Mark Kariahuua, laugh-inducing and looking forward

Mark Kariahuua

If 2023’s comedic hype and happenings are anything to go by, it’s clear that Windhoek’s comedy scene is back in business. One of the talented comics at the centre of its revival is the lanky and laugh-inducing Mark Kariahuua, who anticipates much more in 2024.

“The Namibian comedy sector’s growth is immense. From slapstick to satirical brilliance, comedy in Namibia has matured like fine omaere, or perhaps a questionable yoghurt in the back of the fridge,” quips Kariahuua who looks out over the local landscape from atop two sold-out comedy solos, 2022’s ‘Ovihambarere’ and last year’s ‘Mark Kariahuua Live’.

Eager for the scene to evolve beyond the city centre, this year, Kariahuua particularly looks forward to seeing comedy performed in the townships, as well as comedy offerings, forms and collaborations that are more experimental.

“Personally, I’m also looking forward to the second iteration of The Windhoek Comedy Festival – Namibia’s premiere comedy and creative industry event. We’ve gotten the ball rolling already and we are gearing up for one hell of an event,” says Kariahuua.

Though he isn’t teasing a specific new solo just yet, 2024 is still set to be a year of professional growth, especially behind the scenes.

“As per usual, I’m going to do my absolute best to surprise and satisfy my audience. This year I also plan to tap into my producer bag a bit more. I often work on so many projects that people don’t even know about, so this year I want to be more aggressive with that,” Kariahuua says.

“I love creating cool sh*t, and not everything needs to have my face on it and not everything needs to be my story. But I can help tell it,” says Kariahuua. “I’m excited for a year of personal career growth and fresh talent to emerge from the creative pool. I’m hoping we embrace diversity and new perspectives.”

While Windhoek’s comedians stay ready, build capacity and seek out new venues for more varied visibility, the support that always falls short is financing.

“You’ve heard it before, but we are seriously lacking more funding for the creative arts in general and more sustainable infrastructure. Yes, money is not the only deal breaker, but there are only so many times we can compensate a production team with home-made sandwiches. Or must I sell my kidney this year, guys?!

“We are also lacking more puns. Can the world handle that? Let’s hope for an avalanche of absurdity and wit in 2024. I also want to see more risk-taking, as well as edgy jokes that paint a great story about the world we live in.”

Stirring in his hope that this year local comedians push boundaries “and use comedy to soften the blow of what it means to be a human in 2024”, Kariahuua closes his creative forecast with his mood for the year.

“My mood for 2024 is all about embracing chaos with a side of organised chaos,” he says. “My creative resolution is to dive into the deep end of absurdity and create comedy that tickles both the funny bone and the intellect.”

–martha@namibian.com.na; Martha Mukaiwa on Twitter and Instagram; marthamukaiwa.com

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