Uganda’s comedy industry has greatly grown as compared to how it was in the 1990s. Just around two decades ago, comedy in Uganda was not well received; rather well known. It was so unpopular that even the comedians that time didn’t know their audience.
During that time, fans that cared to follow comedy would only be entertained in skits, a kind of comedy known us ‘Sketch’ that involves plays.
Well, atleast no comedian in Uganda those days did Science fiction comedy, Screwball comedy, Shock humor, Documentary comedy, Stand-up comedy, Surreal humor, Off-color humor and Parodies among others.
The notable vivid first organized comedy group to start performing in Uganda, is ‘Fun Factory’ which was popularly known as ‘Theatre Factory’ in the early 2000s.
The team, after performing for over six years developed a misunderstanding between themselves, resulting into 14 of the members breaking away to form Fun Factory on January 5, 2010 leaving only two members in the original ‘Theatre Factory’ group. Fun Factory performed in shows including Comedicine, U-Turn and Mizigo Express.
From then to 2019, January 16, to be exact; when The Uganda Comedians Association was formed, there was no such a thing as regulating comedy whatsoever.
That means most of the Ugandan Comedians who have been performing on International platforms have not been regulated at all or have any governing body to control and protect them from both fans and fellow comedians in case misunderstandings emerged.
Just like any other art, say music and others, comedians have been lacking many things among others; togetherness and team work as most of them have been throwing jabs at each other.
Though making people laugh is what they pride in, in fact, we call it their job. How they do it, critically depends on which genre, rather type of comedy one does and it for sure needs to be regulated.
This is why comedians, led by the Association’s interim President, a one Hannington Bugingo, Wednesday evening officially launched The Uganda Comedians Association (TUCA) to the public at Atmosphere lounge in Kololo.
Speaking at the launch, Bugingo recalled that the idea to form the association dates back to the tragedy of losing one of their fellow comedians real name Hassan Ssempala alias King Kong.
King Kong passed on in June 2018 and comedians were not able to come together and help in the burial arrangements and proceedings, a fact that woke them up to the idea getting united.
Bugingo said that after the uncoordinated King Kong’s burial, the public mocked them (Comedians), asking where they could have been hiding since they were not able to show support to their fallen comedian.
He added that after several meetings with some of the comedians, they finally zeroed in on coming up with an association which he said will help secure a conducive working environment, protect and regulate the conduct of comedians among other objectives.
Comedian Emma Napoleone, the Publicity Secretary and Spokesperson TUCA, told Chimpreports that the association that so far comprises of over 30 fully registered members, aims at professionalizing the comedy industry, establishing a functional office and ensuring that every subscriber will be enrolled for medical insurance cover among others in the nearby future.
Abbey Mukiibi, the Association’s patron called upon comedians to corporate and avoid things that cause the audience to lose interest in comedy. Some of which include vulgarity while performing on stage and repeating jokes among others.
“We should join hands and stop some of these common vices in comedy including vulgarity and of recent fans complain of comedians repeating the same jokes year in and out. Vulgar comedy is not fun at all.”
Mukiibi also said that, “Surreal, spoof or those ‘one-line jokes’ comedians can for example borrow from fellow comics, we can at least allow that instead of repeating the same jokes day in day out.”