Despite the coronavirus outbreak whose damaging impact did not spare the arts sector, the list of entertainers and entertainment events that created exceptional buzz in the just-ended 2021 is incomplete without the mention of talented comedians and their exquisite work.
Worth mentioning are the bold steps, commitment and passion embraced by different comedians who were geared at maximising their online presence through vigorous digital marketing of their work.
Since the outbreak of Covid-19 in Malawi, there have been major shifts that have resulted in improved digital marketing by artists, including comedians on popular platforms such as YouTube, Instagram and Facebook.
Eventually, this has helped the entertainers to maintain their brands which were threatened by the Covid-19 outbreak since there was limited physical interaction with their fans.
In Malawi, more artists, including those who were not active on social media, began to migrate to the digital platforms to safeguard their brands from possible extinction.
Out of all these artists, comedians were notable faces who increased their online presence with amusing work which tackled different issues, ranging from social issues to politics.
Felistus ‘Nya-Uyu’ Ngwira
Known as the Queen of Vilekeke Kingdom, Felistus is one of Malawi’s top comedians who made impressive strides in the just-ended year.
Apart from standing out with her unique Tumbuka, she made headlines with the attention-grabbing marriage proposal humour with a Zambian counterpart Ken Dumbo. In the skit, Felistus is captured accepting Dumbo’s marriage proposal, a development which caused a heated debate on social media both in Zambia and Malawi.
The marriage proposal satire, which was released before Dumbo’s real wedding in Zambia, attracted mixed reactions. Some fans, particularly from Malawi, felt the two comedians went too far with their humour and put Malawi’s Felistus in an awkward position.
Felistus wrapped up 2021 on high note when she organised Black and Gold event alongside Zambia’s Steffan Phiri.
Tannah Mr. Broken English
When it comes to humour, Tannah Mr. Broken English is in his own league. He uses different approaches such as mimicking to complete his comic virtuosity.
In 2021, Mr. Broken English had a share of lighter moments online when he posted hundreds of pictures, mimicking the mannerisms of different public figures. At one point, he imitated the dressing of the country’s President Lazarus Chakwera, Vice-President Saulos Chilima and former Zambian president Edgar Lungu.
Mr. Broken English also imitated popular celebrities such as international soccer star Christiano Ronaldo.
In 2021, Mr. Broken English further enjoyed the top spot when he released a mime as the Malawi national football team’s witchdoctor, which went viral on social media.
In terms of comic videos, he trended with Checking Out in Expensive Hotel, among other popular videos. In the comedy, Mr. Broken English is seen packing hotel items like bedsheets, bathing towels, cups and toilet tissue from the hotel room when checking out.
In his ‘broken’ reasoning, he believes that paying for an expensive hotel room means buying everything in the room which has to be taken home.
Mada and Linda comedy
The Mada and Linda siblings of Akhwaaka watchword is another promising comedy duo which proved to be too hot to handle on social media in 2021.
Recorded and delivered in their distinctive Lhomwe accent, Mada and Linda produced marvellous skits which entertained people both online and during live performances.
The comedies mostly tackle social ills such as relationship problems. In one of their 2021 red-hot online comedies titled Men Are Born Polygamous, Mada and Linda give viewers and listeners a good dose of laughter when they propose the introduction of karate lessons for wives in order to beat their husbands or secret girlfriends (sidechicks) whenever they cheat on them.
Among other strategies to promote their brand, Mada and Linda introduced a Facebook Live broadcast of their comedies every Friday at 4pm.
“People in the country are faced with several issues such as mental health. So, we exist to support such persons to find laughter in order to deal with their anxieties. 2021 has been a great year for us because of the overwhelming response from our fans. We are looking forward to a prosperous 2022 with more online content,” said Mada.
As observed from above-mentioned comedians whose approaches thrive on the power of embracing accents of different local languages, Che-Mandota is another talented comedian who capitalises on his Yao accent to deliver his hilarious comedies and connect well with his audience.
In 2021, he made impressive inroads with a series of online comedies, particularly on YouTube and Facebook.
Comedian Rute, who uses a heavy Chichewa accent in her productions, also made several online comedies in 2021.
Meanwhile, an arts commentator Samuel Chiwaka has urged the artists to utilise their verified social media pages and large following and views to make money.