Churchill Show Proprietor Daniel Ndambuki has broken his silence over claims of his directors driving upcoming comedians into depression.
Comedienne Zainabu Zeddy, who became a household name after making appearances on the show, had accused Churchill Show Creative Director Victor Ber of being a “dream killer”.
Churchill, as he is popularly known, has also had his share of criticism as comedians have always accused him of paying them peanuts.
Ndambuki took some minutes in his Sunday night show that airs on NTV to express his displeasure with the claims.
According to Churchill, comedians should use the platform to build themselves as social media has presented a good opportunity for entertainers to grow unlike in the past.
“Watu wanongea sana hadi unashindwa where do you start (Some people have been talking a lot). Everything is a journey and it has taken me almost 20 years now to do these journey series and we are not stopping,” said Churchill.
“10 years ago you had to audition to become great but right now you can use social media. Now we are not in that era where unasema mtu amekukazia kukua kwa stage, oooh sasa huyu hanitakiii (This is not the time to say that someone is trying to pull you down).
“We did time for you guys. Now you are a brand, you even don’t need to be a brand, you just need to have great content to change that social media to media. You don’t have to be on TV, you don’t have to be on radio.”
Zeddy had linked the frustrations at Laugh Industry — Churchill Show’s parent company — to the death of two comedians, Joseph Musyoki Kivindu alias Kasee and Anthony Njenga alias Njenga Mswahili, who she said had suffered depression for a while.
Kasee was in June found dead on the roadside in Kinoo, Kiambu County.
Njenga also died under mysterious circumstances in November last year. He was found dead on Dagoretti rail tracks.
Zeddy also said that some comedians including George Njoroge alias Njoro are also battling depression. Njoro confirmed this on Monday after revealing that he had attempted suicide three times.
In social media posts and online interviews, Zeddy went on record that Victor is heartless and often takes advantage of being the person who decides who appears in the show to frustrate the people he doesn’t like.
Zeddy detailed that one can go for rehearsals for three days and the director won’t even have the courtesy to tell them that their jokes are not “funny” or they won’t be performing.
She claims that Ber goes to the extent of taking a comedian’s name off the list of performing artists minutes to live performance.
Ber has since denied the claims. In a past interview, he said that he had nothing to do with what is going on in the comedians’ lives He linked their miseries to failure to manage fame and the riches that come with celebrity status.
“Churchill sometimes would call me and ask me to make artists toe the line. They might think I am heartless but it is my way of preparing them for what they will encounter when they step on that stage,” said Ber.