Accepted paper:

Money and love with humor: "convenient marriage" of China-Kenya in Churchill Comedy show

Authors:

Mingqing Yuan (University of Bayreuth)
Yuning Shen (University of Hamburg / University of Nairobi)

Paper short abstract:

This paper tries to explore how gender, money and power are weaved into the narrative together with stereotypes and cultural references to produce humour and laughter as a form of subversive force and resistance and how this effects emotionally and socially and builds the imagination of the Other.

Paper long abstract:

Comedy show as an acute barometer of social contexts is imbedded in power relations and constructed as a space of resistance. A video clip of the Kenyan comedian "Sleepy David" in Churchill show is widely circulated when he and an amateur Chinese female "Lei" compliment each other on the stage without understanding each other. Reasons for this manoeuvring is rather obvious. Chinese engagements in Africa are difficult to be overseen by local artists. Kenya specifically has witnessed not only the opening of the Chinese-funded SGR (Kenya Standard Gauge Railway) prior to the general election 2017 and probably also a latent "feminization" of Chinese diplomacy in East Africa (Foreign Ministry's key spokesman, ambassador to Tanzania, and to Kenya in 2012, 2017 and 2018 respectively). It was backed by the female public figures, China proposed the levelling up of Sino-Kenyan relations to comprehensive strategic partnership. Ironically enough, the Churchill show (started by Daniel "Churchill" Ndambuki in 2007 on the network of NTV) hosted the interplay with a direct reference to the China-Kenya relations. Through the interactions and (failed) communications between the performers, the show exhibits, mimics and exposes an intertwined, intricate, and dynamic power relations within China-Kenya encounters through gendered representations. This paper tries to explore how gender, money and power are weaved into the narrative together with stereotypes and cultural references to produce humour and laughter as a form of subversive force and resistance and how this effects emotionally and socially and builds the imagination of the Other.

panel Lang02
Limits and prospects of African humour