IT appears the bags of jokes that introduced once popular comedians Richard “Uncle Richie” Matimba and Pepukai “Baba Tencen” Zvemhari to the comic world a few years ago have dried up, such that some arts critics have certified a spent force tag on them.
By WINSTONE ANTONIO
It seems the emergence of Uncle Richie and Baba Tencen on the showbiz scene, where they hogged the limelight was another fairy-tale run of fly-by-night entertainers where “real” comedians in the mould of Carl Joshua Ncube, Doc Vikela and the P O Box TV crew also doing online comedy among others have sustained their visibility over the years.
The two comedians who are famed for Zvirikumbofamba Sei? and Kuripwa Kugara video skits respectively, which they used to ride a crest of unprecedented popularity in their respective careers seem to have lost their mojo.
Uncle Richie and Baba Tencen once became darlings of many followers of showbiz and touted as potential faces to change the country’s comedy landscape, but surprisingly they have failed to live to the expectations.
Interestingly, at his peak, many used to stampede to Uncle Richie for him to officiate at high profile functions both as an entertainer and master of ceremony.
When he earned the man-of-the-moment tag owing to his hilarious jokes, Uncle Richie, a music teacher and comedian, even got some lucrative endorsement deals with reputable local firms.
During the same period, Uncle Richie, a National Arts Merit Awards winner (People’s Choice Award), even branched out into acting, landing roles in two films, Matters and Mapeto.
Uncle Ritchie said he has been in and out of the country for most of this year.
“I was in Argentina and Brazil recently and of late South Africa. I have been doing weddings and performances mostly in South Africa and also examinations at University of Zimbabwe and South Africa,” he said.
“For now I am settling and planning to release a single just to test the ground. I will definitely start throwing some stuff on social media very soon.”
Not taking away the fact that Uncle Richie is a wordsmith, at least for now, he appears to be in mute mode.
For South Africa-based Baba Tencen, he appears to have lost favour with many fans after the Let’s Laugh Again comedy night in 2016, a show he will possibly want to forget as he performed dismally when he shared the stage with Ugandan queen of comedy Anne Kansiime at Harare International Conference Centre.
On the night, Baba Tencen who was making his debut local stage performance, after he had gained that popularity, courtesy of his skits that had gone viral on different social media, appeared to have left his bag of tricks in Mzansi.
Speaking to NewsDay Life &Style from his Mzansi base through manager Tendai Joe, Baba Tencen rubbished the spent force claims, arguing that the comedian does not sorely depend on comedy to make money.
“Baba Tencen is alive and doing well. He is not silent, probably changed the way we work and release material. Baba Tencen does mostly promotional work, which is paid for by his clients, but we, however, do not take every work that comes along,” he said.
“He can make a living without it, as he has ventures that give him more money than comedy. (He bought his first car this year, as proof). We are grateful to all his (Baba Tencen) loyal fans who are always writing to us using different mediums asking for new content, all we can say is keep checking Facebook.”
Joe said Baba Tencen will only come to Zimbabwe for showbiz at the invitation of promoters.
“Baba Tencen stays in South Africa, does his videos from South Africa, there has never been plans for him to host shows in Zimbabwe, unless invited by a promoter.
Baba Tencen has been approached by many people to make full length drama series for TV and DVD releases, the reason we have not taken up those offers, is because some of the people are just chancers,” he said.
“We have also rejected political campaign offers, because that is not our area of focus. Baba Tencen is natural as he comes, those who wish him to be a spent force can keep on dreaming,”
Time will only tell whether the comedians will once again reclaim their fading fame.