COMEDIAN, GENEVAN, CHAMPION
Kuhle “Kay” Damba, a computer science major at Webster Geneva, is the kind of guy who can spark up a genuine performance at the lunch table without intending to. People who barely know him gather to listen to his humorous outbursts on campus and in classes.
“I got into it by accident, really,” Damba says.
Thanks to Damba’s comical reputation, Webster’s Got Talent organizer, Heidi Mostafa, invited him to participate in the annual competition. Damba took the opportunity — but in his own approach. Unlike everyone else who went through auditions two weeks prior to the event, Damba signed up the day before the show.
“I had no script, I had nothing — I was going to go on stage and wing it,” Damba says.
Not only did Damba talk over the time limit, he was not aware it should have been “PG-13.” His set offended quite a lot of people in the audience, but somehow he won!
The next time Mostafa came up to Damba it was to invite him to Webster Europe — the final stage of the competition. Damba was to compete with the winners from other European campuses. Still consumed by the initial victorious euphoria and genuine surprise, Damba headed to Vienna. He was explicitly instructed not to swear or go over time, and to have notes — it was good advice indeed, which Damba instantly rejected in his head.
“In stand up comedy, the technique is to go back and forth between jokes,” Damba says.
Damba focused instead on his jokes, not wanting to forget them, which could lose momentum of the performance. Despite not following the rules, his humor was captivating enough to win the show once again. He returned the following year to assert his dominance and win again.
“That was the second show, the third show was another Webster’s Got Talent, where I won again!” Damba says. “I did not expect to win again.”
Damba was reminded not to swear, but having a final exam right before the event did not help his mood. He went out on stage and promised to swear only once, which was a spectacular feat indeed. For his fourth and last show he went to the finals again and expected he would lose. But yet again he was victorious.
Following Damba’s comical triumphs, professional comedian and judge at the second competition, Arthur Joachim, suggested that Damba might have a real chance in comedy. Damba disagreed.
“Hell no!” he joked. In his eyes, performing on stage is much more nerve-wracking than performing at the lunch table.
Damba has considered YouTube blogging — so there is still hope for his talent — but Computer Science is his calling for now.
Story by Andrey Belous
Photos by Julia Peschel
Belous is a contributing writer from the Webster Geneva campus.