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Olexander Josphat: I quit bank job for comedy

Veteran comedian Peter Sankale popularly known by the stage name Olexander Josphat has shared his experience in the industry including how he elected to quit a banking job so as to take go into full comedy.

In an interview on Churchill Show at the weekend, the heavily built Sankale, known for his humorous Maasai accent on TV, says it was a decision that shocked many, including his parents and church elders.

“I left banking for comedy and that was a disaster on the home front, my mother was not happy,” he explains.

“She told everybody ‘my son has left banking, a job that makes him don a tie and suit every day and going to do some funny things that I don’t understand on TV. Is making people laugh a job?’ Then the old men in my village, and in church, also asked me to explain myself. They thought I was losing it.”

On his comedy roots, Sankale explains; “I have a history. I was named best actor in standard one during parents day. My gift on the day was an exercise book, a pencil and a rubber. When I finished college, an uncle connected me with a job as a teller at (the now-defunct) Panafric Bank.”

“One manager at the bank named Gitonga called me one time and said ‘Peter you are a very funny man. Have you ever acted? In fact, do you know any person in Vitimbi or Vioja Mahakamani?’ I said ‘yes, I watch them. I know (TV comedians) Ojwang, Masanduku’. He asked me to go and look for them, he told me ‘you have a talent that can be nurtured’.”

“I later met marehemu Masaku and he organised auditions for me with Vitimbi and Vioja Mahakamani (shows) in one place, the producers were very happy. I started at Vitimbi. I was mesmerised. They asked me ‘young man what can you do?’ I said I can bring a Maasai accent to the show. Someone asked ‘does it have comedy?’ That was the beginning of a long journey.”

Sankale is reported to have commenced his journey in comedy with a Sh10,000 monthly salary at Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) three decades ago.

He now reportedly takes home close to half a million shillings on a good month.

These proceeds coming from his leading roles in two TV shows on KTN Home, plus also having leading roles in TV and radio adverts, and Emcee jobs, especially at weddings.  “I was once invited to the USA to emcee at a wedding involving a Kenyan woman,” he recalls.