BY ALEX DADAMU
NOTHING works faster or more dependably to bring your mind and body back into balance than a good laugh.
Humor and laughter lightens your burdens, inspires hope, connects you to others, and keeps you focused, and alert.
This was the concept behind the formation of Chai Comedy, a four-member comedy group that is rapidly gaining popularity among locals.
Meet Simon Manongi – pioneer/director (comedian), Denis Piku – actor (comedian), Nicholson Donga – cameraman and Somoe Ferris – editor.
Since their formation last year, people have grown to love them – amidst the many challenges faced during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gathering a staggering 22,000 followers on Facebook, Chai Comedy’s simple yet creative stunts will make one’s day change from bad to good with a good laugh.
Speaking to Tourism Media Solomon Islands, Manongi said the motivation from watching and following some of the country’s local comedy group such as Home Boys and One Eye doing their style of comedy motivates him to come up with more creative ideas to create their own style.
Manongi revealed that it started last year with a random short video he produced about Cyclone Harold titled ‘ aeee’ which he uploaded on his private Facebook account.
“The short video went viral among friends and they started to encourage me to do more videos and create a page so people can watch and enjoy it,” he said.
“There I can see the potential inside Denis Piku (chai) to become a comedian because of the nature of comedy on his face and personality, so I decided to create chai comedy, meaning uncle comedy,” he added.
“Chai in Guadalcanal means uncle. Denis is my small uncle, my father’s cousin brother.”
The passion was to make someone’s day becomes better or just to help someone laugh through hard times and as Simon pointed out, “best thing about comedy for us is everything becomes funny, like we must try our best to relate issues, problems and challenges that our country is facing and turning it into comedy instead of being serious every time. We make sure our comedy helps you laugh and smile especially during this COVID-19 State of Emergency (SoPE) period.”
The group pioneer and director further said the way they categorize themself is, they are like a time bomb comedy, which means they are neutral and are always ready for anything and everything.
“Whatever issue or news that explodes in the social media, community, village or even the political level we must try our best to do comedy about it, that’s us,” Manongi said with a laugh.
He revealed that their style during a shooting of a video episode was that they don’t write up scripts however, before they shoot, they talked about the title of the particular comedy and guidelines like the dos and don’ts, and then we do it.
“Many of our fans requested different types and ideas of videos but it is our wish that our contents must be thoroughly screened and filtered – making sure it is clean and safe to watch, as our viewers can be anyone from children to adults,” Manongi explained.
He revealed they are loving what they are doing and are planning to go big and stronger in the future.
“If God allows us to move forward and further in comedy, then the time will definitely come.
“We’re looking to start a small business company maybe and looking to purchase more equipment especially for shooting video.
“One thing is I hope that Chai Comedy must not give up in the years to come.
“Many things are going to happen and comedy will be even more interesting than any other topic I believe.
“In future times, people will get bored of reading the same news headlines, same rape case, same murder, same corruption, same everything and will start viewing comedy as a way to escaping the negative issues in life.
“The appetite for comedy is growing.”
He continued: “From us at Chai Comedy we would like to say happy New Year 2021 and may this year be a successful one for all of us, not to hate but to laugh and smile to each other.
“We like to encourage other youths in their ministries, singers and artist like Jaro, bibao, Seanrii, Ismuki, Jahboy and Ruffneck to name a few.
“These are ministries you guys got us engaged to, keep it up, thanks for everything.
“Also to other comedy groups like Home Boys, One Eye, and Salote and also not forgetting Dream Cast, let’s all work together move forward together and achieve more.
“Giving up is not an option but a choice.
“Big thanks to families, friends, fans for your continuous support and also NYI Church of the Nazarene.”