By Prudence Minayo
Flaqo Raz (born on 25 December) is many things in one-funny, creative, versatile and different. He is the first comedian in Kenya to play different characters and bring the best out of each. The funnyman started out as mama Otis-a non-nonsense mother who gave his son Otis sleepless nights for any real or perceived wrongs. He went on to build other equally interesting characters like Akoth, Bakari and baba Otis.
Here is the story of Flaqo, the singer, scriptwriter, dancer and comedian.
His real name is Erastus Ayieko Otieno and he was born in Agha Khan Hospital on Christmas day.
The entertainer went to Xaverian Primary School- one of the oldest day schools in the country. He then proceeded to St. Mary’s High School before joining Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University where he graduated with a degree in Public Health in 2018. Back in Primary school, he was a serious learner who didn’t want anyone messing with his zeal
for education. Nobody would have thought he had a sense of humor.
After high school, he moved out of his parents house to try and discover life. Then, he tried his hand in music but the industry was so flooded that he gave up. R&B was his preferred music style and August Alsina was his inspiration. After feeling like his music wasn’t going anywhere, he decided to focus on comedy. He found out most Kenyans love things they can relate with and decided to do relatable content.
Journey to Fame
During his earlier days, he reached out to many celebrities but was ignored. Raz then decided to venture out on his own. The video that escalated his fame was when he did celebrity impressions of Khaligraph Jones and Bahati. The clip was so on point and hilarious he ended up earning 10k Instagram followers in just two days.
After doing celebrity impressions, he decided to slowly introduce other characters like, Mama Otis, Baba Otis, Bakari and Otis. He plays all the characters so effortlessly. Bakari is the dancer while the other three character symbolize how African parents relate with their children. Mama Otis; character inspiration came from his mother who was very sceptic about his comedy at first. The character also reminds many fans of how most African mothers behave.
At first, people in his area around Kisumu thought he was crazy after uploading a “Mama Otis” video. The comedian then took a break and watched online videos about video editing. The content creator also got mistaken for being rich soon after his video went viral. Most
Kenyans equate fame to money. This is the reason most famous people live a fake life. He would board a matatu or eat in a Kibanda and people would be like “Why are you doing this, aren’t you rich?” This put a lot of pressure on him that he started googling people that were once broke and famous. Trying to ascertain whether he was the only one. He had to go back home to Kisumu after staying in Nairobi for a while because it just wasn’t working. Later, he realized that it doesn’t matter what people think.
Brand endorsements didn’t come as quickly as he expected. Despite having a fast growing
channel, brands weren’t approaching him leading him to believe he was cursed. Fellow
comedians like Mulamwah, Crazy Kennar and Brenda Jones seemed to be making it while he remained at the same place. At one point Brenda Jones reached out to encourage him telling him when the time comes his phone will be ringing off the hook. True to her word, it started happening and offers came in one after the other. Popular brands he has worked for include: Samsung, and Airtel.
Flaqo Raz is humble and very funny. He even laughs at his own jokes. The fast rising comedian also advices others not to give up on their dreams. They should also go out and fight for what they want because success does not come on a silver platter. No one will just hand it to you. Erastus also values his fans comments. He goes through them and takes note of what they like and what they don’t. In an interview, he reveals to reading his DMs because some are job opportunities he doesn’t want to miss.
Rumours on his sexuality
The comedian came out to dispel rumours on his sexual orientation. In an interview on a leading daily late last year, Flaqo said that playing the role of Mama Otis and his ear and nose rings have made people make unflattering conclusions.
“Some people have arrived at their own conclusions because of my ear and nose piercings and how I mimic a woman’s voice. To them that is proof of something about my sexual orientation,” he told Nairobinews.
He went on to say:
“Honestly I know some people are waiting for me to come out! But I am not coming out from anywhere. I’m straight. What I do is just to entertain people. When I take off Mama Otis’ clothes, it’s just me, Flaqo. There is nothing feminine about me at all.”