The Kigali Serena Hotel ballroom was filled to the brim as Ugandan 'queen of comedy' Anne Kubiryaba Kansiime made her debut on the Seka Live comedy stage Friday night.
Not even the more highly billed Kwita Izina gala dinner featuring The Ben at the Kigali Convention Centre could change the show's fortunes.
This was the third season of the Seka Live comedy series that debuted in March. That time, it was headlined by Kenyan comedian Eric Omondi.
It was the second time in a row that a Ugandan comedian was headlining Seka Live, after Teacher Mpamire's appearance in June.
Like previous shows, the evening kicked off with a live musical performance by upcoming Afro-dancehall musician Sintex, a younger brother to Seka Live's founder and host, comedian Arthur Nkusi.
Thereafter, it was a slew of upcoming comedy talents on stage; Joshua, George, and Divin from Burundi.
There were also appearances by established names like Micheal Sengazi, Babu and Herve Kimenyi from the Com Factory, before Arthur Nkusi set the stage for the night's main act.
The fact that he came on stage to the backdrop of Bruce Melodie's Ikinya did not stop Arthur from taking jibes at the musician.
This time, Arthur chose to delegate the role of MC to his radio show co-host Sandrine Isheja Butera, leaving him room to concentrate on his performance unlike at previous editions when he had to multitask.
Kansiime took to the stage at 9:45 pm, in her trademark ad lib style after she was introduced by her manager and fellow comedienne Cotilda.
Kansiime started off with rapid fire jokes about the just-concluded presidential elections, about 'slay queens', about Counter Terrorism Unit ‘hunks’ who recently became the talk of the town among ladies.
The Ugandan comedy star was wondering why some people were recording her on their smart phones instead of simply enjoying the show.
It was a night when well-heeled jokes about the just-concluded presidential elections flew around, and were warmly received by the audience.
"How can you help people when you look like you need help yourself?" Kansiime wondered in one of her punch lines about the presidential election candidates who contested against President Kagame, who she kept referring to as “Mr. Handsome.”
She had the audience sway with her usual self-deprecating humor; joking about being the shortest slay queen, on a night when slay queens and models took the brunt of her comic side.
For his part, Herve Kimenyi joked about how hard it will be for the president's grandchildren to show him their school report cards, considering the president's near-perfect aggregate score in his own "exam", the just concluded elections.
One of his best lines was about how people like him that used to be referred to as "skinny size" are now called "presidential size."
However it was not Kansiime at her very best, the bold, loud Mukiga-woman-from-Kabale comic persona was not very visible on stage.
The night was marred by poor stage visibility, with those at the back struggling to make out the figures on stage.
Other than use the LED screens on the wings of the stage to beam images of the performers, these were instead used to run slideshows of advertiser’s and sponsor's messages.
In fact, there was too much sponsor time, with Arthur Nkusi dividing his stage time between performing his skits and driving home sponsor's messages.
It was also a night when the queen of comedy sought to give her fans a glimpse of her other side -Kansiime the entrepreneur, and the aspiring musician; revealing her latest business venture, Kansiime Backpackers campsite by L. Bunyonyi.
She closed her performance with a live performance of a reggae song and revealed that she intends to release a musical album with songs for children soon.
She was joined on stage by Arthur, who delivered a verse on the song but it was clear that both should stick to comedy. Curtains fell on the show at about 11pm.