By Prudence Minayo
Jasper Mwongera (Murume) is a popular Kenyan comedian known for his heavy Meru accent. The comedian became popular after performing in the Churchill show and managing to crack the audience ribs with his funny jokes. Some up coming comedians would undoubtedly want to emulate him-the ease with which he manages to work the audience and how well he is usually received. There are people who start laughing before he delivers his punchlines, especially with his popular attire on stage and the bandana on his head.
What many don’t know is that his ride into comedy was a bumpy one. The 6 ft 5 tall comedian, like many other aspiring comedians, had to polish his character and find something that the audience could relate to before making a name for himself.
In a past interview with Kobi Kihara on NTV, the comedian said he attended three primary schools. The first one was a school in their village where corporal punishment was a norm. This was followed by a boarding school then finally, he completed primary at Imenti Boarding School.
For his secondary school he went to Meru North then joined Zetech for Mass Communication but stayed for a while then went to Jomo Kenyatta University of Science and Technology (JKUAT) for the same course.
The Churchill show comedian was born and raised in the interior parts of Meru and says that all members of his family are just funny. From his mother who used to sarcastically mimic them, his elder brother who told stories in an exaggerated manner and his dad who was an English Literature teacher. It is no surprise that he is a great comedian having come from such a family. According to an interview published by Standard Media, he has two brothers and a sister.
Jasper is not married but in two interviews, that is, with Kobi Kihara and Lynne Ngugi of Tuko News, he has admitted to having a girlfriend.
Growing up, he wanted to become a comedian, especially after watching Churchill Show for the first time when Eric Omondi would really crack people up. Later, he pursued Mass communication and wanted to be a journalist but was told he has an accent. He tried out for a Meru station but again was told he wasn’t fluent enough in reading news in the language.
Later, he auditioned for Churchill show. Unfortunately, on a few occasions he performed only to be met by an unimpressed crowd that did not find his jokes funny. This demoralized him and he quit to go do sales and marketing until he heard that Churchill show will tour Meru, his home background. This prompted him to quit his job as a sales person and travel to Meru to try out for the show once again. At first, the producer was hesitant to allow him the opportunity but who can fight against the strength of a determined young man with nothing to lose? He persisted and was finally allowed a slot. This time when he stood to perform, he was well prepared and managed to kill it, the crowd loved him.
When the Meru show ended, he didn’t go back to Nairobi with the crew. The witty comedian remained behind and started doing a few things here and there in Meru. Being immersed in his home once again was inspiring; he would see how people relate and just crack up. There were so many funny characters and this gave him an idea of the comedy character he wanted to morph into. He came back to Nairobi, went to Gikomba and bought his attire and he was ready to take on the industry. This time he aced the auditions and joined Churchill where he has been making waves to date. Every fan of the show knows his signature entrance song and the lines “Cash Money Baite Murume Yoh!”
At one point, he cracked a joke about the Bicycle which received a lot of criticism from people and even the Kenya Films Classification Board (KFCB). They claimed it was too vulgar but the comedian saw no problem with the joke, it was like a piece of literature, everyone takes their own interpretation.
Still, the hilarious man has so many fans who are addicted to his jokes and cannot wait for him to step on stage.
Credits His uncle for his success
The funnyman told Jambo radio Massawe Japanni that he would not have been where he was if it was not for his uncle who pushed him to go for auditions again. He shared this with Massawe’s listeners:
I was encouraged by my uncle to actually go back and audition again. He told me; “Mwongera can you take your things and go back to Nairobi. I don’t know what you are doing here, you are very talented. Other people are making it in Nairobi, look at people like Eric (Omondi) they are millionaires right now. You need to go back and show me what you got.”
The cheeky comedian went on to say maybe it was his uncle’s way of kicking him out of his house:
“Looking back I came to realize my uncle used a cheeky way of actually kicking me out of his home.”