Despite the much-heated debate on regulating how comedians create their content in order to avoid hate speech, racist or tribal comments, politically divisive comments or any other discriminatory content, online comedy continues to flourish. Its exponential rise has to be credited to the social platforms on the internet for providing a democratic platform for young creatives to explore their creativity without limitations.
With increased access to the internet, more youth are finding this opportunity presented to them at the palm of their hands. This has increased the market for all creatives since content publishing has been decentralized and has attracted corporates to start investing in this field hence turning it into a money minting machine.
Even though everyone has access to this opportunity, the fact still remains that not everyone can become a comedian especially in a culture where stand-up comedy still thrives more than online comedy. However, young enthusiastic and hardworking creatives have been working tirelessly to break these barriers and establish a niche for themselves within the comedy industry. Such initiatives include a brand called Wololo Tv, an online comedy channel that produces vines, reaction videos, street trivia, and street pranks. What most don’t know are the names behind this much-loved comedy platform.
Wololo TV was started by a group of young comedians who wanted to come together to create content that would entertain people while at the same time addressing relatable issues affecting the youth on a daily basis in a fun and humorous way. The leader of the group, Julius Ochieng’ aka A Luoman started doing vines in 2015 as a mere hobby to entertain his friends and some of his followers who were interested in his content.
As time progressed and more people started loving his content, he partnered with other friends who had the same interest in what he was doing and came up with Kenyan Vines, a channel for local vines and comedy. They were really impressed by the reaction they got from the public and decided to take comedy seriously.
Come 2018, the need to be more authentic and unique kicked in since they could now envision the brand growing and becoming an iconic name in the laugh industry. They then sat down and decided to change the name from Kenyan Vines to Wololo Tv, a move Julius says was a game-changer.
“The name was a game-changer for us. Immediately after we changed the name, we started receiving requests from other creatives who wanted to partner with us, corporates started asking who are these you know… And personally, I loved the name because it was in line with our aim as a brand which was to create a huge impact that will leave someone wondering ‘who are these guys’? Hence, that shock and awe phrase, Wololo! It also matches along with what we do which is make people happy in a surprising way.”
After the transition, the Wololo crew started commercializing their content and building a solid brand out of it. “We now realized it was time to get serious. It wasn’t like when we were starting, where we used to use a phone and would shoot some low-quality videos and post on Instagram just to make people laugh. We now had to start investing in production equipment, quality production and better content. It was a struggle but with the support of friends and my colleagues, we managed to get where we are today,” says Julius.
The crew has maintained a high level of creativity when it comes to creating content for their fans, a trait that is not consistent with most creatives in the entertainment industry. Some creatives start with a bang but as time goes by, it’s as if their creative juices dry up and they start copying from other creatives what would otherwise be termed as plagiarism. But Olivia Njeri, a member of the crew stresses that “our content is very flexible.
As my colleague mentioned, we try as much as possible to create content that is relatable to our fans. Therefore, before we do a script, we look at what’s trending? What’s affecting most people right now? What needs to be addressed that nobody is talking about? And with that our creativity keeps on evolving and changing every time we do a video. We can never run out of content to talk about.”
“If there is one thing that I have learnt sells when it comes to online comedy, is laughing at people’s problems in a polite way. If you create content that brings out people’s suffering but in a humorous way and at the same time in a polite way, you can never go wrong. But it’s a very sensitive area and you must be a pro, and that’s why we are the best, haha…”, boasts Julius.
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“People can never run out of problems and that means we can never run out of problems. Leo mara ni crackdown ya HELB, kesho ni Huduma, kesho kutwa itakuwa Wamlambezz…”
The kind of mastery that they have acquired as a team when it comes to creating online comedy, has presented them with an opportunity to diversify and exploit other areas within the same field at the same time. After garnering a massive fan base through vines, Wololo has also started doing reaction videos to songs, movies, trending topics and social issues affecting the youth in the country.
At times, they also take to the streets to do street trivia and get the public’s opinion on some of the hottest topics making waves in the country. It’s also a way of getting public opinion on what content they would like to see next on their channel.
Wololo has leveraged on its massive fan base to commercialise its content and its platforms. Due to the crew’s viral attraction, they have received different offers to partner and promote products for some of the top companies in the country.
With an already established load of clients, the Wololo crew isn’t looking at stopping any time soon. They are looking into championing the evolution of online comedy and building a money minting empire out of it. “The future is in online comedy! Wololo is the future!”
Article originally appeared in the Insyder Magazine insyde the Sunday Standard.