Churchill Show: Transgressing language codes and upsetting stereotypes
Cultural productions on television and/or online platforms are immensely prolific at expressing the peoples’ every day and the historical. They provide platforms on which actors express themselves on their own terms, in their own language codes and styles with little censure. With the proliferation of digital technologies and the advent of the internet and attendant new media, the production, circulation, and consumption of cultural texts on the (Eastern) African scene has radically shifted and continues to grow in ways unimagined before. In Kenya specifically, with an exponential growth of television channels, numerous local cultural productions continue to burgeon, carrying with them a constellation of voices that are representative of the country’s socio-cultural and linguistic diversity. These productions not only entertain, but also explore critical issues in Kenyan society and beyond. Among them is Churchill Show, which through an aesthetics of escapism, (re)narrates quotidian events and recuperates and (re)interprets the country’s historical trajectory. Moreover, the show oftentimes embodies a political aesthetics cloaked in postmodern humour that serves to recalibrate common/sensical perceptions as well as the regimented practices and ways of knowing. Thus, the show transgresses language codes and upsets socio-psychological stereotypes, for which it is often condemned, to shape a new notion of ‘Kenyanness’.
Keywords: Churchill Show, aesthetics of escapism, transglossia, political aesthetics, postmodern humour, ‘Kenyanness’.