Daniel Ndambuki, popularly known as “Churchill” is a Kenyan comedian who runs and manages the Churchill Show that is aired on various television platforms and YouTube. The Comedian was born in Kitui County on October 30, 1977, but later relocated to Machakos. Churchill kick-started his journey in comedy in 1996 and his show has since become a household name in Kenya up to date.
The highly seasoned comedian went to Mumbuni High School in Machakos and after his secondary studies, Dan Ndambuki received an offer to study drama at the Chicago University but he declined the opportunity and decided to further his education locally, at Daystar University.
Journey to the top
Churchill’s talent began garnering recognition when he showcased his comedic skills in a show titled Redykyulass, which was a humorous local TV drama series that highlighted the uncommon lives of Kenyans and governmental issues by using satirical comedy.
Together with Kajairo, Mudomo Baggy, and Nyambane, they also created “Red Kona” and he slowly became a major player in the comedy industry. Churchill also works as the CEO of his entertainment company Laugh Industry Kenya.
Because of his talent, Churchill landed an opportunity on TV and it was dubbed as his stage name The Churchill show which has been running for the past 17 years. Despite running his popular TV show as a solo comedian, he managed to pull large crowds and make rib-cracking jokes and stunts to his live audiences. Due to high demands and the increasing popularity of his show, Churchill decided to introduce other legendary comics like Eric Omondi among others to join him in sharing jokes for payment and exposure. In a bid to help exceptionally talented entertainers, Churchill launched the first national comic drama star show ‘The Top Comic.’
Churchill natured and established his own brand of stand-up comedy and also managed to stay relevant and afloat by cracking many Kenyan ribs with his relatable and “clean”, family-friendly shows. He has gained respect and love from comedians and audiences in Kenya because of relevancy and also creating a platform for upcoming comedians and talents.
The production of one episode of Churchill Show aired on NTV and Maisha Magic East every week and Churchill Raw every Thursday, is estimated to be around Ksh 1.5 million. Additionally, advanced tickets to a single stand-up comedy show in Carnivore restaurant is Ksh. 1,000 and 500 for VIP and regular respectively. The charges vary and cost more when the shows are held in other Kenyan counties and locations.
Contrary to other comedians and entertainers, the comedian’s romantic and family life is never publicized on social media or anything alike. He justified his decision for privacy in an interview by saying;
At some point after giving all my life to the public as I have done, I will jump into private life with the people who have been pushing me from behind,’ he said.
The comedian believes that public figures and celebrities ought to keep their families in a private sphere, especially children, away from media trolls and the public eye so they can live their lives and pursue their dreams on their own terms and preferences. He is a proud father to a beautiful wife called Mwongeli and a son.
Estimated earnings, net-worth and property
Also known as Mwalimu King’ang’i on radio, Churchill has different avenues of income and wealth. Through his multi-million business ventures, some of his shows are the Churchill Show, Churchill Raw, Ultimate Comedy aired on Maisha Magic East Reality Show, Kids Festival, and at Classic which 105 he hosts a radio show alongside Maina Kageni.
According to the online platform Standard Digital, Churchill rakes in Ksh. 1,000,000 before taxes. The Comedian also has many show sponsors who pay him huge amounts of money to have their items advertised in the show. Cumulatively, Churchill’s monthly earnings from his different shows are estimated at 1.2 million and his net worth is around Ksh. 50 million.
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Controversies and criticism
Recently a few Kenyan comedians anonymously disclosed that Churchill underpays or fails to pay his stand-up comedians and most of them end up leading low-income lives as long as they worked under him. A comedian who is known as Rapcha Sayantist once tweeted;
I’ll say this again every comedian that performs at Churchill show will die poor, mark this tweet….imeniuma kaa kutairi,”
Other Comedians exposed the legend and said that his Churchill Show TV platform was exploitative to upcoming comedians. Comedian Rapcha also claimed that Churchill also pays comedians who make appearances on his show Ksh 4,000 monthly allegedly.
Despite being a household name in Kenya, Daniel Ndambuki and his shows have endured prolonged criticism as some audiences feel the show’s comedians lack creativity and mostly thrive on stereotypical and ethnic jokes. In response to the critiques, Churchill clarified that comedy revolves around one’s environment and it should be taken lightly.
You cannot talk about an Eskimo and you’ve never seen one. We strive to see the lighter side of life.
Achievements and contributions
Dan Ndambuki was the first Kenyan to hit 1,000,000 likes on his Facebook page due to his popularity and huge fan base in Kenya and beyond. The comedian has also mentored many comedians through his Churchill Show platform that has managed to succeed through the test of time despite the frequent changes in the Kenyan entertainment industry.
Other than mentoring upcoming comedians and budding talents, he has also created life-changing employment opportunities for those who work under him at the Laugh Industry for example his production team who work behind the scenes to keep his show up and running. The Laugh Industry Brand has grown by numbers and brand awareness thus many awards and recognition in the country.
Churchill has also helped many Kenyans undergoing difficulties in their lives and has more than once used his TV show to air the challenges different people have faced and also convinced his various audiences into contributing funds for charitable causes.
Under Laugh Industry, he runs various projects that have natured both children and adults alike;
Through Kids Festival, Churchill has managed to win the hearts of Kenyan children and different families by hosting a weekly TV segment on Churchill show titled “Toto’s corner” and also the organization and hosting the Kids Festival which attracts a turnout of thousands of Kids and families.
Churchill Show has additionally featured influential personalities, politicians, and big entertainment names in the industry thus keeping his audiences entertained with variety.
Churchill is indeed the King of mentorship that is evident through his Churchill Academy that has expanded the comedy industry in East Africa by seeking and nurturing young talents through training. Through his talent scouting program dubbed Top Comic, he has managed to use his Churchill Show and Churchill Raw as a growth platform for new brands and talents.
Churchill Academy has managed to create 73 new comedians that have been received well into the entertainment industry and have become household names after intense training and mentorship.