The Birth of Wasasa Comedy:
Wasasa Comedy was set up in October 2008 by a group of comedy fanatics with a gift for always looking at the funny side of life. Having noticed an increase in people from various communities moving to Scotland, its founders (Kalonde Kasengele, Katai Kasengele and Tolu Fakunle) had a vision of using comedy as a vehicle for promoting integration and diversity. It was set up the following objectives which have remained unchanged:
- To encourage a platform for comedians from different backgrounds to work together and create a new and original style of comedy
- To have a friendly, diverse, supportive and spirited audience
- To encourage young people from deprived and troubled backgrounds to learn how to channel negative emotions through comedy
- To encourage more women to get involved in stand-up comedy
Wasasa Comedy Night launched on 28th February 2009 to a packed out crowd at Glasgow University Union (Deep Six), with a fantastic line-up that included both established performers and beginners. This was followed by another successful show on 29th May 2009 at Glasgow University Queen Margaret Union (Qudos Bar) before making its debut at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival on 25th August 2009 at the Mercat Bar.
Having taken a break due to the organisers’ university and work commitments, Wasasa Comedy re-launched as a monthly comedy night at the Halt Bar on 31st July 2011. The shows were well received by both performers and audience members, with many noting their unique and energetic atmosphere.
Style of Comedy:
Wasasa Comedy has always been about promoting originality. Even the name Wasasa is ironic in that it is a slang word in the Zambian language, Bemba, meaning “you are not funny”. Hence the reason we always encourage comedians to be unique even if it means having a Wasasa performance.
The Kasengele Brothers (Kalonde "The Misunderstood Philosopher" & Katai "King Kats the Third") have been a permanent feature of Wasasa Comedy since its origins. They have caused quite a stir on the Scottish comedy circuit with their unique brand which taps into their Zambian roots and life in Glasgow.
Kalonde “The Misunderstood Philosopher”
The younger of the two brothers, Kalonde "The Misunderstood Philosopher", made his debut in 2008 establishing himself as one of the rising stars of the Scottish Comedy scene. He has been described as:
- “Oh what a breath of fresh air...full of energy, enthusiasm, jokes, clever observations, accents the lot. Jongleurs crowds will love him as will the ladies.” – Ha Ha Comedy
Katai “King Kats the Third”
Katai took to the stage in 2009 and has not looked back since. He has been described as one of the most gifted performers on the Scottish Comedy circuit.
Following the expansion of Wasasa Comedy in 2011, The Kasengele Brothers welcomed Nico Ndlovu (aka Mandela) and Sean Reid as permanent members of Wasasa who have both been excellent additions. The Wasasa Crew continues to grow from strength to strength, adding sketches to their repertoire which also feature Tolu Fakunle.
Wasasa Comedy has had a number of achievements in its short history. It is widely recognised as the most diverse comedy night in Scotland in terms of both performers and audience members. This recognition led to BBC Radio Scotland’s Comedy Cafe running a special feature on August 2012 about Wasasa Comedy’s unique success story.
Other achievements have included:
- Developing new talent, particularly from ethnic minority communities, to perform in their unique style
- Providing a platform for performers from diverse backgrounds to perform
- Having two members of the Wasasa Crew (Kalonde Kasengele and Sean Reid) reach the finals of Scottish Comedian of the Year 2012 Competition
- Having the Wasasa Crew perform at high profile events including “Crack Ya Ribs” and African Achievement Awards
History of performers
In addition to providing a platform for beginners, Wasasa Comedy has been blessed with working with some of the most talented performers on the Scottish Comedy Circuit who have shared our vision of promoting diversity. This list of performers has included Des Clarke, Daniel Sloss, Bruce Fummey, Viv Gee, Scott Agnew, Billy Kirkwood, Vladimir McTavish, John Purvis, Charlie Ross and many more.