Personality Chat: Up-close With Augustin Dennis

From left to right: Alo Wess, Augustin Dennis and Ayikwei Sportoo

Comedy Empire: Auggie Dennis has been all over the comedy scene lately from hosting events to performing and people think you are new to the game. Augustin Dennis, tell us about yourself.
Auggie Dennis: Augustin Dennis has been doing comedy since 2009. I actually started out in Malaysia but I founded Live Comedy Thursdays in Ghana. I’m from Takoradi and I’m an observational comedian with no barred style of delivery.

Comedy Empire: Malaysia, what was young Augustin doing there?

Auggie Dennis: I actually had my tertiary education there. I studied International Business.

Comedy Empire: So how did you find yourself in comedy cos it’s strange.

Augustin Dennis: Interestingly, I took up comedy as a wager to prove my Kenyan and Somalian housemates wrong that I could tell jokes and that Ghanaians also did comedy.

Comedy Empire: In an attempt to prove people wrong you entered comedy? That’s funny. So tell us about your first experience doing comedy.

Auggie Dennis: My first act was a 3 minutes set at Zouk Velvet underground, Kuala Lumpur. I was nervous, very nervous, such that when it got to my turn, I yanked the microphone off its chord. My first line was,”good evening ladies and gentlemen and the Chinese”. I can say it was a great 3 minutes cos I did well and since then, man has been doing comedy.

Comedy Empire: Interesting. Did your professional career start there?
 Auggie Dennis: Yes. That was my first real show and that was in 2010..

Comedy Empire: Ok. 2010 is a very long time. Starting in Malaysia, why didn’t you stay to continue but chose to return to Ghana where at that time the Industry was yet to bud and can you say upon your return, you’ve really contributed to the industry?

 Auggie Dennis: Chale, I finished school and I couldn’t wait to eat my mum’s food after so many years. Getting serious, I helped in my small way to help build a comedy scene in Malaysia. I was part of the early comedians in Malaysia .I left there at a time when comedy was beginning to boom and it’s now HUGE. I wanted to come and share my new found passion with Ghana and help build one here. It’s been a lonely long winding road but its worth it

 Comedy Empire: Wow…..Pioneer of Malaysian comedy…..I’m pretty sure you’d be a hero there. Can you mention some top Malaysian comedians you started with?

Auggie Dennis: Harith Iskander, Rizal Van Geyzel,Kavin Jay.Jason Leong,Phoon Chi Ho, all real names by the way.

Comedy Empire: Since you came to Ghana, can you say you’ve really contributed to the industry as compared to being in Malaysia

Auggie Dennis: Yes

Augustin and Foster Romanus

Comedy Empire: Tell us about it all. From your first performance in Ghana till currently.

Auggie Dennis: First performance was at Sytris,OSU,  a week after I had returned to Ghana. It was a very different performance to what I do these days. I am now more Ghanaian in my jokes.

Comedy Empire: But you got some foreign flair in your performance. So comparing the two countries, which one can you say is far advanced when it comes to comedy?

 Auggie Dennis: Malaysia and Singapore definitely are streets ahead

 Comedy Empire: So if you were given a chance to change something about the industry, what would it be?

Auggie Dennis: I would like to see us,as Ghanaians have a comedy culture where we have regular weekly comedy shows as an alternative source of entertainment. That’s the grand plan.

 Comedy Empire: Is that why you introduced Laughline?

 Auggie Dennis: Yes. Actually, Laughline is not something I brought up alone. It was done with Daniel Attoh and the reason was, we believed comedians need an outlet to perform to hone our act and get recognised. Aside that, I also founded the now defunct LCT at Rina’s.

Comedy Empire: Since Laughline is what trends, where do you see Laughline in the near future?

Auggie Dennis: I want Laughline to be the hub of comedy in Ghana

 Comedy Empire: Two shows down already since its inception. Taking Laughline and the other monthly comedy shows in Ghana, can you say Laughline outweighs the others?

 Auggie Dennis: It does and it would get better with time.

Comedy Empire: So aside Ghana snd Malaysia, which other countries have you performed in? I’m pretty sure you’ve gone to Kenya to show your Kenyan friends the crown.

Auggie Dennis: Haha…..I’ve been to Hong Kong, Cambodia &Singapore.

Comedy Empire: What were your parents’ reaction when they heard you do comedy despite the huge amount they were paying?

Auggie Dennis: My mum wasn’t enthused about it in the beginning but later when she heard me going to do shows in other places, and when I was in school, I used comedy to pay my bills. The interesting part is, she even started asking,”why?..won’t you go for a.comedy show?” What they all want for you as their son is to do well and so in that sense, their objection or apprehension to you doing comedy is understandable cos comedy is not your typical career path, but you got to believe in the dream.

Auggie and Sis

 Comedy Empire: Sounds like an interesting family. Describe the family.

Auggie Dennis: Funny family. My family is great in that its being around that that I had a predilection for comedy. My mother is funny, my grandfather too and a deceased Uncle, funny crazy.

Auggie Dennis: I have 2 siblings; a brother and a sister .I am the eldest.

Comedy Empire: Educational Background?

Auggie Dennis: Dual degree from Nilai University, Malaysia and Oxford Brooke’s, UK, BBA in International Business. Had my High School education in St. John’s school,Sekondi.

Comedy Empire: With your academic background, do you use the degree or it’s just for the decoration

Auggie Dennis: Decorations

 Comedy Empire: So you’re a full time comedian?

Auggie Dennis: Yes. I have another one in marine engineering. That’s also decorations.

Auggie Dennis: Yeah, I am a full time comedian.

 Comedy Empire: What is it about comedy that you leave such huge money in the engineering sector for a growing industry

 Auggie Dennis: You know, it’s not always about money. Besides, I just added engineering to my skills. My real training is in international business. Comedy is my passion. I know comedians who gave up law school at HARVARD to be comedians. I haven’t given up much if you compare.

Comedy Empire: Academic comedian. Talking about passion, what inspires you?

 Auggie Dennis: Life and the way I perceive it. I try to live life with an intensity.

Jacinta and Augustin Dennis

 Comedy Empire: Who’s your favourite comedian in Ghana?

 Auggie Dennis: Jacinta. Besides the fact that she is funny, she is doing gallantly well in a male dominated arena. She brings an honesty in her craft, that’s original and unique.

Comedy Empire: She’d be glad to know. What of outside Ghana?

Auggie Dennis: Eddie Griffin is an idol for me Besides him, Matt Price, UK, Jonathan Atherton, Australia, he’s the one who taught me everything and lastly, Pete Johanson, Canadian comedian. I look up to them.

Comedy Empire: Aside comedy, it’s there anything you do especially as a hobby?

Auggie Dennis: I love reading. I am a FIFA freak also. Undoubtedly,the best game player alive.

 Comedy Empire: You sure? You’ve not met your ‘meeter’. 

Auggie Dennis: Everyone says that. I’m throwing a challenge to anyone.

Comedy Empire: Is Auggie dating?

Auggie Dennis: No, I’m very single and my Bluetooth is on. Searching for a compatible device nearby.

Comedy Empire: All the best with your search. Any last word of encouragement or appreciation to your supporters,fans and upcoming acts?

Auggie Dennis: Biggest appreciation goes to David Oscar, he was a beautiful spark that started it all and to James Brown, Jacinta,Pararan et al. They have been of tremendous help and glad to share this passion with them. To the upcoming acts, keep writing , you must be prepared for the worst but persistence will get you there.And thanks to Comedy Empire, you guys should keep up promoting comedy.

Comedy Empire: Thank you for granting us the audience. We wish you the very best.