Whilst it is public knowledge that material which exudes the rich African culture in genres such as music, film and nowadays fashion, sells easily in foreign lands, who knew that the same is true for comedy?
In an exclusive interview with Zimpapers Television Network (ZTN), US-based comedian, Alfred Kainga revealed that he managed to get recognition in America simply because of his unique cultural background.
“I am proud to be African and I bring that out whenever I am performing in America,” he says.
“A lot of people do not know much about Africa so when I jump on stage I start telling people stories about the continent.”
The comedian who says his style of comedy is called “America to Zimbabwe” (A-Z) revealed that he sees himself as a teacher whenever he is performing.
“I basically become a teacher whenever I am in action as I educate my audience through laughter. There is a lot to share about the rich African heritage and I have realised that my audiences are always thirsty to drink from my well of knowledge,” Kainga says.
He also reveals how he ended up in America and the journey to being a comedian.
“I wanted to go and live in South Africa but my mother refused. She told me I was going to America for school. I obliged and I found myself in the US.
“In my early days in America, the love for comedy began to grow in me and I actually realised I could make a living off it,” he shared with ZTN.
Kainga highlighted that he continued developing his comedy career as he went to school. Fast forward to 2019, close to a decade and a half later he is now one of the most recognised and promising comedians in America.
He also shared how renowned comedian, Kevin Hart has played major role in shaping his career.
“Kevin is one short man with a big heart,” says Kainga laughing.
“For someone at his level, selling-out 60 000 seater venues, I would not expect him to be assisting someone like me but that is the man he is. He gave us, budding comedians the opportunity to go on TV because he believed in us.”
The comedian’s career has grown by leaps and bounds.
“I started right from the bottom to get to where I am today. I used to perform at open mic sessions and I would perform as late as 1 or 2 am. This was because there were 50 other comedians ahead of me waiting to perform and I had to wait,” he says.
“I learnt to persevere and got to understand that this was not a race but a journey. At times I would go for months without getting bookings. But, as the name grew I also started getting busier by each month till now when I am able to tour in different nations on the globe.”