TAKE 5: Ty Ngachira - Daily Nation
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TAKE 5: Ty Ngachira

Friday February 8 2019

Ty Ngachira is a Kenyan Poet.

Ty Ngachira is a Kenyan Poet. PHOTO| COURTESY 

By ABIGAIL ARUNGA
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Ty is an MC, stand-up comedian and a lawyer too.

1. How did you get into MCing?

I used to have serious stage fright, I couldn’t stand in front of crowds. When I was in high school however, the only way to avoid cross country was to join drama club, and so I did.

After high school, throughout university, the church was my platform. I would read announcements and lead the service (basically MCing). Eventually, someone asked me to MC their graduation party and it went all up from there.

Over the last year, I have hosted events for a number of corporates, personal events and artistic gigs. I have been contracted by "Because You Said So", "UN Women", "Ink Overflow", "Vunja Kimya" and "Karura Comedy Club", among others. I also host a monthly stand-up comedy show called "Casa Comedy" every month.

2. Does your faith determine which gigs you pick? Also, what do you think about the dissonance between one’s faith and actions in light of trending incidents incriminating two Kenyan gospel musicians and a pastor?

Everyone works on principle, so yes, my faith guides the gigs I say yes to. I am, however, yet to be asked to host an event that crosses that line. When I turn down a job, it is mostly due to conflicting schedules or payment disagreements. On this other matter, it’s very disheartening.

The little I have gathered from the stories online leaves a bad taste in my mouth. It is bad enough if someone does it, but worse if you hurt people while hiding behind the name of God. I’m happy these stories are coming to light because such people have a greater responsibility than the average Joe.

Where crimes were committed, especially of a sexual nature, the law should take its course. What such people fail to understand is that as Christians, we do not have the social privilege of ‘woke empathy’.

The bad actions of a few will often cast a shadow of guilt on the entire group. In an ‘us vs. them’ online call-out culture, no attempt will be made to separate their actions and those of the larger community.

These incidents create a perfect opportunity for those with personal biases against the church and Christianity in general to validate their biases and throw around the ‘that’s why I don’t go to church’ or the, ‘all these guys are hypocrites’ shots.

Online outrage is good since it creates awareness on an issue, but we need to back it up with proper follow up to see out issues after they are no longer on the spotlight before we move on to the next scandal.

3. What do you think the role of the church is in entertainment?

To be honest? None. There are relevant bodies that have been given this mandate. The gospel ‘Industry’- sad that that’s even a thing - has many genuine talented artists. The celebrity nature, however, has the capacity to create a cult of personality around them, which is very tempting to abuse especially where there isn’t any accountability. If you move around every Sunday performing at different venues, you rarely have time to reflect on this thing you sing about.

4. You are also a stand-up comic. In terms of stand up, what material do you like to address, and why do you think Kenya continues to suffer from the, (if you mimic an accent it's funny) plague?

I mostly address everyday matters that affect Kenyans. Looking for a job, dating in Nairobi, dealing with police and also our relationship with the rest of the world.

While the tribe accent comedy is still the mainstream version, there is a growing alternative scene: "Karura Comedy Club" every first Saturday of the month, as well as "Casa Comedy" every third Thursday of the month are great avenues.

They are very popular among young adults from Kenya and abroad.

5. You are a lawyer too - how do you balance your varied passions?

I work as a governance and policy expert. I specialise in coordinating donor-funded advocacy and civic education work.

My comedy is often in the evenings or on weekends. My job involves lots of travelling within and outside the country, and to balance all this role, I plan ahead by at least three weeks.

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