Ugandan comedian Patrick Idringi bellows with laughter when addressed by his newfound title: Africa’s funniest man.“It’s actually overwhelming because it’s too much pressure,” he says. “To get that title—it’s really far-fetched!”
The 31-year-old comic has made it to the semi-final stage of the “Funniest Person in the World,” a competition run by Hollywood comedy club The Laugh Factory. The competition carries a $100,000 grand prize—around 350 million Ugandan shillings—as well as a stand-up tour across the U.S.
A former telecoms engineer, Idringi says he turned to comedy after a 2009 reality television competition to find Uganda’s funniest person. He won second place, and became a regular on the stand-up scene. “From there, I never looked back,” he says.
The comedian has gone on to tour across Africa and become one of Uganda’s best-known exports, performing in the U.K. and the U.S. alongside household names such as The Daily Show host Trevor Noah at the 2015 Comedy Central International Comedy Festival in South Africa.
Before performing in Helsinki, Idringi says he will be touring in South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria. He names London’s Hammersmith Apollo as his best reception so far, but says he encountered problems in francophone African countries, such as Cameroon.
“The language was a problem,” says Idringi, who doesn’t speak French. “I had a translator, he was using my jokes and he was funnier than me!”