Klint The Drunk is a comedian from Nigeria who was in the country recently for Comedy Live (April 30th ’16). Caught up with him to have a rather lengthy and rather serious (the irony) discussion about a couple of things.
Question: How did you get into comedy?
Klint Da Drunk: I’ve always loved seeing people happy from when I was small (young) so I can say it’s been in me. It’s a talent I had so I had no choice.
Q: It’s one of those things you just find yourself doing (Yeah)… What was your first official performance ever?
KDD: First official? (Yes) Not the first time I was on stage? That was in 2000, in Port Harcourt when Opa Williams was doing Night of A Thousand Laughs. His partner Yeba Koko knew who I was but Opa didn’t know me and he brought me in cuz I used to perform in bars… he (Yeba) was like put this guy in. Opa said he’d never seen me so he was unwilling to put me on the list. The guy (Yeba) was willing to pull out of the event just so I could get on stage but after a little deliberation Opa agreed to let me perform but gave me only five minutes. When I went backstage I told the other comedians to throw words at me because I used to do that a lot and they refused, said I would not succeed. When he called me on stage I just put all the anger, hate, frustration, all the love, everything into my act… 5 minutes after I was on stage people were laughing and cheering. When I turned and looked at Opa he was in tears and laughing so hard and told me to continue. It was bad to the extent when I got off stage other comedians didn’t want to continue. Or should I say good? You know in Nigeria bad is good and good is good…
Q: So would we say that performance was a game changer for you?
KDD: Yeah, that performance was a game changer.
Q: So from there what happens? What’s Klint’s life like?
KDD: After that he started using me in Abuja, Lagos and people got to know who I am. Then after that there was another one in Port Harcourt and I went there and begged them to get on stage, they allowed me and at that time I was still a street person so they took me in and that’s how I started.
Q: What happens when you’re on stage and people look at you like, “We didn’t get that… ”
KDD: You’re a comedian. The worst thing that can happen to you is you trying to explain your joke. The best thing is to either move on or you find a way to link that joke with another one that is kind of similar or a continuation cuz if you don’t you will choke and you will lose a lot of things; not just jobs but your credibility as a comedian… You will lose your face… I’m not saying I haven’t had bad days, sometimes you’re just not in your element. For that you need to have some back up jokes that have worked everywhere so you use that and once you get people laughing, exit.
Q: Has freestyling gotten better for you? Would you say?
KDD: Yeah… with years of experience you learn some little tips and tricks.
Q: Okay, let’s talk X-rated jokes cuz it’s kinda risky cuz you don’t know how the crowd will take it…
KDD: In places like America such jokes are accepted but Africa, not really. There’s one thing I know about Africa. We love them jokes, right? But we don’t like it when it’s told because we don’t like someone saying it as it is so the best thing to do is code it. Once you code it, everyone loves it! It’s funnier that way.
Q: Would you say in Kenya… No, not in Kenya, in Africa people shy away from X-rated jokes because of the culture or not being exposed to them?
KDD: No, not just because of the culture because let’s face it, no matter where you go people still like it. However, corporates don’t like to associate themselves with such things and they’re the ones who really pay. Most shows are backed by corporate and the government so you have to find a way to soften it or just do clean jokes.
Q: How did you come up with the persona, Klint The Drunk?
KDD: We used to have a caretaker in my village who was a habitual drinker. I used to watch him and go to the mirror, practice what he was doing and I didn’t know that I was preparing myself for something bigger. I tried it out once and it worked, again and again… My name is Klint and I act out as a drunk so Klint The Drunk.
Q: Does it ever get exhausting for you, being in that state?
KDD: The day my act gets exhausting is the day we stop seeing drunks in the world. Obviously if I keep performing people will get used to it and get bored so I perform for a while then withdraw… Let people miss the act, then bring it back to them. I can’t change my act but I can add a couple more, something I’m planning to do in the near future.
Q: Which takes me to the next question. Where do you get your material?
KDD: From the world… There’s no day you don’t get to see someone high on alcohol. Why I do this drunk act with passion is because I want people to see how stupid they are when they’re drunk. This is you, when you get drunk…
Q: How do you deal with constant interruption? You have a point to make but this person in the audience keeps interrupting you…
KDD: You use the person. You can forget what you were going to say and utilise the person to make the show worth the while. In every business there are obstacles.
Q: What happens when you make fun of somebody in the crowd and they take it personally?
KDD: First of all there’s a difference between insults and taking a piss on someone… You have to read your crowd. Like for me, I’d start with myself, really bring myself down then when the person is laughing you start on them… It’s called a soft landing.
Q: You’ve been to Nairobi a couple of times, what is it about Nairobi you can’t stand? Probably the audience…how people take your jokes as compared to Nigeria?
KDD: No, no, no, you have a beautiful audience. Only thing I don’t like about Nairobi is you don’t appreciate your artists and it affects me as a person because if you don’t value your own artists and you value us maybe the day you take me as one of your own you will stop valuing me. I’m afraid of it. Nobody will value your artists for you. Your actors, actresses, entertainment industry you need to value them.
Q: What African comedians do you absolutely love and what international ones would you probably love to perform with?
KDD: African comedians, we have Trevor Noah, I love that guy. Patrick Salvador is wonderful. I met Dr. Ofweneke and Oga Obinna, those guys are wonderful! They are good…
Q: Before we continue I need to know what your thoughts are on… These are Kenyan acts trying to sell that Nigerian should I call it act or persona?
KDD: It doesn’t really matter because we have many Nigerian comedians trying to sell the American act, Ugandans doing Nigerian things and South Africans doing the Kenyan thing… There was a comedian in the US who actually said he came to Kenya and he was trying to learn the Kenyan accent. You know? So it’s okay. It’s acceptable everywhere…
So I’ve met Funny Face in Ghana, lovely guy…there are lots of them.
Then in America I love Kevin Hart! If I could get a chance to be on the same stage with that guy I wouldn’t even crack a joke. I love Chris Rock too, Dave Chappelle, do you know Russell Peters? (Of course!) I need his phone number (laughs) and Jeff Dunham.
Q: Being a woman in the entertainment industry is quite hard because it’s very male dominated… Why do you think it’s so much harder for women?
KDD: I’ve seen a bunch of comedians in the UK… I don’t know what I’d say about it… You know they’re not as out there as the male comedians. You understand? I would love to tell them something… Do whatever it takes to be out there. (Not the wrong things though). We need you all out there to inspire the future generation…
Joan Rivers was a comedian, this lady was a comedian, still is, Ellen! She’s in a category of her own. Like the goddess of comedy…
Q: Wouldn’t you say that the reason it’s harder for females to make it in the entertainment industry is because also, the industry is highly hypersexualized?
KDD: No because hear this thought. If there were a thousand entertainers here, how many do you think will be male?
(I think the males will be more)Yes, you know why? Most ladies are shy and don’t wanna bring out their entertainment side. They have the talent, especially in Africa, a lady wants to be known as many other things and then down the line that’s when you get entertainment. Only a few want to be known as entertainers. Those are the ones who move forward.
A guy could study medicine and they’ll drop it for comedy, music or something else but a lady will stick to it. You need to have that boldness to come out. The bolder the women are, the better for the industry.