Dr Jimmy Spire Ssentongo has taken his Afrigo-Band-style Comedy online after thrilling viewers at his first stand-up comedy special a few months ago.
Spire pulled crowds at the National Theatre in Kampala when he hosted his first-ever stand-up comedy dubbed “This Country Laughs Alot” on March 24.
The renowned cartoonist and academician shed his skin to share humour with hundreds of viewers who for years enjoyed his cartoons and columns in the Observer newspaper or read his work as a published scholar from Makerere University.
Spire’s comedy style embraces all ages and allows for family viewing without fear of the use of inappropriate language that discriminates against the young or otherwise. His style espouses originality and addresses issues that affect people in society.
Dr Yusuf Serunkuma, a social theorist from Makerere University likens Spire’s style to the legendary Afrigo Band. “Spire is such a wonderful comedian and his style could be likened to being Afrigo Band if he were a singer,” Serunkuma shared his views about Spire.
In his performance, Spire tackles issues of accountability and good governance that ordinary folks who interact with government systems experience on a daily. He brings humor to serious issues, presenting them in a simple understandable manner that resonates with both the high and low in society.
His show unlike many first-time performers sold out tickets and attracted politicians several of whom were eager to find out if the soft-speaking Spire was really funny. For many, he made the night count. Spire says that since the show, he has received numerous requests from people who couldn’t attend his stand-up special at the National Theatre to have the production online.
The online viewing started on September 9, 2023. The show can be accessed on ticteq.com, a website where a link is provided. When one clicks on the show’s link, they are guided to payment options, and after payment — mostly via Mobile Money — they are given a link and code.
A viewer can then open the link and insert the code. A single code enables three times of uninterrupted viewing, which means, that if one inserts it one time and watches the show to the end, it can be given to two other friends who can also watch it the same way. But if the watcher is often interrupted, the code can only be reused twice.
Spire says that online platforms have become popular as tools for people to air their views and hold discussions on the different happenings in society and as such can’t be Ignored. They have gained popularity among the elite who use them to demand accountability from public officials and make an attempt at setting the public agenda.
Online platforms provide an opportunity for users to access content from places of their comfort when they want to. Spire, however, says that these should not be taken as a replacement for other forms of expression. As such, he argues, content should be generated and shared in theatres and through other channels of communication.
The show is produced by Theatre Factory’s Richard Tuwangye.