Ladies and Gentlemen

It's Aki and Paw Paw!


Searching for Celebrities

If you want to do the crime without doing the time, you can't find a much better choice of wrongdoing than rioting. Rioting is a numbers game, the knowledge that 'they got the guns, but you got the numbers'. You have to be pretty wasted (or pretty darn unlucky) to get busted at a mid-sized riot. Also, belonging to a group crime carries a certain social cache, a night with the neighbors as it were.

Take Sierra Leone. Please. According to the AP

 "Thousands of fans rioted at Sierra Leone's national stadium Saturday when authorities substituted two local dwarf comedians for a widely anticipated out-of-town midget duo. Police arrested 30 people, amid damage and dozens of injuries."

See, only 30 busted out of thousands of rioters, and most of these were people who were trying to steal the stadium seats. (No details available, but who wants to bet that the seats were concrete?)

Now. speaking in defense of the rioters, it would be unfair of me to ignore the fact that the act that was cancelled was the rib-tickling team of Nigerian funnymen Aki and Paw Paw. I would have to assume that these are very funny midgets indeed for the crowd to have gotten this riled up.

What can we learn from this? First, any fool knows that dwarf comedians are nowhere near as funny as midget comedians. It's those stubby little fingers - they can be very distracting.

Secondly, and more importantly, Sierra Leone is really hurting for celebrities. I mean, really - I googled 'Aki and Paw Paw' and got no hits at all. Then I searched for Sierra Leone celebrities with the same dismal result. This tells me even more - not only does Sierra Leone have no decent celebrities, they have no decent celebrity journalists.

As an American, I am fortunate to live in a land where we have the greatest celebrities in the world. We have more celebrities than we could shake a stick at. I call on the leadership of this country to send some of our own fine celebrities to the deprived people of Sierra Leone. What a difference a Baldwin brother could make! Tina Yothers, you could be queen, baby. And Gary Coleman, what can I say? I think they're gonna love you.

2003, Mark Hoback

The Return of Aki and Paw Paw

Aki and Paw Paw first burst into my consciousness about four weeks ago. The miniature Nigerian Funnymen caused a heck of a riot in Sierra Leone by virtue of their absence, and I fully expected to be reading about their exploits for many days to come.

Alas, it was not to be. I searched for them, and could never find further information. Not even a picture, and lets face it, when you're writing about Nigerian midget comedians, you really have to have a picture. Was the story of the riot even true? I wrote it off, forgot about it. Until today, that is, when I discovered an amazing fact.

The little dudes aren't really named Aki and Paw Paw. Duh. Granted, Aki and Paw Paw is much easier to pronounce than Osita Iheme and Chinedu Ikedieze, but it does really complicate a search.

So, are Osita and Chinedu big time famous? I'll say. With 42 features available from Klub Afrika, they're on a pace to surpass even Michael Caine in the churning 'em out department. And hey my brother, these films are funny. Listen to this capsule review for 'Awilo Sharp-Sharp': "The added effect of the Comedy Twins Osita Iheme and Chinedu Ikedieze makes this an outstanding comedy... I wouldn't miss this comedy for anything. As if part 1 was not rib-cracking enough, they had to do part 2.... so therefore, rent both parts now."

I haven't seen the movies, but here a few of my favorite video covers.

'Lagos Boys', wherein Aki and Paw Paw really get on Dad's nerves with their crazy shenanigans. Dad (James Nelson) tells the boys that if they don't calm down he's going to break their little necks.

Uh-oh, looks like the jokes gonna be on Dad!

'House Boys for Sale', wherein Mom gets really put out over Aki and Paw Paw's non-stop mischief. Mom (June Wellington) takes the boys off to town where she attempts to trade them to the local people for a couple of pigs, or even a goat!

'Small Shit'. No synopsis available.

2003, Mark Hoback

All the World's a Stage, and We Are But Aki and Paw Paw: an opinion from Sheka Tarawallie.

The Aki and Paw Paw story was one of our very favorites of 2003, and now that we have learned the secret identities of these little guys, we will keep out ears finely tuned for all the A&PP news.

The following excerpts are from a column by Sheka Tarawallie that was posted in the OpEd section of The piece was taken from Sierra Leone's Concord Times, and is titled 'The Day the Nigerian Midget Comedians Came'.

I am not a fan of Nigerian movies - I must state from the outset, unequivocally. Since they started filtering into this country in the early/mid nineties, I have been one of the few journalists that raised a voice in protest for caution. The initial films were, to me, preposterous: full of myth, horror, superstition, and underworld activities. After much criticism, there was a change to films dealing with social issues. Films of intrigue, subterfuge, deception, greed, lust, robbery, twisted love subsequently carried the day.

The writer here is apparently a journalist who knows a great bit about cinema. A search for Sheka Tarawallie would suggest that he is the editor of Torchlight, an independent Sierra Leone newspaper that has been shut down from time to time by the government. World Press Review puts it like this:

The dilemma of a Sierra Leonean journalist is simple: Report for the rebels, and you are a collaborator, and the penalty is treason. Report for the government, and your punishment is summary execution if you are caught by Sankoh's RUF bandits.

This goes a long way towards explaining why Sheka is now writing about Aki and Paw Paw instead of human rights issues.

Eventually, Nigerian films (to the chagrin of Chinese and Indian or even American films) became a sine qua non in the daily existence of our nation. <Yes, we Americans have made many great films, but we cannot hold a candle to the artistry of Nigeria.> The various posters, scattered around town and even upcountry in mostly makeshift buildings, are often surrounded by on-lookers. In Sierra Leone's various homes, Nigerian actors and actresses have gained extra prominence popularity: Omotola, Ramsey, Emeka, and Genevieve are, to put it mildly, household names. And by coming to Sierra Leone, they have now become personal names - as parents name their children after these artists.

But two names (perpetually jointly called since we came to know them), Aki and Paw Paw, have risen above the household and the personal to enter into our national life, bringing a whole nation to a state of self-scrutiny and self-penury.

You know, I just don't think, at this point, that Sheka is gonna apologize for helping tear down the nice stadium that China built for Sierra Leone. You think they're coming back and building it again, Sheka? I dunno...

The destruction of our National Stadium last week cannot only be seen as an accident or a well-orchestrated occurrence; but should be viewed from the perspective of corroborative analysis and interpretation. Only recently have the Chinese rebuilt the stadium, why within months should Sierra Leoneans destroy it all of a sudden? Are we really all rebels? Was it a premeditated plan? Or was it spontaneous?

I am absolutely positive that I have stated my opinion on this many times before. I F*ING hate rhetorical questions. Don't hand me a goddamn rhetorical question or I'm liable to rip your head off... Maybe you would like to explain this all as a sports thing. You know, we have riots in this country after sports events. Just look at LA or Philly, after a big loss or a big win.

Football <i.e., soccer> suffered a fatal blow, only revived under NPRC rule. Thereafter, apart from the individual excellence of players, Sierra Leonean football dropped, and it became a byword. And then, just recently, we were eliminated by a Congolese side at home, throwing us away from international football for four - four bloody - years. <trashed! tossed away! no longer worthy! Redskins fans should riot too!> We bowed in shame. And the question became: what's the purpose of the stadium now?

Except for entertainment! Vicky Boy's Production came in to bring Nigerian actors - popular as they are - in Sierra Leone. The sensational duo, Aki and Paw Paw were coming to town The city was excited, particularly after the earlier appearance of Genevieve and co.

This is starting to look serious, isn't it? The stadium is alive, disastrously overloaded. People want to see the fucking Nigerian midgets. Funny sunofabitches, those two. Goddamn. Even though they're pushing forty, they still look like little kids. So cute in those shorts...

Expectations were high to see the live performance of the twin-like diminutive actors. Till twelve midnight - no Aki, no Paw Paw. They were still playing the MC game (like Saddam's Information Minister) when a chair flew from the presidential pavilion. It was the signatory tune. What followed was an outburst of anger and rage: glasses, panes, doors, lights, all breakables bore the brunt. Stadium in shambles. Again.

All breakables bore the brunt. Say it three times. Sounds fifty percent better than twice. It's a hit baby it's a smash. Did you expect anything less?

I didn't expect less. Had Sierra Leoneans gone to the stadium... and not seeing what they expected, and had just folded their hands and returned home in a docile manner, then I would have concluded that they were no longer human beings. Indeed human character makes room for anger and other emotions.

No longer human beings? Damn, that's strong. I kind of feel that you're piling on, you know?

If a needle is pierced through a human skin and the body does not react, then it must either be dead or dysfunctional... Anger is a human trait that may lead to disastrous consequences. Anger can make you kill even your loved one - only to regret later... This brings the question of, who led the people to anger to the extent that they would destroy what was - in actual fact - their own?

Goddamn, dude... You seem to be getting awfully upset about a couple of, uhh, very talented midgets. You know, we've got midgets over here in the states... Mini Me, and uh, there was Billy Barty, and all those other midgets, shitloads, yeah, Gary Coleman, that's one. And even though you rambled on a bit, I believe that was another rhetorical question.

Was it fair to treat a people in the manner that they were treated - hoodwinking them to believe that Aki and Paw Paw were coming, and then all they saw was Kontiki theatre, this theatre, that theatre?

Our national life needs to be re-examined, but in this whole game of 419 politics and socialization, it is the poor, innocent people that are being led to the slaughter. 40- something of them have now been lined up for prosecution as those that destroyed the stadium. They may be sent to jail, all in the name of setting an example. However, if we want to set an example, I believe, it should be directed at those who say things that they cannot do - who always fool the people.

You're an angry guy, aren't you Sheka? I dunno. You guys destroyed a stadium that provided at least a little bit of entertainment for the people. Okay. They tried to fool you with some native midgets. But aren't all midgets equally funny?

Aki and Paw Paw are two characters known for their intrigues, and their relish in destroying others' plans. Their preoccupation in virtually all films is to make a normal situation abnormal, in a satirical, ironic way - as it has now happened with the stadium saga. The people had been seeing Aki and Paw Paw play tricks on other people's fortunes over and over. So, on that fateful day, when the two could not come, the people remembered and instead decided to play the two mischievous actors' parts. In a sense, Aki and Paw Paw came - metaphysically: they entered into the people's minds and started acting a film that I can call, "Aki and Paw Paw in Sierra Leone".

Metaphysically, huh? I'll bet that everyone in Sierra Leone is pissed as shit at those little guys now.

Of course this incident has not dampened Sierra Leoneans love for Nigerian films. It has even aroused the interests of the formerly indifferent and disinterested. Therefore the Aki and Paw Paw show that never was could be the best publicity stunt for Nigerian - and Sierra Leonean - actors and actresses so far.

Are you guilty? Did you destroy your stadium? Are you a moron? Do you really think that the people of Sierra Leone should adapt the rambunctious antics of Aki and Paw Paw? Should we tell the DPP?

Please tell the DPP that the people were just acting when they destroyed the stadium - and no one should be arrested (in real life) for just playing his/her role in a movie - whether in breaking a chair or taking it away. After all, the government has also played its part as the unwatchful watchman.

Thanks for the ganja, Sheka! Look, a little advice. Toss in an incendiary but incomprehensible remark about terrorism. I'll edit it for you - just leave that bag on the counter.

Though two of the organizers have now been caught, it still leaves much to be desired from the government that Osama Bin laden could just appear one day in a clean shave proclaiming himself as a John Kamara and then we give him Lumley beach to do his thing. And then at that time more than sixty million leones would be lost!

That is truly a lot of leones!

2004, Mark Hoback


Real Cold News Stories
: Man Eats Paw Paw!!!

Okay, there's nothing new on the midget Nigerian funnymen, so how about this breaking news on a guy named Jaya Dev Orwin who was fined  for eating a paw paw? We get the story from The Age in Australia.
Seems like homeless Jaya Dev Orwin just doesn't know what's good for him. Police decided to teach him a lesson, fining him $25 after he flagrantly stole and consumed a paw paw which had fallen from a tree in a Brisbane backyard. Orwin ain't got no twenty-five dollars.

Police cornered Jaya, who was described as a 'starving disability pensioner', as he was finishing the last pieces of the fruit.

It gets worse.

The 26-year-old, who suffers Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and dyslexia, emerged barefoot from the watchhouse after his brief court appearance. He pleaded guilty to a charge of being found unlawfully in a yard at Appleby Road, Stafford Heights, on Brisbane's north side.

Outside the court, Orwin said that before his arrest he had slept overnight in a nearby park after walking more than 15km from the city. He said he had no money after unsuccessful efforts to get an advanced dole payment from Centrelink.

He was found with "remnants" of the paw paw around his mouth.

Caught with the meat in his mouth! Ain't no mollycoddling of your ne're do wells in Brisbane. And what sort of lame ass excuse do you think this dyslexic, ADH disorder having, barefoot, broke, disabled, and thieving motherfucker tried to pass off in an effort to gain sympathy from the bleeding hearts?

 "I have been really hungry before and you go a bit scattered." Oh boo hoo. I guess we're supposed to feel sorry for someone who would abscond with a paw paw just because it fell out of a tree. "I have been so hungry I have felt like stabbing someone." Violent as well as a bum. I say lock the cell and throw away the key.

"Everyone has got to eat because you can't walk around with nothing in your guts. The paw paw really fixed me up and they weren't even ripe."

Tell it to the hand, Orwin.

2004, Mark Hoback