Raw and Unkut 3: Rapcha's stand up special

Right to Left: Comedian Doug Mutai, podcaster Ian Thiongo aka Ian the legend himself, Hip hop artist, radio presenter and podcast host Makarios Ouma aka Mwafreeka, Comedian, actor, media personality Francis Kibe aka Rapcha the Sayantist, Comedian Kelvin Mwalimu, Comedian Steve Kyalo and Comedian Stan during Raw and Unkut 3 that happened at Nairobi Cinema on December 16, 2023. PHOTO | POOL

A football fan shows dedication by buying team merchandise, watching all games, and discussing the team whenever the opportunity arises. However, a true fan takes it further by getting a tattoo of their team's name or even naming their children after their favourite players. 

Now, shifting gears to comedy, particularly Rapcha the Sayantist and his stand-up special Raw and UnKut 3 that took place at the Nairobi Cinema over the weekend. Rapcha, like a true dedicated comedy fan, named his children after two legendary comedians, Richard Pryor and Dave Chappelle. This choice reflects Rapcha's profound respect and attitude towards the art of comedy outside his skill as an actor, presenter, and podcaster.

Raw and Unkut

Rapcha the Sayantist debuted his first stand-up in 2009, pioneering a comedic style largely unseen in the country at that time. As the "dude of nare" (man of fire), he was undeniably ahead of his time, presenting a form of comedy unfamiliar to most Kenyans. But words can only convey so much—I strongly recommend watching that first stand-up on YouTube.


Preceding the main act, three emerging comedians took the stage, showcasing fresh faces in the comedy scene. While some aspects of their performances resonated, others fell short.

Doug, serving as the MC/hypeman, commanded the stage effortlessly, he clearly is comfortable and familiar with engaging the audience. His opening material effectively hyped up the show, setting its overall tone.
Kelvin Mwalimu appeared unassuming at first glance, yet his brief stage time proved immensely entertaining with self-deprecating humour and clever setups that led to satisfying punchlines. Although some of his material felt scripted, his potential for natural delivery seems promising given more time on stage.

Stan's set heavily revolved around sex and relationships, but despite moments of humour, his set lacked thoughtful execution and impactful punchlines. His confidence in delivery sometimes compensated for awkwardness in his material.

Steve Kyalo kept moving across the stage, trying to engage everyone. Akin to Kelvin's self-deprecating humour, Steve's was slightly different because he made his sets a bit more relatable. Some of his material took time to land but ultimately struck a chord and when they did, they were even funnier. Although he made an effort to engage the crowd, his delivery confidence requires improvement, as his performance at times felt more akin to an actor playing a comedian.

The main event

After 14 years, this man hasn't lost his comedic touch. If you recall his first stand-up, you'd notice he's still rocking his suit, although with a few updates. His energy and sharpness remain, but in this particular performance, he displayed boldness and a more refined, mature demeanour.

Rapcha has undeniably mastered his craft, seamlessly transitioning in this stand-up from everyday experiences to life anecdotes to witty political commentary. His performance was narrative-driven, skillfully weaving humour and punchlines into meticulously crafted stories. For avid Iko Nini fans, some tales might have been familiar, yet witnessing him narrate these stories made the entire experience uniquely special.

The material

The initial segment of the show centred on examining Kenya's two major pandemics in the last two decades. Yes, you guessed it, two pandemics—Covid-19 being one, while the second one, often overlooked, took the performance in a completely different direction. While the Covid-19 stories were intriguing, it's the exploration of the second pandemic that shifted the narrative.

Rapcha steered the show towards his own experiences, transitioning from material involving his mother's name to humorous jabs at the first Kenyan gay couple. As the performance progressed into its middle and final acts, Rapcha delved into grounded and intimate stories, focusing on the challenges of making a livelihood and sharing experiences from the ghetto. From fake pastors to mocking fraudulent witch doctors, Rapcha adeptly engaged the audience with well-timed punchlines and occasional physical humour throughout the hour-and-a-half stand-up special.

Perhaps through meticulous preparation or the comfort gained from experience, the man appeared at ease on stage. He exhibited a comfortable demeanor, occasionally pausing to take sips of water, yet pacing his delivery adeptly. His performance maintained consistent energy throughout, skillfully keeping the crowd engaged.

Despite some jokes occasionally pushing boundaries, Rapcha displayed a keen ability to gauge the crowd's reception. He adeptly adjusted his content, either scaling back or subtly transitioning to different themes as needed.


The shortcomings mostly lie beyond the performers' acts. First, I felt the team managing the show was somewhat relaxed about timing. Additionally, while a stand-up comedian thrives mainly on the stage, a little more consideration on the backdrop choice would have been appreciated. 

Yes, Nairobi Cinema isn't in its prime condition, but a brief consultation with an interior designer might have yielded a more appealing stage setup. The reality remains that Nairobi Cinema requires renovation; enduring three hours in uncomfortable seating without air conditioning and being greeted by the musty smell from old carpets hardly qualifies as a pleasant experience


Kenyan stand-up comedy is currently in an intriguing and thrilling phase. If you haven't already, now is the ideal moment to join in, given the combined efforts of both seasoned veterans and up-and-coming talents in the scene.

Raw and Unkut 3 provided a genuinely fulfilling experience, particularly for Iko Nini fans who had eagerly anticipated this show for a considerable time. Overall, it stood out as a proper stand-up special devoid of gimmicks or background music to accentuate punchlines. It was just one man captivating an audience for nearly two hours.

Additionally, it's worth praising his inclusion of emerging comedians, and I'm hopeful that we'll witness more of his stand-up shows in the future.

X: @stanslausmanthi

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