Uganda’s emerging standup comedian Patrick Idringi aka Salvado has taken East Africa’s entertainment scene by storm.
His recent one-man show, dubbed “Salvado: A Man From Ombokolo,” gave the industry a taste of who he is.
Salvado’s decision to quit his job as a telecommunications engineer may bewilder many but he has no regret about it. The comedian has often claimed that he was not making “serious” (read much) money by being serious and so had to shift his energies to what he loves most: Making people laugh.
“I loved engineering in the first place because it involved one thinking and going outside the box in a more practical way,” said Salvado. “But back home in Uganda, I realised that things were different since it involved me sitting in front of the computer, which I found boring.”
Salvado added that he found comedy art more challenging as it requires one to be inventive and creative. He said it slightly resembles engineering but is fun and more practical.
His early years in comedy was a period of great trial. In 2010, while an engineer at MTN, one of the biggest telecommunication companies in Uganda, he would go on stage after work and entertain the small crowds which usually gathered at Effendys Bar, then a very popular spot in Kampala. This eventually became his full-time job.
Salvado has grown from entertaining in bars, theatres, acting in films and performing at corporate events to being the main attraction at international festivals, making him one of the top-selling brands on the region’s stand-up comedy scene.
He now has a full-time technical team which oversees his work, something he believes matters a lot in business.
His recent concert, which he held at Hotel Portofino in Kigali, was his first of the kind in Rwanda and an extension of the sold-out show he held at the Kampala Serena on June 2 last year. The Rwanda tour on January 16 saw him stage a two-hour live performance.
“It was a testimony of my maturity in the industry,” he said.
The comedian’s lines mainly revolve on his journey from Ombokolo, his hometown in Uganda, to his experience outside the country. He takes his audience through a humorous “tour” of Ugandan, Rwandan, Nigerian, Kenyan and South African lifestyles from various funny angles, which his audiences quite relate to as they feel engaged to them.
Through English, his major medium, he crafts experiences to laughter, not only as a comedian but ushering in a touch of theatre that blends into various acts.
Salvado has been invited to perform in Kenya in April and in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, later in the year.
His most recent mega experiences included the performance at Comedy Central in Johannesburg, South Africa last year.
From November 26 to December 5, he performed at a concert in Johannesburg, South Africa, alongside more than 30 African and international stand-up comedy acts such as Kenya’s Churchill, Bright Okpocha alias Basket Mouth (Nigeria) and South Africa’s Trevor Noah, David Carl and Ndumiso Lindi. Others included Jeff Ross from the United States, Daliso Ochaponda (Malawi).
He has toured African countries such as Kenya, Nigeria, Mauritius and Malawi and abroad in the US and Europe.
Salvado however laments the society’s poor perception of comedy, which he said is a barrier to the industry in Africa. Citing poor payment as evidence of this attitude, he asked comedians to unite so as to earn more from their work.
“At most concerts, comedians are the core of the show since they require no much technicalities prior to performing compared to other arts and can easily fit in and hold an audience, but they are less valued when it comes to payment,” he said.
He nonetheless sees huge opportunities for the African comedian, saying: “We have a lot of original stories to tell and can relate to diverse environments compared to other continents.”
Salvado is organising a number of major comedy shows this year. In June, he will perform alongside Basket Mouth in a tour that will start in Kampala and go on to Kigali the same month and then Kenya and finally South Sudan.