Popular comedian, OB Amponsah is warning of the possible collapse of Ghana’s comedy industry if the sector is deprived of the requisite support from various stakeholders.
In a long post on Facebook yesterday, September 1, the headline artiste of “Popular But Broke” noted that despite the industry boasting of exceptional talent, it is still struggling to find its feet.
Giving followers a better picture of his claims, OB disclosed prominent comedians like himself and Lekzy Decomic still struggle, and in most cases, don’t even get sponsors to support their shows even though they have a good record of filling auditoriums such as the National Theatre.
“Also, the standup comedy industry in Ghana is a struggling one. Severely lacking funding even with exceptional talents that can sell anywhere. Let me paint a picture of the industry now.
“We have a registered association now Gh Comedians Network. We have tried our best to establish a running comedy club every Thursday at 2927 pub. We have tried tertiary school tours (ValleyView University and HTU). Almost every one of these young comedians have their individual comedy specials. Our efforts spill over to other countries and so we are invited to perform at shows in Rwanda, Zambia, Botswana, South Africa, Swaziland, Nigeria. Bro, we even have a full 20 minute feature on CNN about comedy in Ghana. Look at how many comedy shows have happened from January to September.
“The beautiful picture painted above, will collapse in no time mainly because of severe lack in funding and lack of stakeholders interest. Me and Lekzy can hardly get sponsorship for upcoming shows even after doing a number of shows at the National theater. Because we do not seem to have the skit attracting or bortoss attracting numbers on our socials, we lose out on brand sponsorship and ambassadorial deals, but you all know we are working.
“We do not take for granted any support we have received so far. But there is a pressing need. The standup comedy industry is standing on wobbly legs. Don’t be surprised when it comes crumbling down. Our strength can only reach that far. And when you lose out on a show, because you couldn’t secure a visa, you can only smile and bide your time,” he stated.
OB’s post was a follow-up to a previous one, expressing his disappointment over he and colleague, Lekzy’s inability to honour an invitation to perform at Bloemfontein International Comedy Festival because they couldn’t get their visas.
However, in a post he later shared on his social media pages, OB expressed his gratitude to people who came to his after sharing his predicament.
He, however, disclosed that they couldn’t make it to the Bloemfontein International Comedy Festival, which started in South Africa today since they had their visas late yesterday.
“Thanks to everyone who helped make enquiries and try pull strings on our behalf yesterday. The visa confirmation came late yesterday evening by which time it was a bit too late to process anything; the organiser had found replacements.
“I believe moving forward, there should be (if not national), an industry conversation about visa acquisition especially within Africa. It is sad to lose out on opportunities like these within your own continent. Whoever is in charge should at least accept the 90 days visa waiver SA is offering us,” he stated.
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