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Eddie Butita: From Churchill Show to the world

 Eddie Butita mixes comedy with production. [Courtesy]

Funnyman Eddie Butita has etched his name in the story of Kenyan entertainment. His latest front? Digital production.

While a novice comedian on Churchill Live, he tickled audiences with his humour and natural outlook on society.

Branching out to TV on The Trend, his grounded Kariobangi perspectives gave the show unrivalled character.

On to the digital era of comedy where many can use smartphones and entertain millions at ease more so through skits, Butita has dominated the space fervently. 

His latest offering, A Nurse Toto is a testament to this. “The show was first based on pregnant nurses who run a delivery facility but I could not go through with it like I wanted,” he says. 

The effort to occupy both mainstream TV and digital is a reflection of Butita’s intent to study the market and understand trends.

“YouTube is TV that is global. It is easily accessible, and there are no limits to creativity,” he says.

Butita believes we are watching history unfold in real-time and that the industry is undergoing a metamorphosis.

“Kenyan TV is in a growth stage. It keeps getting better and this is the time to create and innovate because the market is ready,” says Butita. 

Butita, who tapped Netflix-featured actors such as Ciku Muchiri, to newcomers in TikTok-famed personalities Fao Shyshy, is rewriting the norms of acting.

The duality of employing professional actors on big screenings on Netflix and Showmax, and developing raw talent in Faith Sharon (Fao) who plays intern nurse, Vee, speaks volumes of his vision.

Other actors include YY Comedians’ wife and screen sweetheart Marya Okoth, who plays the role of arrogant clinic receptionist, Maryanne.  

“I love the togetherness the whole team has, both on and off camera. We love each other so much and we love to see all of us grow as the show soars. We are a humble and prayerful team,” says Marya.

“We put in a lot of work. For 14 minutes to be shot in two days on schedules of 7 am till 10pm is crazy, but worth it.” 

Marya says the belief Butita instils in them and the confidence he relays is what charges the entire team to go above and beyond.

Marya, who has catapulted to the fore of social media success, has always been a part of brilliant and simply-made productions.

However, Butita challenged himself in this series by tipping the totem pole of digital productions from being simplistic to adopting methods that already existed. 

“I wanted a four-camera production crew. The digital space had been ignored for a while, so I thought, just because it is digital, who said it cannot be a full-on production? So we put some coins together, assembled a crew, and equipment, and now the quality is top-tier. Many of my previous works were shot by a camera phone, but now this has changed how we approach things and I am glad,” says Butita.

From YouTube favourites such as Ma Ex, and Mtu Na Mtuwake, Butita’s range in the digital sphere of content is impressive. 

“The content space is evolving. There is a need to create long content to be consumed online, which is why on-demand platforms are the new cinemas. It has been happening in other markets and it is time to actualise it here,” he says.  

The comedian says that he has often been asked to adopt new ideas and endorsements.

“The greatest thing we have is the creativity of the digital space. There are so many episodes I believe would not air because of censorship or something but the digital space gives us the creativity license we yearn for,” he says.

This creativity trope also manifests in actors such as Ciku Muchiri, a cornerstone figure in the big-budget Netflix series, Volume. 

“Balancing all these platforms has been intentional because each platform has a different target audience and my being on them has enabled me to reach different audiences. This has been such a blessing especially when they see you in person and tell you how much they love the work you are doing and how it has impacted them,” says Ciku.

Butita says he chose Annestella as the show's main actor because she was with him from the beginning when they could only garner shoestring views.

Producer Miss Kithinji says it has not always been easy working on the show. 

“Challenges are part and parcel of any ambitious project. Managing budget constraints, coordinating schedules, and balancing creative vision are primary challenges. However, overcoming these fosters teamwork and innovation, ultimately contributing to the show’s success,” she says. 

She believes there is an array of factors that have made the show compete highly in a digital space that is armed with diversity and talent. 

“From its compelling storyline crafted by renowned comedian and creative director Butita, authentic characters, our exceptionally talented cast bring the characters to life with depth and authenticity. The attention to detail in production design also set it apart, creating a captivating viewing experience,” says Miss Kithinji. 

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