalala, and Natalie Githinji, among others.


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