Ghanaian freelance journalist, Manasseh Azure Awuni has finally penned down a post about Award-winning comedian OB Amponsah.
He sat at the table in front of me, looking towards the stage. And as with people I admire, my eyes involuntarily strayed to him many times throughout the programme. He was my crush for the night.
(Anyway, someone should tell Sam Dzata George that I’m as straight as an arrow. It was a look of admiration, not a lascivious one).
This happened at the Alisa Hotel last Friday night. MTN Ghana was awarding 13 journalists who had taken part in its maiden MTN Media Awards competition.
Comedian OB was is a journalist, but not only journalists were invited. So I wasn’t sure whether he was there as a guest like me or he was billed to perform. It was one of those programmes you couldn’t predict what was to come next. No booklet or sheet of the lineup was given.
What I noticed of OB Amponsah was the seriousness of his mood throughout the programme. The few times I saw him smile was when he spoke with a spoken word poet who sat next to him. He also managed a faint laugh when some of us journalists made discernible noise after the MC, Rita Etornam Sey, addressed Affail Monney as the IMMEDIATE PAST PRESIDENT of Ghana Journalists Association. It was the first time I heard anybody refer to Mr. Monney’s designation correctly since his tenure expired in 2020.
When we went to the buffet, OB Amponsah did not move. I thought I read the signal from one of the event organisers who suggested his food be packaged for him. And he didn’t disagree.
I might be wrong, on that but what I can’t be wrong with is that he took only a glass of fruit juice. And remained tense, or so he looked.
Then moments before he was called to perform, the male MC decided to dance, so the transition delayed.
By now, he was up, his back against the huge pillar, occasionally disappearing wholly behind it, leaving a little part of his face and the hat he wore.
My reading of the lips of the young man who was with him suggested a question, “Are you tensed?”
Here again, I could be wrong, but what I got right was his mood. After some time, I documented it with the help of my phone camera.
At a point, he partially cupped his hands and covered the lower part of his face with what was definitely not a Covid-19 mask.
Why would a comedian be that serious? Was he not just going to crack jokes? Had he not performed to bigger audiences than this one? Why did he behave as though he was next to face God on Judgment Day?
I could not ask him, but I know those who take their trade seriously are those who become masters of their trade. Besides, he was the only person on stage that night whose performance was easy to judge. A comedian does not need researched feedback to ascertain how the audience reacted.
Then the MC called. As usual, he was the “doctor by day and a comedian by night”, making me wonder if comedians don’t perform during the day and whether doctors don’t work at night.
The tension could be felt in the first few seconds or so. Then when OB found his rhythm, not even Volodomir Zelensky could have kept a straight face.
He is one of the few comedians here, who don’t struggle to hurt the ribs of their audience. He speaks with the naturalness of Bernard Avle, and when he has to laugh with the audience (not at his own jokes) he allows it to flow.
By the time he left the stage, the applause was like many recent Supreme Court decisions–unanimous.
I went over to him the second time of the night to congratulate him. It was immediately before Samuel Nii Narku Dowuona was announced as the overall winner of the night. I requested a selfie with him before his admirers swarmed on him like bees after the programme.
He was gracious enough to suggest that we take it outside where the lights were brighter.
George Quaye was one of those who stopped to appreciate him for a great performance as we made for the entrance.
I had never seen an artist with such intense emotions before mounting the stage. On my way home, I concluded that the tension was not because he didn’t know what to do. He takes his job seriously. And delivers when he mounts the stage.
May the world stage be too small for OB Amponsah and those who make excellence a habit.
Kudos, Comedian OB. God bless you.
Manasseh Azure Awuni
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