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Grill: Uncle Mark on juggling comedy with emceeing for survival

by Editorial Team
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Having appeared on several stages as a comedian, Mark Agaba, alias Uncle Mark’s story has been one for a gritty go-getter, who dared to stop at nothing to earn a revered career path. If you are a regular at the weekly Comedy Store show, then you have chanced at a funny, proud westerner, whose niche in comedy seems to be anything decently funny. With his stamp on the comedy stage, Uncle Mark has since passionately taken on emceeing, and lately, he is becoming a ‘city emcee’, so to speak. Reagan Ssempijja had a chat with him on how he juggles the two

The brand Uncle Mark is quickly morphing into such a revered one. How are you dealing with the growth?

Quickly? I do not think so. But God has enabled me to achieve gradual growth and I am really hoping for more growth. The Wisdom to respect processes has kept me going, and still feeding on this. Every level of growth commands sustainability, which you can only gain by knowledge. So, i endeavour to learn more day by day

For someone who made a name as a comedian, how hard or easy is it juggling comedy with Emceeing?

Those two are the easiest to juggle actually. They are nearly the same forms of art. One (comedy) is a rehearsal ground for the other (emceeing). I have nomajor hardships.

What/who has been your greatest source of inspiration to do emceeing and why?

From the beginning, it has always been the fear of poverty. Have you ever been ‘broke’? I fear poverty. I needed daily bread, so I went with developing the talent God gave me so that I do not starve.

Uncle Mark says juggling more than one career takes its toll. Photo by Reagan Sempijja

When an ordinary Ugandan hears of an Emcee, what quickly comes to mind is some guy holding a mic and speaking at a party. Describe for us the type of Emcee you are.

It is actually what an Mc should do. Hold that mic, speak directly and move on. It is just that when you have the treasure in earthen vessels, like me, you hold it with an extra touch of oomph and passion. That is who I am.

Many times, people like Emcees, Photographers, DJs, et al have been despised by some people. Is this the case for you or has the trend changed?

People despise any line of work that has no professional entry from university. That is how the world has shaped stereotype. However, you will always be despised as long as you do not invest time and resources in your craft.

What are some of the challenges you face as an emcee?

Mostly, it is clients who toss us around when it comes to paying for balance. That cliché excuse of, ‘’Man, I have left your balance in the Hotel’’ has always been a hard one to take. Secondly, clients should stop coming to emcees with biased opinions when it comes to determining payment. I believe one pays for an experience; Value addition, face value, ability to execute, among others, which some clients kill by the dictatorial tendencies.

Recently, you have been gracing high profile events as an emcee. What is the significance of such opportunities to your career?

I celebrate the fact that every opportunity grants me a chance to meet new people. That is a call to win hearts, and it is all we need, for it is out of those hearts that wellsprings of life flow.

For an aspiring emcee looking to make it, what do they have to focus on?

You are only as good as the number of shifts you put in your work. Making more practice and having to make this a priority, and not just a side gig to pay your rent, fuel and ‘’Kameeza’’ money, should be key for any aspiring emcee. You will always reap what you sow. With this, the foundation laid will be strong enough to judge your worth.

How far do you intend to go as an emcee? Paint for us a picture of five years ahead.

Unlike other careers, there is no career climbing here. We have no self-awarded titles like “President of Mics’’ in this industry. The greatest I can say is, I will be the unmatched emcee that the market keeps on desiring, seeking for, which goal stands out for more years to come.

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