In Summary

CLOSER. Emmanuel Otim, known to fans as Napoleone Ehmah, formerly Prince Ehmah, is a stand-up comedian who cut his teeth with The Krackers a decade ago. He is still holding strong on and off stage. He shares what defines his life,with EDGAR R. BATTE.

The first thing I do in the morning…
I say a short prayer, then do 10 push-ups before going to the bathroom.

The first thing I do when I get to work…
I work from home. I check my phone for WhatsAapp and Facebook messages.

My earliest childhood memory…
We had a broken socket at home with loose wires, so I used to insert a spoon into the socket and enjoyed the vibration I felt. God saved me from electrocution.

My first best friend…
Castro Johnson. We met in high school and we were naughty. We went on to form a comedy group when we again met at university.

My first kiss…
It was in Senior Three, while performing as part of the Teso College Drama Team, at Kamonkoli College. A girl from the audience, came on stage and placed her lips on mine in a tight embrace. I forgot the rest of the play and got confused for a while. My colleagues attempted to get me back on track but failed. I later met her at Ministry of Internal Affairs while applying for my passport. She noticed me and reminded me of that incident. I got my passport in three days.

My childhood hero…
I had two, Bruce Lee, the martial arts actor and Fr Cochran who was a White Catholic priest in Soroti in the late 1990s. Because of my street life as a child, I was attracted to violence (I think, I was bitter with life). I got trained in Kung Fu and I did everything to be like Bruce Lee. I copied what I watched in films.

Fr Cochran was a darling to churchgoers. My grandmother told me a lot about him. I admired the way he would be animated while singing church songs. I thought he talked to God directly. I was however disappointed when I was told that some naughty people put a charm for night-dancing in his drink (the Ajon or malwa). They wanted to see if it could work on a ‘Mzungu.’ Apparently it worked and that night he would run faster than the Gateway night bus then wait for it and overtake it again while waving at the driver whenever he came close to the driver’s window.

The first book I read…
The Nile English Course, in my primary school days. That book, perhaps gave me a backbone for my storytelling as well as my stand-up comedy.

My first job…
After university I joined professional stand-up comedy group The Krackers Comedy Club, but my proper day-to-day job was the radio stint I had at Galaxy FM from March 2017 to May 2018.

My first salary…
Gross salary of about Shs1.2m

My current job…
Not a job per se, maybe we say an occupation. I am an events emcee at weddings, kwanjulas, corporate functions and school events. I am also a stand-up comedian both locally and abroad. I run Tropical Media, an events company that also organises team building.

What I like about my job…
It is like waking up to do what you would do for free but get paid.

What I dislike about it…
People’s perception. Some people think comedy is a state of mind; like you can’t say anything sensible. They make it seem like you think and do comedy 24/7.

Most memorable experience…
Very many; the most recent was my first time on a plane, headed for a show abroad. Quite excited and green, I tightened my seat belt the moment I sat. Out of curiosity I decided to loosen it so as to get used. The seat belt couldn’t move. I pulled and pulled. I thought it had the same mechanism as a car seat belt.
When I failed, I called the air hostess and told her the seat belt was faulty. She just pushed three fingers and the belt was loose. She smiled as she walked away. I had produced at least two litres of sweat. I wanted to hide when the pretty girl behind me laughed hard at me. I had plans to shift and sit with her later as we travelled. I spent three hours on the flight reading the aircraft books that covered safety measures on the plane.

Biggest regret in life…
Taking a loan of Shs7m from a money lender in 2012 to buy a car. The money lender made my life hard and I eventually lost the car and spent a few days in a police cell.

My first girlfriend…
Bena Acom. We first fell in love in Primary Four. She was the prettiest girl in the school. Prefects and young male teachers gave her favours. We however never dated officially until we joined university. Acom would travel from Nsamizi Institute, Mpigi to Uganda Christian University, Mukono to see me.