I`LL QUIT WHEN I RUN OUT OF JOKES---I GO DYE
Ever before coming into limelight, popular comedian, Francis Agoda,popularly known as I Go Dye, had earlier been turned down on four occasions for incompetence. The comedian was turned down by organizers of Nite of a Thousand Laughs, claiming that, he was not too good to perform on stage.
But like a Trojan in the comedy business, determined Agoda, who hails from Abraka, Delta State, refused to give up until fortune finally smiled on him. Today, he is a household name traversing the length and breath of the nation and beyond with his immense skill and talent.
In this interview with Daily Sun, Agoda, who has taken the gospel of Nigerian comedy to over 50 major cities in Europe and the U.S, opened up on his rough journey to stardom which began five years ago.
I Go Dye standing live
I am happy that after several years of planning and waiting, I finally staged my own show. For me, it was a dream come true and I thank God it was successful. I'm also happy the show gave me the opportunity to entertain my fans for more than three hours. It was a strictly I Go Dye show and my fans enjoyed themselves. I also featured some of my colleagues like I go Save, Maleke and Faze in the show. It was a total show and the people of Warri, where I started from, enjoyed themselves.
Deal with BBC
I signed a mouth-watering contract with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) last year. It was basically to promote and project African comedy on their African network. They also chose me as one of the leading faces of African comedy on the continent. I could not believe my eyes when they approached me.
We did some recordings in France, Dublin, Germany and as few other European nations. They were also part of my Warri show.
I want to thank God Almighty for making these foreign trips possible. In the past, people don't reckon with comedians. My breakthrough was in 2005 when Ehizoya Golden Entertainment took me on a tour of Europe. During that tour, the Nigerian ambassador to Germany hosted me. It was an experience I will never forget. And recently, I was again hosted by the Nigerian Ambassador to France, during the last Nigerian Cultural Week in Paris. All the outings opened the floodgate of more foreign trips for me. For my outstanding performance, the Nigerian ambassador in France extended my visa to one year. But before this trip, I just returned from Ireland, where I performed at Nite Of A Thousand Laughs. It was a successful outing. I'm even planning a tour of some parts of Nigeria and overseas in collaboration with Fashion Paige.
I actually started comedy as a kid. But professionally, I took-off five years ago and earned my national recognition two years back. My breakthrough came through Nite Of A Thousand Laughs show. I started gradually in Warri, with the mock news programme on Delta State TV. For good four years, Opa Williams kept turning me down on the pretext that I was not good enough, but I refused to give up. I want up-and-coming comedians to learn from my experience.
At a point, I told Opa not to even pay me, but to give me the chance to mount the stage for just five minutes. I eventually got N10,000 for my first Nite Of A Thousand Laughs but today the pay has increased by over 1000 percent.
I'm Francis Agoda better known as I Go Dye. I'm from Abraka, Delta State. I am single and very close to 30. I'm quietly planning for my marriage with somebody that I truly love.
Coping with ladies
Ladies are the most wonderful people you can think of in this world and without them the world does not go round. I have also discovered that ladies like hanging around funny people like us. So, in essence, I share my happiness with them.
Parents and comedy
When I started comedy then, my mum never supported me. As for my dad, I met him first in my life, just two years ago. I will tell the full story some day.
Before I answer this question, let me quickly tell you that I'm among the very few comedians that do not repeat jokes on stage. I create new jokes everyday by perfecting my art. I spend 90% of my time, thinking of how to make people laugh and that is why I'm more creative and distinct.
The name, I Go Dye
I carved out the name from my surname which is Agoda. You can see, my own is Dye and not die. It simply means to transform, add and brighten the state of the art. I have seen people who were christened Lucky and Success at birth, but they turned out failures in life.
Enmity among comedians
For every job you do, there must some kinds of jealousy.It even exists among prostitutes. But what I believe in and stand for is healthy rivalry. Another mistake people make that usually lead to their lack of success in life is paying too much time to unhealthy rivalry and dirty competitions. I don't envy people. I only pray to God everyday to help me get to the top of my career and remain there.
I'm very, very comfortable because God has given me life and without that life, you won't be able to assess your riches or millions.
God is my role model, but I love Chris Rock with an undying passion, because of his flow and style.
With God on my side, I want to be a world famous comedian who will be known in all the continents of the world. Recently, in Paris, in all the shops I visited, I did not see the work of any Nigerian comedian or musicians, except that of Fela and Femi Kuti. That increased my love and respect for them. I was also in a show by Femi Kuti recently and 90% of those that attended were whites. This is my dream. Thank God, I'm gradually making an in road.
I think my natural jokes stand me out. They are what I call my raw materials. Being creative and confidence on stage also stands me out. Again, as a creative comedian, whenever I'm on stage, I usually ask myself, when, what, where and how to deliver my jokes to make impact and achieve results. I like studying the mood of my people.
Comedy in Nigeria
Comedy business in Nigeria is fast becoming lucrative and we thank God for that. These days, you hardly go to events without a comedian featuring. It is a big plus for the industry. We are most grateful to those who laid the foundation for us.
The Nigerian Government is supporting comedy. From the local, to state and federal levels, they usually include us in their functions. I have done shows for government at all the levels. It is also government institutions that make most of our foreign trips possible. The officials have tried for us but they should do more, because like Oliver Twist, we'll keep asking for more.
Running out of jokes
It has never happened to me on stage. It can't because I always take my time to carry out research for my jokes. Besides, I'm also a natural comedian full of creative and humorous ideas. I will quit comedy the day it hapspens.