An entertainment pundit Isaac Kyei Andoh has named popular Kumawood actor Agya Koo as a living legend and arguably the greatest actor to grace our screens and provide revival for Ghana’s then dying movie industry adter the death of Bob Santo in 2001
When Santo died in 2001, the Ghana Movie Industry ‘died’. This is because for years, Santo and his bosom friend, Judas became the face of our movie industry.
His death created a vacuum and the Nigerian movies capitalised on it. Those were the days, Mr Ibi, Sam Loko, Osofia and Aki and Popo became household names.
Then out of nowhere came Agya Koo, not that he was a novice in the entertainment industry, far from it. Agya Koo became the face of Ghana Comedy in the late 90s and won many awards including the comedian of the year on three occasions.
The transition from stand up comedy to mainstream movies though is a huge step, a step he would take so easily without showing a single sign of screen butterflies.
Within a short time, Kofi Adu as he is affectionately called would become a household name, the face of the industry and largely, the reason people would want to buy a Ghanaian movie CD.
Agya Koo didn’t have to say a word to make people laugh, all he needed to was to take his trademark walk and that was enough to get people rolling on the floor in laughter. His style of acting, though comical was largely devoid of plain insults, he used smart ways to put what should be an insult such that required smart minds to decode.
Constant on television screens, Agya Koo lightened the homes of people and carried an entire movie industry almost singlehandedly. Almost because we can make a case for the likes of Mercy Asiedu, Nana Ama Mc Brown, Akrobeto and others. However, even his number one critic would admit that it was upon the shoulders of Agya Koo that industry rested.
Movies without him were called pooley in Kumasi and it took just a handful to make it without him.
Like it is with revivalists, they serve a purpose, once that purpose is fulfilled, they leave the scene. Such people don’t need to be on top forever, their purpose was one of renaissance, once it is achieved, they have achieved considerable success. Success not just measured by longevity but impact.
Agya didn’t leave the scene perse, he didn’t go off our screens. However, after almost 5 years of dominance, he faced a new enemy, competition, new talents emerged, cheaper, hungrier and like it is with new wine, more craved.
It was convenient to move past the old soldier who had brought back the kingdom to prominence, expensive to maintain but no longer with the strength to keep the enemy in fear. Not that he was done, not that he wasn’t doing well, change was needed for the new phase, a change he perhaps didn’t take well or one that was too unexpected for him to prepare against.
Instead of becoming the father of something he had ‘birthed and nurtured’ he became it’s protagonist for some reasons not necessary in this article.
Today, all that matters is and in his time, etched himself into the history books of Ghana’s Entertainment space, he remains one of our best actors of all time and with very little argument, Kumawood’s greatest ever.
We can look back at the work this man did to make Kumawood not just a household name but a means of livelihood for hundreds and be proud that indeed, he is the typical case of came, saw and beat them all.
He made it possible, he proved that quality Ghanaian contents are capable of capturing the attention of Ghanaians, he proved that local comedy could be done devoid of plain ‘kwasia nne aboa’ insult.
People like Agya Koo have their weakness that if care is not taken, their good deeds that far eclipse their weakness would rather be the key reference point of the lives they lived. That should not be the story of this hero we all came to love, the skinny young man who used his style of walking alone to reduce depression.
I am picturing the image of a walking drunk Agya Koo, the image of Agya Koo proposing to a lady, the image of old soldier Agya Koo and that fantastic replay of Osofia’s ‘My in-law” with Nana Ama McBrown.
I can only be grateful that all these unfolded at a time when I was matured enough to appreciate it’s significance to be able to relay it to you, my sons and daughters. (pun intended)
When the history of Ghana’s entertainment is written, and the names of those who contributed immensely to the glory days are being remembered, the name Kofi Adu, aka Agya Koo, aka Gbidam, should be written with gold ink.
Isaac Kyei Andoh