Review: Popular But Broke… A Timeline Of Events As They Happened

It looked a bit over-ambitious right from the onset but for a young man who has dreams of selling out the Madison Square Gardens in the next few years, selling out the National Theatre for the maiden edition of Popular But Broke Special was not an insurmountable task.

Below, Eben Ace shares a review of the much talked about comedy event headlined by OB Amponsah.

REVIEW

To begin with, anyone who says Ghanaian comedy is dead is late to the party of being current. 

The line-up for the Accra version of Popular But Broke slated for Saturday, December 11, 2021, was evidence of the expectations and comic fireworks. The show started off with two MC’s: the female MC (yet to recall her name) breaking the ice before the much-loved comedy sensation, Clemento Suarez made a loud entry. 

Clemento Suarez didn’t disappoint with introductory funny acts here and there to prepare the ‘slaughter house’ for the incoming comic execution. 

Id James Brown, first act for the night lit the fire with his jokes on Christmas Carol: How the lyrics of some of these songs have no relationship to our geographical and cultural setting (with respect to Ghana). His joke on why Ghanaians don’t win medals at the Olympics was funny. He suggested we made the hawkers represent the country: At the beginning of the race, a person would just buy their item and that would fuel their “horsepower” to run the race. 

Ashaiman Chris Brown, a.k.a Ranzy Ray took the baton and fired it up more. I never knew Ashiaman people loved Stonebwoy that much that they could accord credit of any song to him. Hahaha. “Bhim!”, one could literary sound whilst listening to an Akon song, he asserted. The joke on GPS asking you to inquire of directions from someone when you find yourself in the Ashiaman vicinity cracked ribs. But the Tea bread joke with his father crowned it all for me. 

To make an audience loud and vibe with your jokes is an expensive act. He entered as the third act, asked the audience to respond ‘yeeye (in agreement) or ‘apuu (in disagreement) with his assertion, and that was a good move to begin his time with. His ‘love is blind joke’, the beautiful naming of restaurants in elite locations like East Legon, and the tongue-biting names of restaurants in other places like Kasoa and Lapaz got me cracking up. And it is no other comedian than Tee Kay. 

Jerry Jerry Ashinyo took his turn, and amid the little technical hitch with the microphone, manoeuvred to get the people to laugh, sharing intermittent dance moves whilst waiting for a change of Mic. In this hard economy, Jerry claimed he had been feeding on free spiritual food served in his dream till the hardship entered the spiritual realm, only for him to be given a spiritual Bill recently after eating in his dream. A good comedian makes a joke as events unfold: Someone’s baby was crying, and the baby asked that parent put the baby on silent mode. That was a smart one.  

Kojo PJay took over with the joke on how our communal form of greeting is the cause of COVID-19’s fast spread. That was educative and funny in addition. And oh, to say, a joke on running stomach always triggers my experience. I felt it when he said it is only a running stomach that puts you in three positions at the same time: hotness, coldness, and humility. The humility stands out for me. Running stomach is like the law— no respecter of anybody.  

Oh-Joo Sammie Madjitey was next in line to raise the bar higher as the show climbed peaks after peaks after each comedian. I repeat, Ghana comedy is not dead. He landed a good joke on using OB Amponsah’s residence to win the heart of a lady, as his “own self-acclaimed house”. This reminds me of some epistles of some guys doing the same. Okay, let me keep quiet. His tailor sewing a “fly” dress which looked like a half-winged bird was a funny appearance.  

A musical interlude followed. The singer ShugaLord delivered pretty well. He got the crowd up with the falling and rising tempos of the songs he served with the band. The voice was pleasing to listen to. And then, Suarez came in with a rap to end the session with the band.  

At this point, the audience was on cloud nine. Lekzy Demonic (Ei, –de comic) took the stage to add more fire. It was my first time sitting under his jokes because they were up up up there, opposite to his height. 

Chaley, the guy is good. The joke on how simple American entertainment programs are organised but most Ghanaian award shows are full of lengthened drama and display was a good one. The Funny Face side made it for me. That of massage by rich people and the poor, was funny, as well as the purchasing behaviour of the two-class of people. I don’t know where I find myself, rich or poor, but I reply “Boi!” after asking for the price of expensive items as Lekzy says poor people do. 

The legendary Fritz Baffour graced the occasion. A standing ovation welcomed him to deliver his share of jokes for the night. His jokes took rounds from a Lebanese and Ghanaian commentator back in the day and aggressive Nigerian commentators. It changed gear to the Prempeh College joke, and the funniest of all, a police Sergeant narrating an accident to a superior. Man, jokes are ageless.  

Kwabena Kwabena! He wasn’t introduced. He didn’t need one. The appearance of a legend speaks much for itself than anyone can. Back to back, he fired the show up with his songs, from “Odo me ni wo a“, “Pretty lady“, “Asor” etc. Asor got the masses on their feet. A good old wine sure never gets old after all. The crowd took over the second verse and sang it loud while Kwabena listened, amazed and intermittently joined to sing. His drummer: the guy is epic. In fact, the whole set of instrumentalists and backing vocalists got their right hit, strike, and notes on point as the sharps and majors. His presence was indeed felt.  

And then, to the man of the night, OB Amponsah. The spoken word poetry entry by Akambo was amazing. Such an entry to be proud of as a poet myself.

OB started off with a notice on the kind of sensitive and adult-rated jokes he had in stock. You didn’t need to be told when it began with the president getting shocked by the fuel prices displayed at a fuel station during one of his rounds. Ha! Then, the Serwaa Broni joke, ministers and side chicks.

Well, he cautioned everyone to buckle up in the beginning. We entered the political side with the NDC, and then COVID. The joke on a female friend cooking beans and egg, farting after eating to check if she had her sense of smell intact amid COVID was funny.

He really piled up the jokes with epic delivery and switch from one joke to another. The joke on one Skido who made excuses for not attending his show made my night. The act where he spoke to Skido on the phone and Skido spoke the excuses as he always had, same as OB had earlier mentioned, was top notch.

OB is an astute comedian. What else do you expect from an Optometrist: you can’t see his spectacular joke coming till they draw nigh (pun intended). 

Chaley, “Popular But Broke” lived up to its expectations.

Ghanaian comedy is still on the rise and I must commend all the young acts that took the stage to make the masses laugh. There was indeed value for money. I’m more than impressed by the new acts I’m seeing for the first time.

The attendance was massive. Seeing entertainers like Van Vicker flying all the way from a film set in Tanzania to come to watch, Kofi Kinaata, Socrate Safo, and a stream of dignitaries, friends, and lovers of comedy sets me to believe that comedy is not dead here.

Maybe people’s sense of humour may be numb, but Ghanaian comedy is alive.  

Kudos to OB, the planning team, every dime and idea that pushed this dream. Up we move. 

About The Author

Ebenezer Ace is a writer, poet and spoken word artiste.

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