KSM: Ghana's Entertainment Prefect
KWEKU Sintim-Misa (KSM), a film director, script writer dramatist and comedian extraordinaire, describes himself as the entertainment prefect of Ghana. And in honour of that accolade, he has given the assurance that he will continue to be a comedian for the rest of his life. "I may slow down with my performances on stage to enable me to concentrate on some television programmes," he said. These include 'Hot Bench' on GTV which is telecast every Tuesday at 9.30 p.m. and another movie 'Unsolved Mysteries', which he is currently working on. KSM recalls that while in school as a teenage he always dramatized events and mimicked people. He was, therefore, not surprised when appointed the entertainment prefect of his school. He conceded that in Europe the word 'comedian' goes with a lot of prestige. He mentioned the late George Carlin Johnny Carson and Edie Murphy as renowned comedians who were given the deserved recognition, respect and were by all means wealthy. KSM laments that in Ghana, the word 'comedian' and its connotation have lost their true semblance, because the average Ghanaian thinks comedians are basically 'fools'. This misconception, according to him, is due to ignorance than the under-estimation of the comedy act itself. "People will call a comedian an idiot yet they will pay money to watch his show," he said. KSM, who spoke to The Spectator on Wednesday, said there are two types of comedy, namely 'slaptic' and 'satire.' The former which is more physical is made up of actors who come on stage for instance with a big watch around the wrist or any visible item to attract the attention of the audience. A clear example is Bishop Bob Okala. KSM, however, belongs to the satire group. Comedians of the second category like KSM do a lot of social observation and capitalise on that to make people laugh. Indeed the two groups invariably make people laugh uncontrollably. "It takes a very special talent to observe the ills of society and translate these ills into humour for people to come and see themselves in you". For this he is extremely grateful to God for his talent. KSM was happy to note that the trend was gradually changing in Ghana. People are beginning to know that comedians are not 'fools' or school drop-outs. Making reference to himself, he said he holds double major degrees in BA Communication and BA Theatre Arts. He also holds Master of Fine Arts in Film Production, specializing in directing and film-acting. Additionally, KSM is the Chief Executive Officer of Sapphire Limited, a production firm. He added that David Oscar, for instance" who recently won the 'Stars of the Future' Comedy award is a graduate from the University of Ghana. This explains the fact that comedy is not for 'fools'. The essence of comedy is to create an avenue for people to laugh and take off their stress. Comedy is a form of stress relief and falls under entertainment, so says KSM. He said people watch his show 'Thank God Is Friday' in a relaxed manner, laugh over it and forget about many problems. He sad the programme which is four years old is meant to demystify politics and present politicians as normal human beings. Although a comedian, KSM does not see anything comical about the forthcoming general elections on December 7. He said the underlying theme for his recent play "Castle or Suicide" is a call for unity. He said Ghanaians are united in spirit, adding that his play is simply asking Ghanaians to look for a leader who has the capability of uniting them. The play also demonstrates how ridiculous people can behave because of party politics. He said he has been able to tell the truth about the state of Ghana's politics in a well-packaged manner in the play. Making reference to his 35-page play, "Castle or Suicide", he said he took between three to four weeks to write the script. He also used two to three weeks to polish the script. He later sat down to arrange the jokes so that each joke is progressively funnier than the one before it. Then comes that time to memorise what has been put on paper. KSM intimated that aside his natural gift, he also schooled in the craft. This has enabled him to know before going on stage the estimated duration of the play. He disclosed that there were instances when certain portions which did not form part of the original script were intuitively added. The spontaneous response he receives from his audience in the form of interminable laughter and ovations, has urged him on to satisfy his audience to the fullest. "Indeed it's not easy keeping people laughing for 76 minutes," he said. KSM described the forthcoming general election as a serious one which could boost the political image of the country if conducted peacefully. He said while at school he never considered himself a comedian but a theatre student. However, his background in theatre makes him a good comedian. He holds the candid view that a great actor should be able to do comedy, adding that people would be surprised if he should appear on stage to perform in a drama. Asked whether he will encourage his son to follow in his footsteps, KSM said he thinks his son has a superb sense of humour and is funnier than he is. He, however, added that he will not compel him into comedy. He will rather advise him to get a sustainable or lucrative profession and use comedy as a supplement. KSM said he inherited his sense of humour from his father, the late G K. Sintim-Misa, who was the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana for 12 years. He said wherever his late father preached, the church was packed to capacity. He could make the congregation laugh. The comedian maintains that he, has not yet met a funnier preacher The talent is not limited to the late Moderator and his son KSM; rather all the children have acquired it. KSM said all his siblings have great sense of humour, especially the female sibling that he follows. Mrs Joyce Amoah•, is a dramatist and funnier than he is. When asked whether comedy is rewarding, he answered in the affirmative. He said if an individual is able to package his message to an appreciable level one will be surprised to see the number of people who will attend the show. Aside the financial benefit that one could derive, the individual also stands the chance to command a lot of respect from the public. He said a gentleman paid for the items he selected in a supermarket and told the cashier, "He makes me laugh on Saturdays". KSM has taken the opportunity to reiterate his call on theatre groups in the country to meticulously package their messages and give to the ever hungry audience what is relevant. He said theatre has the potential of changing the mindset of the public and that is precisely what Ghanaians need. "They need something they can conveniently refer to or associate with," he said. He lauded the effort of Ebo Whyte who staged two performances on a single day and all of them sold out well. The play - Unhappy Wives and Confused Husbands - dwells on parenting, relationships and marriage just to mention a few. KSM disclosed that his other passion is giving inspiration to the youth of Ghana. He does this more than comedy. At the moment he had about 36 invitations from youth groups throughout the country to lecture them on development programmes. Ghana's entertainment prefect says he does this without charge as a way of giving something back to Ghanaians: He has written a book "Unlocking the Job Market". The book contains how to write an application, prepare one's curriculum vitae and how to polish it. He said the world has become extremely competitive, adding that the youth should not leave any room for mediocrity. KSM urged the young ones in Ghana to back whatever they do with passion.
Source: The Spectator
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