Should you search the definition of ‘wacky’ in the dictionary, you won’t find the name Eunice Wanjiru Njoki, or Mammito, but maybe you should.
The ease with which she tickles with her witty talk can best be described as wacky as a tickle fight. Mammito’s comedy is so natural; she doesn’t struggle to plant a barrel of laughs on your face even when having a serious conservation.
For the last eight years, this is all she has been doing – making people laugh anywhere, everywhere, anytime, sometimes for money, other times for nothing.
Now, the intention is to polish the raw diamond of her comedy into the sparkling stones that form the centrepiece of quality laughter. Something that would be worth paying more for.
After investing over a million shillings last December to self-produce her first ever stand-up comedy show “Mammito and Friends”, she repeats the same today at the Nairobi National Museum, but this time it is called “Mammito and Girlfriends”.
“This is the second show I’m self-producing. The idea started last year, I wanted to do a show with all the funny friends that I have gotten to know in the comedy scene. For this second show, I wanted to do something different,” she says.
“When was the last time you witnessed an all women line-up stand-up comedy? For as long as I can remember, there has never been one until now. Today’s line-up features Justine Wanda, Ciku Waithaka, Shazz Nderitu, Ruth Nyambura and yours truly.”
When the 29-year-old first tested the waters with “Mammito and Friends”, held at Braeburn Theatre, the outcome of the event was fulfilling but didn’t fill her pockets. That didn’t matter anyway.
“When taking risks, you should be ready for any outcome. I didn’t make any margins nor losses, the ROI (Return on Investment) balanced. But what impressed me was the turnout, the Braeburn auditorium has a capacity of 350 people and it was sold out,” she adds.
For “Mammito and Girlfriends” the target was 450, a goal she surpassed two days to the show. “The tickets are still on sale. They cost Sh2,000 online or at the gate.”
With 1.9 million followers on Instagram and 1.1 million on Facebook, one would have expected the target to be a little higher, perhaps 1,000 people or more, but for Mammito, wise words from American rapper mogul Rick Ross guide her thought process.
He said, “Yes, well, I’m aware of that but, I wanted to start from somewhere, establish something that is sustainable even if its 10 people who show up I will always give them the best of me. A bigger show means a bigger investment, but that’s not the priority at the moment. The aim is sustainability, not profits. With a solid foundation, money will surely come. I look forward to when my show will attract 10,000...My intention is not to move fast but to move correctly no matter how long it takes.”
Just like the first show, “Mammito and Girlfriends” is also a self-sponsored venture, and not because she didn’t seek partners.
“I did reach out to a number of brands for partnerships and collaboration, and majority have promised to jump on to the next one,” she says.
When her career began as an apprentice on the Churchill Show, Mammito, born and raised in the slums of Kibera’s Line Saba, harboured ambitions of running her own show some day. The chase for that dream began last year with “Mammito and Friends”.
“This is a matter of growth, when I started I couldn’t do this. For the eight years I have been doing comedy, mostly the shows I did are ones that I was invited to. I felt it was time to also have my own and offer a platform to some of the raw talents yet to be known. Going forward, I will be investing more of my time into organising events. This is me coming of age,” she explains.
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The Covid-19 pandemic only fastened her pace to achieving this dream.
“Corona changed the game, it had most of us thinking outside the box. We were in some sort of a comfort zone, but with the pandemic, now we are on our toes. I found myself creating content, and ever since, I’m always mulling over what else I can do within this creative realism.”
Already, she has birthed another idea. Besides content creation which she says pays her handsomely, to now organising her own shows, Mammito’s next card is to start a series of her own comedy tours within and outside the Kenyan border.
“My aim is to connect with as many fans as I possibly can; not all of them live in Nairobi. I want to go where they are and connect with them, put a smile on their faces, do charitable work and impact the society. Sometimes it’s not always about money,” says Mammito, who holds a Diploma in Community Development and Social Work.
A risk taker, Mammito leads a meticulous, frugal and unpretentious lifestyle despite her success as one of the most bankable comedians and content creators in the country. “I’m very aware of my finances and how to manage what I earn, otherwise I might as well end up seeking financial help from Kenyans, ama niwapatie paybill?” she quips.
Mammito won’t say how much she earns in a month, or a year, but what she will tell you is that she makes enough to get by. Enough to live a comfortable lifestyle by her standards, afford decent meals and afford what she drives.
Knowing what to charge when she first jumped into content creation to adapt to the ‘new normal’ brought about by the pandemic at the time, wasn’t rocket science.
“My first content creation gig paid me Sh100,000, that's the least I have ever made. I know there has been a debate on (comedians having a set) rate card, but for me, knowing what to charge has never been an issue, and I give thanks to my comedy background because that made it easier for me.”