The Malawi joke called Mr. Jokes

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It can easily be seen as another pull-him-down article. But this is a lamentation on the state of our arts industry, especially standup comedy.

For decades, Malawi has been used to the contagious kind of comedy, where more than one person act comedy on the stage.

It was [started and] popularized by the legendary Izeki and Jakobo duo. The laughter usually comes because the other member of the play is laughing and it ends up making the audience laugh as well.

But standup comedy is a whole new different setup. A comedian stands before the people, and all alone, makes jokes for the people to laugh.

Mr. Jokes

Mr. Jokes is a joke.

Let it be clearly stated that this is not such a simple task as the contagious one. In the latter, the audience is driven by the comedians while in the former one man has to take it upon himself to do it.

That is where the risk is, and more importantly, the talent is.

Malawi’s arts industry is a virgin land. What happens or has blossomed in other parts of the world is yet to happen here. There are huge gaps that have to be filled. This however should not evoke cynicism in those who would love to see the industry growing. There are little baby steps that are being observed and with time, there will be change and one day we will stand up shoulder-to-shoulder with the rest of the world.

But let us take time and reflect on the standup comedy part in Malawi. To this day, there is no standup comedian of repute in the Malawi industry. The face of the industry in Malawi is Andrea Thonyiwa, a man who trades by the name of Mr. Jokes. The name says it all that his life revolves around jokes. It is his trade.

A section of the Malawi society seems to have embraced him. He has been doing his comedy for years now. Apart from it, he is also a Master of Ceremonies for events like weddings.

He is a good public speaker and full of confidence when he is before them. But the quality of his said jokes leaves a lot to be desired.

They are not out of his creative mind, where a standup comedian links reality and amusement. All of his work is fiction. In other words, they are the kind of jokes people tell each other in social interactions. He repeats and commercializes them, worse enough, with no additional content and delivery.

It reflects in his career as well. For the years he has been around, he has not grown as in his trade. He seems to be a man of no vision and is satisfied with the few people he has captured into his circle. He has specialized in putting his standup comedy on DVDs and selling them at a cheap price in cities and towns. People are seen buying them. It is good news for his financial gain, but bad news for the standup comedy industry in Malawi.

Mr. Jokes has not taken himself to be the man most people would like to invite if they want to laugh. Elsewhere in the world, making people laugh is a big business. There are many reasons people would love to laugh. Two of them are to do away with the stress and let some reality sink into them in a casual way. When standup comedians joke on how bad their countries or their political leaders are, people laugh, and inside, reality sinks in concerning the kind of country they are in, for example.

In Malawi there are a lot of things that one can creatively make jokes on. In sports, our national team, the Flames, continues to be the punch bag of other teams and in politics, the President and his fellow politicians keeps on making blunders which one can use on the stage to make people laugh. But instead of taking it that way, making jokes out of what people already know, Mr. Jokes has chosen to fictionalize everything as if his audience is a primary school class.

It also tells much about the hunger of Malawians for standup comedy. Patronizing weak jokes from Mr. Jokes shows that if something of quality can come around it will receive overwhelming support. But Malawi has curved a reputation of being a mediocre consumer. Whenever something appears, having the characteristics of the original material, it is wholly embraced.

Perhaps the blame should not rest on the comedians alone. Politically, Malawi is still one of the risky nations. You cannot joke on a political leader and expect to get away with it. People passionately love their leaders and are always ready to insult or kill for them.

This also happens in football for example. If one jokes about a football team, its supporters will insult you for it.

Most people are yet to learn the behaviour of differentiating a joke from a reality. There are not many people who are ready to see someone joking about things close to their heart.

But to break it, there is a need for someone who is ready to stretch the society and push it to the new limits. Someone has to come in and take the industry to the new deep end. Unfortunately, Mr. Jokes has proved not to be that made.

He is not a joker. He is a joke. We need another messiah. For those who are moving towards the standup comedy in Malawi, come out and let people sample your work. Malawi needs you.

About the writer: Wonderful Mkhutche is a speech writer, a political scientist and a manuscript edit

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177 Comments

  1. A Malawi umbuli. Kuteloko sanamveko olo n’chimozi chomwe akuthandauza olemba nkhaniyo. Now here is the food your thought: Can Mr. Jokes get international recognition for his work? Can he bring home accolades? If your answer is ‘No’ then really we need someone unlike him.

  2. Brother there’s no any sense in your article, otherwise you’re just telling us that you’re jeaulousy of Jokes & you dont promote home industly. Leave Jokes for us.

  3. if you don’t understand the meaning of the headline then your English teacher didn’t go to school.
    Its just that the guy has used the same word Joke twice. Haven’t you heard someone saying ‘ this is a joke of a restaurant’ meaning its not fit to be a restaurant or the food is not good at all.

  4. if you don’t understand the meaning of the headline then your English teacher didn’t go to school.
    Its just that the guy has used the same word Joke twice. Haven’t you heard someone saying ‘ this is a joke of a restaurant’ meaning its not fit to be a restaurant or the food is not good at all.

  5. The advice is good thou kma ngati mr jokes amapanga ma jokes osabeba kwa iweyo go for international jokes enafe we are patriotic enough to support home grown talent…..the guy has to make money nso its not just about jokes…..malawi 24 sounds creative… hope your good jokes abwera posachedwa

  6. Kkkkkkkk kodi mumangotumiza musanapange check mwalemba kuti chani pamenepa kkkkkkk mistake inayi abale shame malawi joke called mr jokes kumangolemba chichewa sikuti mungachite manyazi olo azungu asamve nawo kusiyana ndi zomwe mwalembazo

  7. U realy ought to differentaite btwn a joke and comedy! They r different or else check ur Webster dictionary!

  8. In countries with developed arts industry they do reviews of new movies, songs, novels etc in which both positives and negatives are raised! Ngati artist wapala amanenelatu zimene kuno ku Malawi anthu ambiri amati ndi nsanje. Nthabwala za Mr Jokes ndi nthabwala zili pa whatsapp zoti wina aliyense atha kupanga. There is no originality as Ugandan, Nigerian, Kenyan comedians do!

  9. m’malawi kwake ndi kunyoza ndi nsanje ngati munthu walakwisa bwanji kumuyitani pambira ndikumuza sinangandiyinu oziwa ndi anzeru kwambiri

  10. Why not call and teach him ur techniques rather than wasting ur time writing ten pages article as if u heard we are the advisers of mr jokes. Palibe chachilendo atianene zandale, zampira, etc Izeki ndi Jacob ananenapo kale. Why not upgrade ur news for the rest of the world to comment on ur article page coz ndife amalawi tokha timathila ndemanga chonsecho u write in english .Clear what is in ur eye first b4 someones eye

  11. Why not call and teach him ur techniques rather than wasting ur time writing ten pages article as if u heard we are the advisers of mr jokes. Palibe chachilendo atianene zandale, zampira, etc Izeki ndi Jacob ananenapo kale. Why not upgrade ur news for the rest of the world to comment on ur article page coz ndife amalawi tokha timathila ndemanga chonsecho u write in english .Clear what is in ur eye first b4 someones eye

  12. English ili bo. Wonderful akuti, munthu woseketsa (not that he is funny but he is laughable) otchedwa Mr. Jokes. I hope mwadziwa izo amafuna kunena. Tsano, ndinene kuti Mr. Joke anyozedwa kwambiri ndiye afunika kuwapepesa ndi nkhuku zoyera zinayi.

  13. Mmh that is serious brother,cool down you are taking this issue too far. Chilipo munayambana iwe ndi Mr Jokes. If your concern is genuine why have you failed to advise him through other media? A Mr Wonderful Mkhutche osaziona simple nzokhwitima zinthuzi.

  14. Mmh that is serious brother,cool down you are taking this issue too far. Chilipo munayambana iwe ndi Mr Jokes. If your concern is genuine why have you failed to advise him through other media? A Mr Wonderful Mkhutche osaziona simple nzokhwitima zinthuzi.

  15. Malawi joke called Mr jokes = Nthabwala yamalawi yotchedwa Bambo Nthabwala…

    Amalawi24 mukuchitisa manyazi dziko lathu!!…even a std8 pupil can’t write dc english of poor grammar!!

  16. Mr jokes amangobwereza zoti ena ananena kale komanso akuyenera kuti ayesese zina zizikhala in english kuti azitha kutuluka kupita kunja kukapanga commedy thats all i can say

    • Aah man people are just criticising for nothing this is just plain and simple english and if they could just open up the link and read the article they will get the meaning of the headline.

    • Aah man people are just criticising for nothing this is just plain and simple english and if they could just open up the link and read the article they will get the meaning of the headline.

    • The problem with people here they are trying to translate this headline literary… Thats where they are missing the point! Malawi joke called Mr Jokes,, simply meaning that Mr Joke is not an accomplished stand up comedian. His jokes aren’t up to standard. So him being a Malawian stand up comedian, he is a JOKE himself together with the whole malawi stand up comedy fraternity

    • The problem with people here they are trying to translate this headline literary… Thats where they are missing the point! Malawi joke called Mr Jokes,, simply meaning that Mr Joke is not an accomplished stand up comedian. His jokes aren’t up to standard. So him being a Malawian stand up comedian, he is a JOKE himself together with the whole malawi stand up comedy fraternity

  17. Hie malawi24, am happy to join ur team eventhough my english is also bad bt i can try my best ! bcz i drop out in standard 8 bt am willing to deliver the best people expect to hear! Looking forward to working with you!

  18. eeeeehhhh!!!! Koma2 inuu,, mufuna mun2 azipanga zofuna zainu aah?? Ngat zomwe akpanga iyeyo szikuksangalatsan, nde osangoyambitsa zanu bwa??? Kufuna kutchukaaaa,,,, kapena chan….. Kungozolowela kuphweketsa madhilu a anzanu bwa!!! And again y do u want 2 politicize jst evrything??? Samukilan ku BURUNDI if u see dat malawi doesnt fit u !!!! NOSENSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  19. Jokes ndimuthumodzi yemwe ali wanzeru kuposa enawa zomwe amanenazija amaganizayekha palibe muthu yemwe amasangalasa amaliwi ngati jokes ngakhale ku south africa pafupi winaliyese disic yake alinayo ndinasiya kuwonera zinazi zaziiiiiiii

  20. I sooo admire it, because itz an uncompromising comic attitude and setting thatz really admireble.”whats wrong with the arts industry? if u won’t lough his jokes let us lough .. why aint u concetrate with someone’s skill, dont u knw how Rowan Atkinson (mr bean) was acting in his scenes??? ha ha! i think u are joking too..

  21. I sooo admire it, because itz an uncompromising comic attitude and setting thatz really admireble.”whats wrong with the arts industry? if u won’t lough his jokes let us lough .. why aint u concetrate with someone’s skill, dont u knw how Rowan Atkinson (mr bean) was acting in his scenes??? ha ha! i think u are joking too..

  22. If U Beging Wth Wrong Statement Then Wat U Write Is Nt True..Kkkk Malawi Joke Called Mr Joke… Light Travel In Straight Line But Why It Bend ?

  23. If U Beging Wth Wrong Statement Then Wat U Write Is Nt True..Kkkk Malawi Joke Called Mr Joke… Light Travel In Straight Line But Why It Bend ?

  24. Nkhani iyi ndiyofunika anthu ophunzira omwe ali ndi nzeru ndiomwe angamve zomwe zalembedwa. Koma ambirife mmmmmm kaya! Palinso za nsanje apa?

  25. Nkhani iyi ndiyofunika anthu ophunzira omwe ali ndi nzeru ndiomwe angamve zomwe zalembedwa. Koma ambirife mmmmmm kaya! Palinso za nsanje apa?

  26. Iyi ndiye chinese news online2,aa guys lets be serious sometimes, malawi joke called mr Jokes whats that?kkkkk or mlendo angatinyoze bwanji ndi english ngati imeneyi osangolemba chichewa bwanji.

  27. Iyi ndiye chinese news online2,aa guys lets be serious sometimes, malawi joke called mr Jokes whats that?kkkkk or mlendo angatinyoze bwanji ndi english ngati imeneyi osangolemba chichewa bwanji.

  28. where have been u investigative author writing only the mistakes intead of directing him where the remedy is found?
    Andreya has done what he knows best indeed because skills differ according to our inborn talent.

  29. I think anthu ena sitifuna kupanga appriciate zomwe anzathu achita. If we want to bring new ideas into the industry why can’t we consult them or join them if we have the talent instead of criticising for the sake of criticising.

  30. Thats Malawi 24 i know.Alwez gud @ picking holes in what some1 iz doing.If u r genius why cant u come up with ur own jokes.Kungophwekesa ngini ya anzanu paliponse.

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