A stand-up comedy like never before


Members of the standup comedy ensemble, Because You Said Son, performing at Braeburn Theatre, February 10, 2023. PHOTO | MARGARETTA WA GACHERU | NMG

Because you said so is stand-up comedy as you’ve never seen before.

That is unless you are a fan, which is what most people become once they attend even one of the shows this organic ensemble of creatives has staged since they first came together back in 2018.

BYSS is a marvellous team of artists who perform something few have heard of called ‘improv’ theatre, short for improvisation.

That means they have no script and no rehearsal time. All eight members come from different backgrounds, yet they know each other well so they can intuit each other’s movements and moods.

They can empathize with their feelings such that when they came on stage last Friday night at Braeburn Theatre Gitanga Road, they immediately took off like a rocket, guided only by one conductor, Yafesi Musoke, who suggested ‘segments’ that they had loosely planned.

From there, the team would take off on an uproarious trek into all forms of theatrical antics.


Cast members Elsaphan Njora and Patricia Kihoro from 'Because you said so' ensemble with volunteers from the audience at Braeburn Gitanga Theatre, February 10, 2023. PHOTO | MARGARETTA WA GACHERU | NMG

They went from rap to role play, theatre of the absurd to lip-syncing their favourite love songs, especially in light of the upcoming Valentine’s Day.

And through it all, their audience was fully engaged.

From the moment they asked for names of audience members who’d be part of their first rap session, many shouted out names like ‘Brenda’, ‘Tasha’, and ‘Anita’, each of whom saw all seven throwing themselves into rapper mode as they swayed and swung into snappy word-games that delighted the house-full crowd.


Mugambi Nthiga takes his turn in Because you said so with cast at Braeburn Gitanga Theatre, February 10, 2023'. PHOTO | MARGARETTA WA GACHERU | NMG

So much so that when two volunteers from the audience were requested, Anita and ‘a guy’ rushed up on stage, only to become objects incorporated into BYSS’s next segment on ‘attending an art gallery.’

I who do that same thing often was particularly impressed when two by two they’d come and critique the ‘abstract art’ that the volunteers had become.

It was even more hilarious when Anita and Kaguy began to mirror the two critics, following them around as if they too could improvise just as well as the team.

Some segments met with more success than others, but all combined physical comedy and in some cases, acrobatics as when Justin Karuguru (who is not a small guy) would role and flip, or when June Gachie made her point plain by literally lifting her partner onto her back (like a good mama tea picker) and walking him off the stage like a potato sack.

 Picking segments that most people could identify with included BYSS’s ‘Back to School’ journey.

It was a time when someone among them would pick up the theme, become ‘Mwalimu’ and give a mini-monologue.

The school got named by K1 Kevin Maina. He called it ‘Cheers Baba School’ for some silly reason.

Then each member stood up and give an even funnier, more absurd perspective on the school until Patricia Kihoro praised the school to the hilt.

Graduating from Cheers Baba was proof of absolute genius.

But then, the next segment got even crazier. Musoke pulled out a box of gadgets and deemed their technological devices, but they were nothing more than throw-away objects like bathroom plungers and rusty tripods.

What was required to enjoy BYSS was imagination, an ability to join in on their improvised journey and to enjoy the absurd humour that mixed up charm and charisma with splendid jokes and wit, spontaneity and theatrical talent that brought together artists like Mugambi Nthege, Jason Runo, Elsaphan Njoro, and Patricia Kihoro with June Gachie, Justin Karuguru and Kevin K1 Maina.

When the segment on Super Gonorrhea came up, BYSS cast went hyper-hilarity, using those odd ‘gadgets’ as magical rods and plungers as magical means of eliminating the abhorrent disease.

June Gachie’s suggestion was especially outrageous.


Cast members of standup comedy ensemble, Because you said so, at Braeburn Theatre Gitanga Road, February 10, 2023. PHOTO | MARGARETTA WA GACHERU | NMG

But then, as we approached the finale scene, the cast dashed off stage to change for their performances of their favourite song to be sung in karaoke styled lip-sync.

Yafasi was first and performed the most impassioned display that combined perfect timing and expression with such graceful movement you might’ve mistaken him for a contemporary dancer.

Then came Mugambi with a fierce display of fiery love that brought him down into the audience and made Anita almost faint!

Such freedom on the part of everyone in the BYSS cast is why you must admire them for not just their physical comedy but their lively imagination and capacity to play off one another and swing into such surprising moves and moods that everyone should know this is improvisation at its best.

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