Some consider him one of the funniest men in the country, and ever since his debut on ‘Churchill Live’, Eric Omondi has arguably become the most sought after male comedian.
Although some critics think his best days are over, Eric tells Sylvania Ambani why he’s still the man to tickle your funny bone.
Asking me ‘why comedy?’ is like asking Usain Bolt why he runs.
I didn’t choose comedy, it chose me, and so far I like it as it is a God given talent. I enjoy doing comedy and I don’t struggle while on stage.
What did you study at the university?
I did Mass Communication at Daystar University and I started out as a story teller on NTV’s Generation 3.
I wanted to become a reporter so I went out of my way and did a story that went on air about the Kabaka in Uganda.
Unfortunately, I was told my voice wasn’t good enough for reporting — imagine that. Coincidentally, as I was told to stop reporting, I met Churchill and it was just when Churchill Live was about to go on air.
The rest, as they say, is history.
How did it feel the first time you did your first skit or act?
It was traumatising. Nobody knew me, even Churchill didn’t know my name and while he was introducing me on stage I had to remind him my name.
When I came out people thought that I had so many problems because I was thinner than I am right now. But I thank God that my first joke was very successful and people were laughing.
That was the ice-breaker that helped me to become who I am today.
What rituals do you do before going on stage?
I am always a nervous wreck: I walk, sit and squat. I just can’t stay in one place. It gets worse as the time draws near to my performance and it has been happening to me for the past five years.
Churchill is even worse, he looks like a mad man. But once I get on stage the fear just disappears and I feel right at home.
How was your life before comedy?
I grew up in Kisumu and came to Nairobi for the first time in 2004 to join university.
If it was not for Daystar I never would have come to Nairobi. I am the second born of four siblings, but grew up in a very big family.
We were 19 children in the house, including my step brothers and step sisters and I was the tiniest and weakest one.
It was survival for the fittest and I have told that story so many times in my jokes.
Do you see yourself doing comedy for life?
Why not? I would love to do comedy for as long as I can.
Although it is a very new avenue in Kenya, especially standup comedy, I think it is steadily growing and more people are getting interested with it.
Any challenges you might have faced?
I thank God I have had few challenges during my journey. But the biggest challenge I have to date is people asking me on the street to make them laugh.
Someone just comes up to you and says ‘Eric tuchekeshe’ — that thing is so overrated, and it doesn’t work like that.
Are you single, married or gay?
Why gay? By the way let me just tell you I am not gay and no African man should be allowed to be. It’s ungodly and alien.