21 Dec

Chicago’s Comic: Ak Dans

Q: What inspired you to start stand-up comedy?

A: A friend inspired me, actually. I was in the kitchen with a friend of mine. He was cooking and I was seated in the kitchen talking. He was laughing the whole time. I didn’t know I was funny. I just thought he was in a good mood. So at the end of the meal, he asked me to join comedy and boom! A week later, I met my new love which is stand-up comedy. For that, I always advise people to surround themselves with friends that can help you find your destiny and cause in life.

Q: Describe your first performance.

A: My first performance was amazing. It took four months of mentorship before I stepped on stage. Timothy J. Nyanzi is a comedian in Uganda who conducts weekly rehearsals on Tuesdays where he helps new comics with their material and equips them with other skills. He recommends performing when you have at least five solid minutes. He says he does this because he doesn’t want to see young comics feel miserable and quit after a bad first time. He’s been mentoring voluntarily for the past four years and has produced a lot of successful comics, including myself.

Q: Do you have “pre-show” rituals? If so, what are they?

A: I say my country’s name “South Sudan” out loud before going on stage. It reminds me why I can’t afford to fail. I’m not just doing this for myself.

Q: Where in the world is your favorite place to perform stand-up? Why is this your favorite place?

A: Kubby’s Open Mic at Kubby’s Bar and Restaurant in Uganda. This is where all my dreams were validated. As a young comic, nobody was willing to risk having me on their stage. But this place embraced me and my peers that were growing. I grew with the mic and performed all my jokes there and by the time I started to tour around, I was well equipped. I still go there to do my jokes. It’s the only place in the world where I don’t need to be booked. I just show up like Angel Gabriel to Mary.

Q: What are three of your favorite things?

A: I love being nice to people. I love staying humble. I even asses my brain at night before going to bed to see who I was rude to just in case. I love helping as well. I love traveling and dancing.

Q: What is your favorite sammich?

A: Peanut butter and Kota.

Q: What’s one thing people assume about you, that is or isn’t true?

A: People think I’m funny which is not true because I am Very Funny.

Q: If you weren’t a comic, what other job would you love to do?

A: A soldier just like my dad. Specifically a Field Marshal.

Q: What are some comedy goals/dreams you have on your To Do List?

A: Tour my comedy special ”The Woke Refugee” around the world and inspire other refugees and show them that they can be what they want to be. You just have to embrace your story and use it positively to inspire others. I would also love to mentor as many comedians as possible and be able to return the favor. And most importantly, I want to stay humble no matter how successful I become.

Q: What quality, trait and/or body part do you really like about your-self?

A: My teeth (smile).

Q: What’s one thing you wish more people knew about you? [or anything else you’d like mentioned, i.e. your education, personal life or mission statement]

A: I was born in a refugee camp under tough conditions. I somehow made it out as a comedian. Don’t let your past hinder you from becoming anything you want. I slept in the camp with no food and few clothes. But now those stories are putting food on my table and dressing me. Use your past to create your future. I only wish my countrymen knew how hard I work. I wish they knew the sacrifices I make and the risks I take to put South Sudan on the map of the comedy world. Perhaps they would also try hard to play their role in making it a better place.

Q: How will you know you “Made It?”

A: When I get to perform at the Laugh Factory and perform “The Woke Refugee” at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.


  • 12.31.2018 – Nawab’s Asian Bistro in Kampala, Uganda (John Babiha (Acacia) Ave.)
  • February 2019 – “The Woke Refugee” – Juba, South Sudan


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