Gerald Langiri’s naughty comedy on Showmax
The star of hit Kenyan comedy Fundimentals, who also plays Nico in the series Stay, tells us about his risqué career choices and why he thinks internet TV is the future.
Gerald Langiri is a clown, put him in front of a camera and anything can happen. I mean, anything legal. Google him, he is that daring. And if he is ever in trouble, he would rather call Suits’ Harvey Spectre than Ray Donovan. Langiri is perhaps best known for his role in the risqué Kenyan comedy House of Lungula but that is changing as he explores new frontiers. He lets us in on his interesting world of bold comedy.
Alternative avenues to showcase our content are very much welcome. Especially content that mainstream media will deem not family-friendly, which is the case with the movie Fundimentals. Also, I feel like traditional TV is dying or will be left to very few people. In this fast-paced internet world, people want to watch content at their own leisure. Pause, rewind and re-watch and SVOD platforms like Showmax cater for this exact niche market with a vast array of content to choose from.
Fundimentals was quite popular when it first came out. Tell us more about the movie. What is so special about it?
Fundimentals was an amazing project and yes, the reception was quite refreshing as well. We all know of someone calling themselves a fundi – someone who does absolutely nothing even though they pretend they work very hard. It’s like fundis all read from the same book. So when a movie touching on that story came out, people were very receptive to it. Add the play of words from Fundamentals to Fundimentals, and Alex Konstantaras [director of the movie] hit the jackpot with this one.
What did it take to play such a naughty role in Fundimentals? Did you have any reservations in the beginning?
I think I have played more risqué roles than the one I played in Fundimentals. House of Lungula, for example, was a movie in which I was almost completely naked and very vulnerable. So Fundimentals honestly wasn’t that taxing. However, there are scenes in the movie I definitely had reservations about. But I guess telling myself repeatedly “I am an actor” really helped. Besides, I really can’t complain seeing it got me nominated for two international awards.
About the awards: you were nominated for Best Actor at the Nigerian Entertainment Awards in 2015 and also the prestigious Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards as Best Actor in a Comedy in 2015 as well. Did they have influence on your career?
First of all, I was ecstatic. Especially for the AMVCAs nomination that had me travelling to Nigeria for the award show. My first time in the land of fufu. I view awards as another platform to push and market your brand as an actor and these awards did exactly that. I became known in the Nigerian market and made a few connections and contacts while there. People have more respect for actors with such accolades in their careers.
Let’s settle this once and for all: between Fundimentals and House of Lungula, which one is your favourite role?
House of Lungula. I’ll always have a soft spot for this movie because it was my first ever full feature film project and I was playing the lead.
In the TV show Stay, you play Nico, a very comical and somewhat clueless guy who gives us some of the best moments of the show. What do you like most about this role?
The fact that I can be silly and dumb. And just for the record, it takes someone intelligent to play dumb. Nico as a character is multi-layered, happy on the outside but fighting his own demons on the inside. You know those loyal servants who will always smile and say “Yes, sir” just to save face, but are struggling? There is more about him revealed in Season 2, when he gets a girlfriend and a child … whom he loses.
What can you say to the people who have never watched Stay?
It’s a Kenyan production with an international appeal and amazing talent, including Mkamzee Mwatela, Jason Corder, Joed Ngaruiya and superstars like Kaz, Adelle Onyango and Kingwa Kamencu, just to mention but a few. Stay is a family drama that breaks the race barrier and teaches that love knows no colour or race.
Humour seems to be your strongest suit, as we have observed in your movies and shows. Why is that?
Who doesn’t love to laugh? I love to laugh. I can describe myself as a bubbly, smiling chap, so I guess my first genre of movies would be comedy.
First off, July 16 (premiere date for Season 7) cannot be any further. It’s good news, especially to those who haven’t watched it yet, because they now have a chance to watch all the previous episodes.
Game of Thrones aside, what show would you like to watch on Showmax?
Shit Happens? Tell us more about that!
Yes, I have a web series titled Shit Happens that is on YouTube, we’ve just released the fifth episode. I am really excited about it because I am directing, co-producing and acting in it as well. With a great team behind me, the web series has been officially selected at the Rolda Web Festival in Colombia. It is also getting a lot of good reviews from fans.