Ahead of his one-off show for BASS2017, Eddie Kadi gave us an insight into his rise to the top
EDDIE KADI is in a good place. Rightly so, as the comic from DR Congo has slowly and steadily elevated himself to the pinnacle of the UK comedy mountain, through sheer hard work, determination, a great, loyal following and a bagful of jokes.
As he prepares to headline his own one man show at the Glee club in Birmingham as part of the BASS Festival, he gave us an insight into his rise to the top.
Q: Tell us how u got started?
Eddie Kadi: I used to host showcases at universities for fun as part of the Afro Caribbean societies. After graduating I continued performing whilst working at a media company. In 2005
I was encouraged to try stand up for fun and the reaction of the audience made me want to come back and do it again and again and it brought us to this point. Then in 2006 I received and award at the Black Entertainment Comedy Awards for the Best Newcomer and I knew this was what I wanted to do moving forwards.
Q: How is being a gigging comedian now compare to when you first started?
Eddie Kadi: When I first started there wasn’t as much demand internationally as there is now. Social media has given us a bigger and faster reach to other parts of the World. You also have your own platform to showcase your work in a way that you control. Which means you don’t have to rely on word of mouth but also your PR and online presence plays a part. I have seen parts of the world that I would have only seen via the TV previously!
Q: What does Africa mean to you?
Eddie Kadi: Africa is in my DNA, I was born in DR Congo. My comedy is defined by my experiences as an African growing up in Britain. Being able to tell my story and teach people about Africa through my craft is a privilege! Africa is Life!
Q: Congo can sometimes be given a bad image in the press. Tell the story people don’t really get the chance to hear…
Eddie Kadi: Congo is the richest country on Earth based on the minerals we possess. The main one is Coltan which is used in every technological tool in the world, and we have two thirds of the world’s Coltan as well as having the second biggest rainforest in the world after the Amazon! We have amazing people who are vibrant, creative and strong! I could go on but I think you should visit one day and come back with your own personal narrative. The media are liars!
Q: You have never chased the mainstream but they have chased you. How does that feel?
Eddie Kadi: I feel like if you are truly yourself and you genuinely believe in your story, people will feel it and will want to know more. You will always be a diluted version of someone else, so be yourself and see how much you have to offer to the world!! Congoswag!
Q: How does the growth and popularity of African culture in the mainstream make u feel?
Eddie Kadi: It makes me feel like this is how it is supposed to be. Africa has always been popular in the mainstream but not always for the right reasons.
It is only right that the new generation of young vibrant proud Africans around the world are able to tell their story and change the narrative. We have influenced many cultures and I am glad that can now be openly appreciated!
Q: Many Africans are massive football fans – which club do you support?
Eddie Kadi: Come on now – there is only one team out here – Manchester United! I’ve supported them since I was a young boy, through thick and thin, and that’s the way it will always be!
Q: You are performing as part of the BASS Festival, which focuses on Africa – what do you think of Birmingham?
Eddie Kadi: I love Birmingham! The one-way system kills me every time, but I’ve become a better driver for it! It’s a great place and the nightlife is super dope.
I’m really looking forward to the show as the festival celebrates all aspects of African Arts and Culture, but from a modern 21st Century perspective. There is a lot for us to shout about, and I’m just proud to be part of it.