When the coronavirus pandemic hit, comedy shows, music festivals and fashion shows were among the first events to be canceled because of concerns for public health.
After months following strict hygiene and social distancing measures in Rwanda, some event organisers opted for other alternatives by hosting their events online for audiences, and among these is ‘Seka Live’.
The annual comedy show, which currently airs every Sunday on Rwanda Broadcasting Agency’s second channel, KC2, kicked off on August 23, and will run for six months, a period after which organisers hope the country will have gone back to normal.
Arthur Nkusi, the brains behind the Seka Live comedy concept through his company Arthur Nation, shared his experience with The New Times’ Eddie Nsabimana about the shows going virtual and the lessons learnt going forward.
Many events organisers postponed their events due to the Covid-19 crisis. How did you manage to pull off the Seka Live show?
Like other stakeholders in the industry, we also took a small break from March to July. We had to rethink our plan and we came up with a different approach of building a Seka Live studio.
This helped in creating content without necessarily having an audience. Under which format are you doing the show?
The new approach helped us to successfully sell the idea to KC2 which now airs the shows every Sunday, during the next 6 months, as per our contract.
For now, we shoot a show once a week, and we air only three comedians, including a Seka rising star. We shoot this as an audition format that takes place in a car drive with myself and the comedian and we also have an established comedian who gives a 10-minute set. These include some of the comedians people might have missed from our previous live shows.
We call this ‘Seka Live Archives’ where we feature some of the international acts that we hosted like Basket Mouth, Daliso Chaponda, etc.
We have so far shot a full season made up of 10 episodes and each episode lasts 30 minutes. The 10th Episode is an upcoming one-man show by Fally Merci, one of the best comedians in town now, which will air on Sunday, October 25 to mark the end of the first season.
Our plan is that, at every end of a season we shall be having a one-man show from one of the rising comics that perform on Seka Live. A young comedian named Patrick is ready to grace the end of season 2.
What has been your experience so far since Seka Live returned under a new format?
It’s tough to get a comedian to engage with the idea because it’s new. We are all used to having an audience around to laugh at your jokes or even get to do some improvement, but now they only get to have three camera men and me being the fourth.
But I can say, this has been an exciting format because it doesn’t cost us as much as organising a full event in a hotel. We plan to keep this format for the next Seka Live shows to come.
However, now that venues can accommodate a certain number as per the new regulations, we are shooting a one-man show at Lavana with limited seats of 40 people. This will help us give it a good experience because we are going to do a live recording with a small audience, then the show will officially air on KC2.
The first season was all about performances from rising Stars. What is on the agenda for the next season going forward?
After Seka Live became one of the projects that won the funds from the Culture and Creative Recovery Fund provided by Imbuto Foundation, we shall now be able to include some of the prominent names in the industry.
We hope to have more of them in season 2 but, again, we focus on new comedians because that’s where the future of comedy lies.
Comedy is all about making people laugh with entertaining jokes. Have you been able to achieve that under this new format?
We evaluate it from the traffic generated on social media and other platforms. If you check our docile median accounts including mine, you will have a one-minute video that gets over 30k views in just one day.
It shows how people are engaged with the new product
The shows entertained audiences but at the end of the day, comedians will need to make a living out of this. What’s your plan?
Beginning next year, we are officially launching Seka mobile App, which will help in accessing content from anywhere but at the same time to increase the chances of monetizing our content.
We already developed it and it is now in testing.
Another way is to bring back the live shows which used to be a good source of revenue. But, with the App coming, it will be another way of making money.Follow https://twitter.com/@Eddie_250