AV Club: Joseph Nti’s “Off The Top” doesn’t take itself too seriously and therein lies its magic

A successful pivot to video. Rare.

Video is lit right now.

Ever since digital marketers worldwide pressured Facebook into optimizing its algorithm to prioritise video, everyone has been trying break into the video industry and become a pioneer. Even MTV dissolved its well respected long form news room and channelled all that money and expertise into a video unit. Africa isn’t too far behind on this trend either, from Capetown to Accra to Casablanca, small media companies seem to be setting up video units and trying out wild and wacky ideas that build on the reality tv, millennial opinion craze that crystallised in the podcast industry and is spreading everywhere. But getting it right is easier said than done, with various talkshows coming and going, just as quickly as they arrived

Joseph Nti’s Off The Top, has proven a runaway success with little PR and just four episodes. Nti, an experimental filmmaker who’s known for his documentaries, went on a tangent with the show, whose premise is similar to many other Q&A shows, except for two fundamental differences; every episode is decidedly Ghanaian, and every episode is deliberately trivial. There are no existential questions thrown at the show’s rotating roster of guests, no fancy make up or elaborate hair dos, no expectations of anything other than an off-the-top-of-your-head answer. There’s a self deprecating silliness to the show that allows us laugh with the show’s cast, even when they make a mess of themselves, flubbing perfectly easy questions. We laugh because we know that they should know the answers, and we root for  them when they bluff their way to a win. Joseph Nti’s created a show so carried by its cast’s excellent chemistry that we end the episodes sated and eager for another one.

We don’t know how Off The Top will evolve in the coming months, but we’re curious to find out.

Watch Off The Top Here.

Edwin eats his rice and cabbages. Tweet at him@edgothboy

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