Comedy

Meet Aba Amuquandoh—the newest and youngest player in This Hour Has 22 Minutes

CBC’s This Hour has 22 Minutes returned this month with Season 28. The award-winning comedy series introduces some fresh faces in its new season, including featured talent Aba Amuquandoh.

CBC’s This Hour has 22 Minutes introduces some fresh faces in its new season, including this featured talent.

Aba Amuquandoh in 22 Minutes’ new season (CBC)

A Toronto-based actress, writer and standup comedian, Aba Amuquandoh has performed on comedy stages like The Second City and Comedy Bar. She's now bringing her talent and humour (and singing) onto the TV screen. 

From Beyoncé impression to "Ironic" Alanis Morrisette parody

Amuquandoh was asked by a producer to send in an audition tape, where she did an impression of Beyoncé. "I guess it was good enough because I'm here now," she said.

The pace of filming for 22 Minutes has been a little different than what Amuquandoh is used to.

"Everything goes by so quickly here," she said. "Monday is the filming day and then we film other sketches during the week. And on top of that, we have writers meeting." 

Amuquandoh is also involved in the pitching and writing process aside from performing on camera. She said it's like a "crash course." 

"Waking up at like 5 a.m. sometimes is really hard but it's totally worth it because I get to work with like a really great crew and really great cast members."

In the two episodes that already aired, Amuquandoh has done some singing performances, including a parody of "Ironic" by Alanis Morrisette, It's Like Rain (Pain). 

Amuquandoh belts out quarantine frustration in 22 Minutes’ latest episode “Second Wave” (CBC) (CBC)

Amuquandoh belts out quarantine frustration in 22 Minutes' latest episode "Second Wave" (CBC)

Growing up, Amuquando took dancing lessons, sang in a choir and did a lot of sketches. "All comedians want to be pop stars and all pop stars want to be comedians," she said. 

But singing is not the only way Amuquandoh will be using her voice in the 22 Minutes.

Finding her voice on the show

"In the future, I'd just really like to find a specific voice for this show for myself," said Amuquandoh, who calls the older generation out in the first episode for "environmental destruction, Black and Indigenous not mattering…. and worst of all, Karens." 

I'm really trying to figure out how to mould my voice to the show in a way that still stays true to myself, but [also] stays true to the voice of the show.-  Aba Amuquandoh

The feedback and response have been encouraging, Amuquandoh said. And she is excited to see more young people speaking candidly about their feelings.

The new season of 22 Minutes will also be the first time the show has a team embedded in the U.S. to cover the 2020 presidential race.

"At this current moment, there's so much to work with in terms of U.S. politics," Amuquandoh said. "I think U.S. politics are so much more dramatic and so much more ridiculous."
When she's not filming or performing, Amuquandoh dives into pop culture in her podcast Nostalgique with her two friends, where they talk about music and interview up-and-coming local artists.

Their guests include young Toronto comedians Nick Nemeroff and Celeste Yim, who is one of Amuquandoh's best friends and the newest writer for Saturday Night Live.

Amuquandoh is also working on a short film, Etusi Seufu, named after a Nigerian dish. "It's about a young Nigerian woman who's essentially preparing to mourn for her mother who passed away," she said.

You can watch the new season of This Hour Has 22 Minutes on CBC Gem.

For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.

(CBC)

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