KELVIN KACHINGWE, Lusaka
PABLO, who is one of Ugandaâ€™s leading comedians, arrived in the country on Thursday ahead of the international comedy show at Mulungushi International Conference Centre in Lusaka tonight.
The show, organised by the Zambia Comedy Magazine, will also feature South African comedian David Kau who was expected to arrive in the country yesterday and local humourist Chibwe Katebe.
The show comes barely a month after Topsy, Chibwe, Bob Nkosha, K-Star, Kapalu, Collins Zulu and Abel Chungu took to the stage at the same venue.
Going by the huge attendance at the show, which came two days after the burial of President Sata whose public body viewing was conducted in the same venue, tonightâ€™s show should equally attract a healthy audience.
In fact, local stand-up comedy has proved so popular that you have to pity stage drama.
Even though that is the case, most of what passes as stand-up comedy here is actually just drama.
Renowned comedian Chris Rock would actually be upset to see some of the acts that pass for stand-up.
Not just him, even the American essayist, op-ed columnist and writer Frank Rich.
He recently had a conversation with him in a New York hotel lounge as Chris Rock prepared for the release of Top Five, a bittersweet film comedy in which he does triple duty as director, screenwriter and star.
Rock was actually the first to suggest that â€œI donâ€™t think people understand how hard it is to write comedy. The gestation period, the trying out of jokes, the whittling them down – a lot of people may not understand that, in some ways, drama may be easier.â€
But Rock believes it is not even a question of whether drama may be easier or not, it is actually easier.
â€œItâ€™s not may. It is easier. It just is. Hey, man, I loved Gone Girl [American thriller film directed by David Fincher]. Loved it. But you could probably get other directors – Iâ€™m not saying theyâ€™d make it as good as Fincher, but you could get it from beginning to end and get a reaction out of it, where you canâ€™t really do that with comedy.
â€œIn this sense, comedyâ€™s really fair. Itâ€™s not like music, where you can hire Timbaland and he gives you a beat and a song, and even though you canâ€™t sing itâ€™s a hit. Comedy, especially stand-up comedy, itâ€™s like: Whoâ€™s funny?
â€œItâ€™s the only thing that smacks Hollywood out of its inherent racism, sexism, anti-ÂSemitism. It makes people hire people that they would never hire otherwise,â€ he said in an interview published in the New York Magazine on Monday.
That is why the comedy workshop at Golden Bridge Hotel in Lusaka yesterday that preceded tonightâ€™s show, whose tickets are pegged at K100 ordinary and K180 VIP, was a welcome move.
It could just up the levels of local comedy.
KELVIN KACHINGWE, Lusaka