Nairobi, Kenya | By Michael Wandati | Comedy in Kenya has lately taken a new dimension after closely following and watching comedian Eric Omondi’s theatrics based on scripted satirical shows hyped on social media and in the mainstream media.
For the longest time, funnyman Eric Omondi, born March 9, 1985 was known for his rib-cracking parodies and stand-up shows; known for his skinny physique now a buffy look; and most importantly, known for owning his true identity as ‘The King of Comedy’ in yesteryears.
The self-proclaimed ‘Africa’s president of comedy,’ Eric Omondi’s comical work was a fresh breath of air, was a sweet sound to the ear, was a clear vision to the eye, sad though, Eric does not evolve with time, rather, he detonates himself at his own mode of evolution — killing his far-reached career. Eric simply stopped acting funny.
In an era awash with fake comedy, some well-established comedians are now lacking creativity and have resorted to using a unique form of absurd comedy to place themselves at the forefront of the entertainment industry.
To them, it’s for sure fun to skip stones across a shallow pond, to watch them bounce a couple of times, but let them dare make a few ripples as we patiently watch them, they’ll soon sink and be forgotten.
Comedian Eric Omondi has of recent ventured into making obscene and indecent jokes at the expense of fame, women and making money amassed from producing inappropriate ‘explicit’ content — of half-naked photos of himself and videos of young girls exploited and lured into a well-funded, scripted and documented ‘ pure pornographic series’ dubbed ‘Wife Material,’ all in the guise of creative comedy and strategic business advancements.
Nudity or vulgarity in the name of transformational or evolved comedy that is being forced to exist in the margins of our younger generation isn’t funny; its cruelty and immorality. I have learned this from Eric’s raunchy content featuring lewd women he constantly shares on his social media platforms.
Why does Eric promote obscenity in public? Why does Eric continue to violate the values of women and no one is stopping him?
While I may sound too concerned, I am frankly not wowed by his recent gags, what does bother me is that how we continue to judge art forms in an utter vacuum and remain blinded to the context, and the kind of content or art that is being produced these days by our so-called funnymen.
Is there a ‘new sense of panic’ in Eric Omondi’s comedy and character?
There is no room at all for laziness in the art of comedy. The business of comedy is serious, fluid, dynamic and fast-paced. It takes only the talented comedians to keep up.
One challenge that any comedian has to deal with these days, is keeping up with the volume of jokes and humor that flood social media, to remain relevant in the industry.
Comedians who are full time on social media like Eric Omondi should know that there are certain expectations their followers have.
Besides parading half-naked photos and explicit video content, followers on social media, expect some creative witty lines once in a while from them, the same way they expect news updates from media houses.
It has become very difficult for some established comedians in Kenya today to actually “crack ribs” or “generate thousands of laughter” without creating publicity scandals driven by immoral content meant for social media mileage; likes, follows and comments. Subscribe to my channel has been the new song.
Dear funnymen, a serious top level comedian constantly sharpens his/her skills by incorporating educational, informational and entertaining comedy that positively impacts the society.
Truth be told, Eric Omondi as a comedian, who many upcoming comedians look up to as an inspiration and mentor in the comedy industry, has evidently failed to identify the climax of his jokes.
The only selling point left for such comedians (now that almost every Kenyan is a comedian, no pun intended) is his or her persona to make a rightful judgment on what content should be or not be on stage. Protecting children against exposure to premature adult experiences is our collective responsibility.
Professionally, Eric Omondi is a trained journalist who studied Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communication and Journalism at Daystar University and later, he got a premature job-stint at NTV Kenya as a reporter but he was kicked out barely two weeks after. The management at NTV termed Eric as ‘not being good enough,’ and that is when he decided to pursue comedy.
Daniel ‘Churchill’ Ndambuki, one of the biggest celebrity names synonymous with stand-up comedy in Kenya, who hosts the comedy television show Churchill Show (formerly Churchill Live) on NTV Kenya, signed Eric Omondi on his show and a year later, KTN poached him to host a ‘rival comedy show’ dubbed Hawayuni.
He also did ‘Somewhere in Africa’ and ‘Untamed’. The shows tanked after a few episodes and were consequently cancelled due to poor ratings.
Eric Omondi’s dating and past dramatic experience
Comedian Eric Omondi on May 22, 2019 officially broke up with his long-term Italian girlfriend Chantal Grazioli alias Miss Chanty who had first met during the Kenya at 50 show at Kasarani.
Whereas Eric has chosen to remain single after the breakup with Chantal, he has also chosen to sample out our girls here and there explicitly live on camera with his romantic theatrics ‘Wife Material’ series on the guise of creating opportunities to the desperate young girls featured in the show.
Oooh, and just a reminder, Chantal moved on and introduced her new serious boyfriend to the world. Does anyone even know the true reason why Chantal left the self-proclaimed ‘President of Comedy Africa’ Eric Omondi?
It is also in public domain that the former Citizen TV news anchor Jacque Maribe was Eric Omondi’s squeeze at some point, whose relationship went as far as having a son named Zahari together.
Eric’s ex-girlfriend Jacque Maribe in one of her interviews with True Love Magazine, Carole Mandi asked why her relationship with her baby daddy Eric Omondi ended, Maribe said that at that particular time they were not in a serious relationship.
According to Maribe, at the time Eric had been juggling his career and women – something Maribe was not ready to put up with. That wouldn’t be the worst of her troubles with the father of her son, Zahari.
“Sometimes I don’t know what is wrong with our men, it is something I wanted and he was not the space he was at that particular time.
We were both at very different places in our life’s, Eric is my friend and I don’t want to speak ill of him but we were not at a space where we were having a serious relationship. I think I had matured beyond his expectations. Now were are having his baby and he still want to have all the girls, the groupies… I think he still needed to explore and we agreed to go our separate ways but remain friends,” Maribe disclosed.
Eric and Maribe had known each other for more than 5 years, plenty of time to vet a potential husband and father of your children.
While I might sound harsh on Eric, my reason is simple — women should choose their husband and father to their kids with wisdom; choose a man who will not only participate in bedroom gymnastics but also provide, protect and stick around afterwards. Not that man who only know how to pump and dump.
Dirty and unsuitable
Eric Omondi’s character and judgment on why and how he does some of his things in the name of comedy has always remained controversial, synonymous to any celebrity who would do anything just to gain cheap publicity.
To give a valid example, a 2-minute video of Eric Omondi, went viral on social media of him swimming naked with minors in River Turkwel in Turkana, North-Western Kenya around February, 2018.
A few people found the video clip funny, majority were extremely offended calling out the comedian for being disrespectful, insensitive and impetuous, including the Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) boss Dr Ezekiel Mutua who threatened to sue the comedian.
Dr Mutua castigated Mr Omondi for posing nude with naked kids violating the KFCB classification guidelines. He stated that Mr Omondi’s video was an ‘illegal, bizarre and obscene comedy’ that violates the rights of children whom he claims were being exploited for money.
He added that he will pursue legal action against the comedian and urged the parents of the children to sue Omondi for the ‘gross abuse and indecent exposure of their kids.’
There can be no justifiable context to warrant such kind of indecent exposure and abuse of children’s rights. Such recorded video in the name of comedy not only violated the KFCB classification guidelines and the spirit of Cap 222, but it also breached the Children’s Act.
Recently, the self-proclaimed ‘Africa’s president of comedy’ has once again been at the center of storm with ‘moral policeman’ Dr Ezekiel Mutua who has repeatedly called for the arrest of Eric Omondi over his YouTube show “Wife Material.”
Through his social media handles, Dr Mutua accuses the comedian of running a ‘brothel’ in the guise of a mentorship program.
According to Dr Mutua, Omondi is committing a crime because the studio he opened (Big Tyme Entertainment) is used to exploit young girls and women. He called upon the Directorate of Criminal Investigations to look into the matter and have the comedian arrested.
“So there’s Corona but this fool has been kissing multiple girls and recording these videos in the name of comedy. Another morally bankrupt socialite is recording more videos teaching these young girls how to have sex with Omondi in the devilish mentorship program known as “Mombasa Raha (sic),” said Dr Mutua, who censors films, songs, and television adverts which feature sexualised content and same-sex relationships.
“The fact that women rights groups are quiet when this is happening and the police have not arrested the perpetrators of these obvious crimes is evidence of how low we have sunk as a society. By the time we get tired and stop condoning this nonsense the damage will be too bad to repair. The DCI should immediately move into that brothel in Lavington and arrest the criminals doing these things to our girls in the name of art!,” the moral cop added.
When famous and venerated celebrities make obscene jokes or create a platform that undermines girls and women — causing a roar of laughter and attention on social media, that’s when these funnymen actively experience the feeling of being cornered.
This laughter is not a harmless reaction to a clever statement, it is validation and recognition to whatever the comedian is saying or doing. It is a symbiotic relationship of passing validation as everybody in the room agrees on one thing at that point – the comedian simply knows he can make more and more such jokes later on; the audience feels they are not alone in their thoughts.
Putting that in the context of larger society, I feel scared. So does everybody, who can feel themselves being pushed into the corner each time jokes are being made at their expense.
Jokes start becoming offensive the moment they become degrading and instill fear and pain in the person who is being made fun of or exploited, directly and indirectly. Just read the degrading insults/comments below the videos Eric Omondi shares, you’ll feel so sorry to some of these girls.
One of the most prominent lines in a club banger song released about a decade ago by Kenyan music group P-Unit featuring DNA, titled ‘Una’, is “unaruka mkojo, unakanyaga mavi.” This can be loosely translated as — “you jump over a puddle of piss right into a pile of poop.”
Nothing can capture the current state of Kenyan comedy industry like this song. We, the people, jumped a whole ocean of piss, only to land face first in a sweltering sewer of sorts. It’s quite funny!
Never again. While I shudder to believe what the definition of “fun“ is to the people who laugh at jokes that exploit women and promote immorality and indecency among the young generation – never again!