It’s a dry spell as sponsors snub ‘Kings of Comedy’

Friday November 29 2013

Members of Kings of Comedy group; below, left: Kenya’s Fred Omondi performs; below, right: Anne Kansiime from Uganda entertains the audience during a comedy show in Kigali. Photo/Cyril Ndegeya

Differences among event organisers, limited sponsors and high fees charged by artistes are to blame for delays in another edition of Kings of Comedy.

After two successful events, which improved the profile of the comedy industry in the country, the Kings of Comedy organisers are grappling with three major problems that made it difficult for another show as listed in the event’s calendar.

The inaugural Kings of Comedy event was held in March this year during which popular artistes among them, Anne Kansiime, Patrick “Salvador” Idringi from Uganda, Kenya’s Eric Omondi, David Ndahiro aka PK featured.

On the same day, comedy pioneers in Rwanda, the Comedy Knights held a show at Ishyo Arts Centre. In June, Kings of Comedy organisers partnered with MTN and staged two big shows and another one was expected two months later.

However, the organisers failed to hold the next event after it emerged that they had delayed in remitting proceeds from ticket sales, leading to sour relations with MTN. The cost of tickets were inclusive of airtime and MTN was supposed to recover airtime sales from the event organisers.

Eric Mugisha of Glam Investments and his partner George Agaba of Georgetown Entertainment remitted proceeds from ticket sales, which MTN was entitled to, two weeks after the show. MTN sponsored the show alongside Nakumatt supermaket. The tickets were sold by Nakumatt.


According to the deal, tickets cost Rwf15,000 and Rwf5,000 for VIP and ordinary stands respectively inclusive of airtime. VIP and ordinary ticket holders were entitled to airtime worth Rwf1,500 and Rwf1,000 respectively.

Next year event

However, Mugisha told Rwanda Today that the event organisers honoured the agreement and the next show will be held next year.

According to the event’s calendar, the event was supposed to be held after every two months in Kigali, but Mugisha said it was reviewed due to cost implications.

“I can’t believe those allegations. I am operating legally, so whoever was not satisfied with the share I gave him, can go on and sue me. What I know is that, I did my part and I am in good relationship with my sponsors.”

“My sponsors like MTN may come on board during my next show,” said Mugisha.

Thorough discussions

According to Alain Numa, head of events and promotions, MTN is reconsidering its co-operation with the comedy show organisers. However, he said the company would sponsor future events after thorough discussions with organisers.
In November, MTN sponsored the unveiling of Arthur Nkusi.

“The show is going nowhere, but we thought we needed to rethink how we had planned it because. It would be quite hard to maintain big turn ups after every two months,” Mugisha said.

“This is also a very expensive project to sustain for a period of 60 days,” he added, saying he decided to review the calendar to have it held twice a year.

He further said hiring experienced and popular comedians to attract the Kigali audience was quiet expensive to sustain in just two months.

Appearance fee

He pointed out that bringing a comedian like Churchill from Kenya would require not less than Rwf3 million while hiring Basket Mouth won’t go below $15, 000.

However, some companies say they are willing to support such events but a big number of them do not honour agreements signed prior to the show. Mugisha said that if sponsors meet their obligations, then at least 50 per cent of their budget would be met by the companies.

He further said when MTN came on board in last Kings of Comedy show, the organisers saved up to $15, 000 from the budget, though he was non committal on why the company was reluctant to sponsor the next event.

He said that the minimum cost of hosting such event would go up to Rwf10 million, in addition to difficult task of pulling large audience after every two months.

The entry of Kings of Comedy into the industry was expected to spark off rivalry with the pioneers of comedy in Rwanda — Comedy Knights. However organisers of the two events said it was a development that would improve profile of the industry.

During the Comedy a recent show organised by Nkusi, who is also one of the Comedy Knights founders, comedy lovers parted with Rwf5,000 and filled up the Kigali Serena Hotel auditorium.

Talented artistes

Nkusi said there are a lot of talented comedians in Rwanda but lack of investment and sponsorship has rendered the comedy industry less lucrative.

“I cannot blame my fellow comedy show organisers, but sponsors. These people confirm your sponsorship too late, like four days to the event. Also, in case they accept to sponsor you, then most of them will make payments months after the show.

“In addition, they asking for a bigger share from the event yet they put little role. This is embarrassing because they don’t take us as suppliers but sidekicks,” he said.