George Mnguni (24), known online as Okay Wasabi, hopes to become a comedian in the future, and get into TV, having a show similar to the Pure Monate Show. But for now, he has the Internet eating out of the palm of his hand, with his viral parody videos. His parody of DJ City Lyts’s hit “Vura” is titled “Dudla”, and is currently sitting on over 8000 views. He owns the parody videos game in South Africa, which is bigger in the US.
“George is my shy side – who I am at home,” says Okay Wasabi. “Whenever I tell people that I’m reserved, they don’t believe me. They have a perception that I’m the person who’s on the videos they watch. But that’s my alter ego.”
Where did the name Okay Wasabi come from?
“Basically the name Okay Wasabi came from mishearing a lyric. That’s what I built my career on; misheard lyrics from the songs I listen to,” he says.
Okay Wasabi was listening to Ace Hood’s 2011 hit “Hustle Hard” with his friends when he misheard Ace Hood saying “Okay Wasabi”, whereas the rapper was actually saying “Kemosabe”.
The move to doing videos for social media was sparked when the Vine craze hit Twitter. The phone he had at the time wasn’t supportive of the feature, but he found a way of hacking its settings, and made it compatible. He later migrated to YouTube. “I moved to YouTube because I needed to tell better stories in depth. I felt like 15 seconds wasn’t enough anymore,” says Okay Wasabi.
He uses any resource at his disposal. He shoots the videos on his tablet and edits them at school, The Academy Of Television and Screen Arts. “There were times when I’d spend my transport money or lunch money to get props,” he says. “Funds and lack of equipment are my biggest challenges at the moment. But I make do with what I have.”
Parody videos don’t pay
Okay Wasabi isn’t making any money from the videos he has out because of copyrighting issues. He’d have to go to the original artists and get their permission to use or change their music and make it his own. Depending on the artists, that may cause conflict with the owner and lawyers could eventually be put into play.
Okay Wasabi, who was born and raised in Vosloorus, majorly credits his late father for giving him the funny side. But it was in high school where he first captivated people with his funny ways.
He was the school announcer. He did that his way, by making the announcements funny and more appealing to his schoolmates. “Okay Wasabi is who I need to be to deliver what’s going on in my head because George would probably never do it,” he says.
The YouTube sensation aspires to create his own adverts. He’s not far off, after directing and acting in a promo ad he did for DSTV in 2016. The ad got social media circulation, and within a week of it coming out, it got close to 11k views.
But Okay Wasabi isn’t just about parody videos. He has his own original music, and is releasing a mixtape titled Lost in Attridgeville, soon.
“For now it’s just for the love of making people laugh,” he says. “Getting people’s reactions, that’s what I live for.”
Image of Okay Wasabi supplied