Celebrating The Culture: How Mandem On The Wall Changed The Game
23 Nov 2022
“Who’s that jammin’ on the wall?” The opening line of the infamous YouTube comedy series, Mandem On The Wall. Released on December 24th, 2011, the then-baby-faced trio of Joivan Wade, Percelle Ascott, and Dee Kaate, joined forces as they co-wrote and directed the show that took the urban U.K comedy scene by storm. During my high school days, I remember impatiently waiting for their uploads on YouTube, a platform that would almost remould television in a way that caters to young audiences. Emerging in a decade that brought us KSI, AyyOnline, Smokey Barbers, and more, the three were pivotal components at the time, creating quality content whilst simultaneously allowing other creatives to grow.
The latter was set in stone after Joivan Wade and Percelle Ascott founded The Wall Of Entertainment group in 2011, a channel that brought the characters to life. The chaotic tales of Yungah Baker, Failia, and Yungah Baby Tiny Winie were entertaining, to say the least. The trio offered up effortless rib-aching episodes, generating different scenarios, parodying the common ‘road-man.’
Originality, if done correctly, will bring its success — proving that, although cliche, consistency is key. They garnered organic views and support as their popularity increased, with fun cameos on the show that included Jazzie and Britain’s Got Talent finalist (2010), Twist and Pulse.
Joivan Wade and Percelle Ascott were up-and-coming actors, and Dee Kaate a stand-up comedian, all natural-born talents. They had sole content control that paid dividends when they were recognised and approached by production company Big Talk, who gave us the teenage drama series, Youngers, on E4. This was an exciting chance for them to shine on television screens, which they did, transferring their infectious energy from YouTube to the mainstream.
The Mandem were hot property — driving their personalised speed train to victory, with Wade and Ascott launching the online platform The Wall Of Comedy in 2015, which Tafara Makopa is managing director and executive producer of. It spans YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook, set up to provide a platform where a mixture of comedic content gets uploaded.
Wade, Ascott, and Kaate applied their creative genius to parody some of the most popular songs during that time. Their hunger and dedication were second to none, curating the mixtape, The Shortcut home. Tracks included were ‘Ain’t On Nuttin’ Ft A Squeezy and J Weezy, ‘Balling On A Budget‘ (Jeremih – Planes), and ‘Know Me From’ (Stormzy Parody). They were an unstoppable force, collecting praise everywhere they appeared — impressing in an energetic performance on Fire In The Booth, spraying lyrics and flowing in ways most rappers would admire.
After accumulating millions of views on their channel, appearing on British TV and more, there was one more stop before the big screen. Appearing in the award-winning YouTube short film, Deep It, in 2016, Ascott and Wade showcased their versatility in more serious roles. Following this, starring all three and directed by Sheridan De Myers, The Weekend Movie was released on December 2nd, 2016. A mixture of mayhem and adventure can have it labelled as the U. K’s answer to the U.S movie, Dope. It is a well-crafted tale of young men who come across a large amount of money and decide to buy themselves a new life, aiming to become the people they once envied. Predictably though, the high would be temporary, as the rightful owner got word of their unusual spending — beginning a game of cat and mouse for the two henchmen (Ashley Yinkz and Samson Kayo) on the hunt for them. Despite the eventful events throughout, there is a happy conclusion for all.
After its release, Kaate’s absence was noticeable, and in an interview with Zeze Millz in 2020, he explained the reasons behind his abrupt and upsetting hiatus. Kaate was, for me, the funniest member of the group, and his contagious laugh and one-liners will always be cemented in cultural history.
Wade and Ascott kept working, with the two founding The Wall of Production in 2018, sitting under The Wall Of Entertainment group and company partner to The Wall Of Comedy. Wall Of Production has been part of some of the most popular projects in the U.K — a standout is, Does The Shoe Fit, the online speed-dating show (seen on Foot asylum) that pushes the limits. The show featured well-known faces such as Yung Filly, Chunkz, Harry Pinero, Konan and more. Its popularity was acknowledged this year, claiming the best Online Show Of The Year award at the 2022 GUAP Gala.
2018 was a big year for the two, earning the role as the two main protagonists in the culture-shifting YouTube three-part drama, Shiro’s Story. Its release was monumental for the scene, with it now having over 25 million views. As they both grew into their acting bag, opportunities to shine were earnt and taken. Ascott had a lead role in the Netflix series, The Innocents and Wade appeared in The First Purge and obtained a role in the DC series, Doom Patrol, playing Cyborg since 2019, with a new season arriving on December 8th, 2022.
One of Wade’s most captivating roles was when he portrayed Amani in the self-titled YouTube short film in 2019, providing viewers with knowledge of the terrifying event in Amani Simpson’s life. A hard-hitting tale of the realities of many youths face today and of redemption. Executive produced by Percelle Ascott, Joivan Wade, Amani Simpson & Tafara Makopa, they teamed up to bring their powerful idea to life.
Fast-forwarding to the present day, we have seen Ascott star in Netflix’s original movie, I Came By, a dramatic thriller that will leave you stunned by its conclusion. 11 years later and the legendary status Mandem On The Wall has kept is inspiring. After celebrating its 10th-anniversary last year, congratulations are in order for what they have achieved, with the show still fused in U.K. culture.
The three are true pioneers of the game, possessing a range of talents. Their attributes were a crucial factor in its longevity in the memory of millions. Now, Wade and Ascott’s companies are proactively assisting influencers and up-and-coming creators to flourish in the scene. They have made an astronomical impact, and the lane they have created is awe-inspiring.
Legends of the game, forever and always. YOLO BABY!
Words by John-Mark Collymore