Munya Chawawa is the UK’s sharpest satirist. With a growing number of aliases (Barty Crease, Johnny Oliver and the posh drill rapper Unknown P might ring a bell), since blowing up in 2020, the 29-year-old has amassed almost one million Insta followers by affectionately mocking music’s biggest stars and posting skits about the Conservative government’s latest gaffes before the ink on the Evening Standard has had time to dry.
The British-Zimbabwean comedian ended 2021 on a high. In November, he hosted the MOBOs alongside Little Mix’s Leigh-Anne Pinnock, then he revealed his thought-provoking YouTube series Race Around Britain shortly after.
Yesterday, it was announced that Chawawa will be donning his suit once again when he hosts the red carpet at the BRIT Awards alongside YouTuber Nella Rose. Naturally, THE FACE called him up to offer our congratulations.
Hi Munya! How’s your day going so far?
I just came back from a job in Italy. I’ve been to the gym and I’ve worked too hard so I can feel I’m on the cusp of a migraine. So I’m gonna do this interview with my eyes closed.
Before we talk about the BRITs, tell me about hosting the MOBOs…
At first, I didn’t know I was hosting, I thought I was a bit of a correspondent. It was only near the time they were like “you’re actually hosting it!” And I thought, ‘oh my god. I need to head down to the Black Friday sales to get a suit or something.’ I was so busy that I didn’t even have time to process the nerves, so that really helped. But what I will say is, I absolutely loved working with Leigh-Anne [Pinnock]. We really worked together to make it fun.
It was just such a vision board moment because I grew up in a small village in Norfolk, called Framingham Pigot – which sounds like the Queen’s bestie. I used to think to myself, ‘one day I’d love to go watch the MOBOs.’ Like, that was the height of my ambition, to watch it. But to host it, man. That was just a dream.
I heard a lot of people got Covid. Did you come out unscathed?
It seems to me that getting a terrible illness is the key to some of my best videos. I did a Dave and Burna Boy parody last year, I wrote and performed that with Covid. The second time I got Covid, I did my Last Christmas 10 Downing Street parody, which, again, was one of my biggest videos. And then my recent video which was a Drake and Rihanna parody, which I wrote with food poisoning from lasagna. So basically, if anyone knows of any hot food poisoning spots, please let me know!
We’ll keep that in mind. And now the BRITs! Congratulations.
What are your memories of the BRITs when you were growing up?
I actually have such a strong emotional connection to the BRITs. And that might sound like the kind of thing I should say, but it’s actually true! When I was at uni, I used to make these little videos, they’d get maybe 300 views. This spread around university, so one day I was in the library and a complete stranger came up to me and told me about this competition to go and present on the BRITs red carpet. And I won the competition! I got to go to the BRITs, right at the end of the red carpet where everyone sort of walks past you. I’m speaking right next to Nile Rogers, Pixie Lott, Lily Allen, Clean Bandit, and being like ‘this is the best night of my life!’ To be there now at the top of the carpet, it’s one of those moments. I’m so grateful!
It sounds like you’ve been destined for it.
My dad’s the spiritual one. So he’s probably been to say the Lord’s Prayer a thousand times.
How do you prepare for an awards show?
I’ve gotten to a point now where I’m actually really comfortable around celebs. But one of the keys to an awards show is to avoid all of the kind of ‘how you feeling?’ questions. I’m going straight in there. Last time I asked people ‘Yorkshire puddings or roast potatoes, one’s gotta go, which one are you picking?’ This year, I’ve got a couple of cheeky things I’m going to slip past the organisers last minute.
What sort of things?
Do you remember Bop-It?
Yeah, I do!
I wanted to do Bop-It on the red carpet, but we’re not allowed! How sick would it be to have Central Cee competing against Taylor Swift to be crowned the BRITs Bop-It champion?!
You have the character Brandon, the American UK rap expert. Who do you think would be Brandon’s favourite in the BRITs’ Best Hip-Hop Act category – AJ Tracey, Central Cee, Dave, Ghetts or Little Simz?
Brandon as a character is like a cliché of extracting something from nothing. And with Dave every single bar is telling a million stories, so I feel like Brandon would just implode. [In an American accent] ‘Ah man… 100%, it’s gotta be Dave. Honestly, like, this dude is honestly just, like, Shakespeare reincarnated dude. I listen to this guy’s bars and I’m like, bro, I can’t even fathom what this guy is saying!’
If you were invited to a lockdown party at Downing Street, what drinks and nibbles would you bring?
I’m taking those M&S cheese wotsits things. It’s the boujie wotsits to you and me. And Schloer obviously, because I don’t like my decision-making to be clouded.
You’re very well known now. Do you people come up to speak to you in the street, and if so is it nice, or is it quite annoying?
I’m never ever irritated by it. Although I will say, sometimes the way in which it’s done is questionable. I remember a guy trying to do a Snapchat video whilst I was weeing at a urinal. And I was like, ‘bro, what are you doing?’ He apologised, and then put a filter on, as if that was the thing I was mad about. In his mind, he was like, ‘Oh, I see why he’s angry. Because I haven’t put the dog filter on him.’
Munya and Nella Rose will be hosting the BRITs Red Carpet on Tuesday 8th February. You’ll be able to watch them via livestreams on the BRITs YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and TikTok. Check out all the nominees here.