“My name is Francis Agoda, but people call me “I go die”. I attended Baptist Primary School in Okpara, waterside, Delta State. When my mom found out that I could not speak pidgin English, she insisted I should start primary school afresh which I did all over. From there, I moved to the College of Commerce, Warri. As the the best technical student, I constructed a Hover that worked with battery. But since I was not even born with wooden or plastic spoon, there was no money to further my education.
At a tender age, my parent thought I will be one of the greatest engineers because anything I saw, I could construct. I also constructed Agoda satellite that received many television stations. So I'm just hoping that money should come so that I can further my education.”
How I came into comedy
“Let me tell you something, everybody that lives in Warri is blessed with his or her mouth. And we have different ways of relating our experiences. As a Wafferian, sometimes the way we speak is comical to everyone that listens us. Because comedy itself originated from warri and when a warri man or woman talks, you will know that this person comes from warri. Also our pidgin English is quite different from any other in Nigeria.
Our day-to-day life is also comedy, for instance, if you go to any Warri market and you price things, you will get the reply in comedy and you will be wondering why she is not polite. So when we travel outside warri like Lagos, Abuja or Kaduna, we try to relate what has been happening in warri and people will laugh.
It all started when I was in the village with my grandmother. when I was 16 years old, I realized that my grandmother was not my real mother, so I felt very sad. So the first time I was in Warri, I caould not speak the normal pidgin English that the Warri man speaks, I only spoke Urhobo and made me a laughing stock.
Funnily enough, my mother had a shop in our compound and I was put in charge of the shop to sell provisions. So what do you expect from a salesman who don't know how to speak English? Comedy of course.
Because a lot of people came to the shop and I could not speak simple “wetin you wan buy?” I was like a comedian to them. So the story spread around warri that there is one big boy who cannot speak simple pidgin, a real Urhobo boy.
However, when I was in the College of Commerce, there was a drama club and a friend of mine said to me “Agoda, let us stroll into the club and see what they are doing there.” I went there and saw a guy who came out cracking jokes and I said okay, let me just tell them one or two jokes, so I started telling them about one boy who came from the village and could not speak pidgin English, his mother put him in a shop, they never knew I was talking about myself and they were laughing seriously. That was how I develop the interest in comedy.
How I got the name “I go die
“I got the name “I go die” from my surname “AGODA”, from a royal family in Abraka. When I was in secondary school, most of the teachers, instead of pronouncing the name A-GO-DA, rather chose to call me “I-go-die”. So when I started presenting a programme on Delta State Television, I said the only way of projecting myself is to adopt the name people knew me with, that is “I-go-die”. But there is an impression I want to correct here, the “I go die” is not die, as one killing himself or saying why the boy wants to die. It is “I-go-dye”. When there is no life, I have to dye to change one thing. So it is spelt “DYE” and not “DIE” as people are wont to calling me.
My first show
“My first show started in warri. When I started, I never believed people would pay to watch me money. Whenever there was an event, will go there just to struggle for the microphone and entertain people and at the end of the day I would use the power of the mike and said “Una no go spread this man wey de make una laugh”.
But a friend of mine who was organizing a birthday party said to me, “I go die, I like make –u- add some fun to this event. So he asked me how much was my fee? I said they should pay me N100. So my first show fetched me N100. And that N100 was like millions to me because I needed the money more than any other thing.
And when I got that N100, you can't believe it, I photocopied it for record purpose.
My biggest show
“The Biggest show I have done in my life was “A night of a thousand laugh”. I tried more than three times to get Opa Williams to feature me on “A night of a thousand laugh, but it was after the fourth attempt that he eventually gave me a chance.
It was during the Nigeria Movies Award night that Opa spotted me on stage and said: “Men you are damned good and you will performed at the next Night! of a thousand laugh”. I have since become a regular feature. So I can say my biggest show that exposed me is the Nigeria Movies Award night. If I didn't have the opportunity to perform at the award nigh, I might probably not be known today.
What I wanted to be in Life
“I wanted to be an Engineer. One of these days, when I have money, I will go to Japan to develop my engineering talent, like this charger (showing it to Sunday Sun reporter). I have this creativity inside me and I believe God has put it there for me.
My Europe tour
“I have spent up to two months in Europe doing shows. There were put together by Isaac Izera Golden Entertainment. It was an opportunity to let the Europeans understand Nigerians better because a lot of them believe Nigerians are “419”.
Isaac Entertainment believes that one of the ways to clean Nigeria is through comedy. We traveled to France, Holland, Germany, Spain and Belgium. The tour also afforded us the opportunity to shoot a film entitled “Last crime”. It will be out soon. It was also in Europe that I realised my popularity, through “A Night of thousand laugh CDs.
Me and ladies
“Ladies will always love men, for different reasons and depending on your success. Some ladies love criminals, armed robbers. They will know the man is an armed robber, but would still want to date him. A lot of of ladies that come my way believe they have problems and I could solve them. They believe I can make them feel good. So I don't allow that to get into me. So I make ladies around me feel like women because my mother is a wonderful woman.
I'm not married, but I'm into a very serious relationship. My girl friend is my microphone, and my wife is the crowd that I entertain.
What comedy has done to my life
“Comedy has done a lot for me, I no longer queue up in the banks or embassies for money or visa. Whenever I'm in a bank or an embassy, what usually trails me is “I go die, leave the queue, come and cash your cheque or process your papers. I have traveled to nine countries because of comedy. Infact, you this (Sunday Sun man) reporter would not be talking to me now, where it for comedy. So I can say it has done almost everything for me. Without comedy, there is no I go die