FROM AJEGUNLE TO STARDOM, THE BASKET MOUTH STORY
Bright Okpocha (Basket Mouth)
Just last mont, Bright Okpocha (Basket Mouth), stood on stage of prestigious O2 Arena, (same stage where other international stars have used in time past and where Michael Jackson wanted to use before his death) to crack jokes and stage his brand new show Lord of the Ribs.
Who would have thought that the small boy born in slum of Ajegunle would one day stand on world stage to entertain black and white?
He shares his untold story in a visit to his Lekki home.
Few years ago after you left Benin and came to Lagos, you were a struggling man, what are you doing right now that you were not doing then?
I think I am still doing the same thing. It's still the same struggle and hustle but you know that there is always a time that it pays-off. You know those who work expect to get paid at the end of the month, so let's just say all the struggle I was putting into my career paid-off at the end of the day. Although I am still hustling, but maybe in another two or three months it will pay off again. Nothing has changed, I am still hungry. The same hunger I experienced then is still there, and I do all I can no matter what happens to stay hungry.
So it wasn't as if you were doing something wrong then?
No. It's the same thing. It's just that with time some opportunities came along as a matter of time and choice and these were the things that were not available to me back then. I wasn't doing things wrong then, it was just a case of timing.
If you think back now, how did you pay your dues?
More or less respect and acknowledgements are the things I actually quantify as paying my dues. You know there are sometimes I walk into a company or an organization and the way they relate with me now tend to be different from the way they related with me years back. These are the things I see that make me conclude that I have paid my dues. That money is coming through more now not because I am funnier, but because of the professionalism I have added to my own style and because of the worth of the brand. We have built the brand to the point we can say that this is the value of Basket Mouth. I have been paid my dues in so many ways.
When I walk on the streets of Lagos and people show me love, that is payment for me, going to the bank and I don't get to queue is payment for me. When I am boarding a flight and for no particular reason, I am being upgraded from business class to first class is payment for me too. So that's how I derive my own payment. When I look back, I see it all more or less like a journey. I know where I was, where I am now and where I am going to. It's more or less like growth for me, so when I look back I value more the love people have shown to me than the financial returns.
For those aspiring to stardom, the struggle is tough. Some of them manage to come out of the struggle while others die in it. So for those of you who made it, some people say it was easy, particularly because you only spent some time with Ali Baba and before you knew it you were up there?
Let me just say a part of my life that many people didn't know. Before I started as a comedian I used to play the drums for a church. It wasn't really my church. I was being paid as a contract instrumentalist. I was paid N2, 000 per month then. The church was Christ Pentecostal Mission, in Lagos. That was between 1991and 1996. Although I started playing since 1991, I was still in school then and I didn't use the skill professionally as a means of making money until 1995 when I finished. While I was doing that I was also into rap music. I was a rapper, and we did a series of competitions including the one held at FHA at FESTAC. I can't remember the name now , but we came third.
As a rap artiste, I did gigs. I did shows at Ife in 2007. I did shows in Ibadan but most people wouldn't know. A lot of people that saw me perform that day as a rapper may not even remember. All of these are part of the struggle. The reason why I switched to comedy was that we were doing a show in Benin and while we were on stage the crowd started booing us. Apparently they were impatient. So I told my group members to chill because apparently from the beginning I get bad mouth. So as the crowd was insulting us I held the mic and gave it back to them. I yabbed them back. I was on stage for like 15 to 20 minutes throwing yabbs at the crowd and they were laughing. At the end of the day one guy walked up to me ….
You don't know the guy's name?
It wasn't just him, Bayo Adekeye was there also. Bayo was the first person that told me I should go into comedy. He is now in London; eventually he became my manager. Now as a comedian I used to come to Lagos every weekend from Benin. I will enter that 14-14 bus from AP Filling Station in Benin and I will stand from Benin to probably Ijebu-Ode where some people will now come down and that's when I will sit. Most people don't know this. But the reason I was doing the trips was because I was coming to Lagos to do gigs on weekends.
Eventually, I met 2face at a show I did in Benin as a rapper. I was the one that promoted the show and he came in to perform. Eventually I did comedy at the show because I had started doing comedy then. 2face saw me and told me he liked my work and that anytime I come to Lagos we should hook up, that there is this show they are doing every last Saturday of the month. Then Lagbaja was featuring on a show every last Friday of the month. Also I met Ali Baba. So apart from the fact that I was coming to Lagos every last weekend of the month, I was coming in every weekend with or without money. By 3am every Saturday I don dey filling station for Lagos because there was no money then.
It cost N100 or N50 to come to Lagos standing. So when I was in Lagos I was doing shows with Teju Baby Face and we were being paid N2000every month and we were going there every Tuesday and Thursday. To resume as early as 7 o' clock , I had to leave my house like 5.30am in order to beat the traffic. Sometimes, I will take a bike from Ebute Meta down to VI. When we finished we would take a bus down to Ali Baba's office. Nobody knew this then, but it was a tough struggle. What younger comedians are doing now is not struggling. In my time there were no comedy clubs and there was no platform for comedians to perform. Now AY is doing his show and Gbenga Adeyinka is also doing his show, back then there was nothing like that.
It was only Nite of a thousand laughs and nothing else. To get to Nite of a thousand laughs then you have to do series of auditions and someone has to recommend you. Then it was Ali Baba that recommended me and even after the recommendation I still had to do an audition and amongst the lot I came first. When comedians say Basket Mouth had it easy I say I did not. The reason I came on the platform Nite of a thousand laughs was because I won the audition, I came first and they liked me, so it was my work that paid off for me. 85% of the younger comedians, I mean the new breed are lazy.
I don't want to mention names, but I was standing with two upcoming comedians and one of them was laughing and told me a joke that the other cracked saying the guy killed the show, and it happened that it was my joke. It was a joke that I had dropped like ten years ago. So I ended the joke for the guy but I did not tell him it was my joke. So these people are lazy and that is why it is a little bit difficult for them because they are not really working.
When Klint the Drunk entered he sky rocketed, when Gordons entered it was the same story, so when you get to a level what works for you is your packaging, how you present yourself. The industry will allow you to come in, but it is whether you will be able to stay there that matters. So your platform, your packaging, and the way you present yourself, the way people love you, your relevance to the industry and the society is what keeps you there. So I suffer well well, if you know how many places I don trek go you would be surprised. I had to trek from railway compound down to UNILAG high rise to meet Tee A. I didn't see him and I trekked back (laughs)… from high rise to railway compound .
Where is Railway compound?
It's in Ebute Metta. So you can imagine the long trek. We were supposed to go for a show then and there was no GSM; it was just pagers and I couldn't afford one. It was a tough struggle.
Why did you leave Benin?
I was done with school and aside that there were more opportunities in Lagos. I was born in Lagos, Ajegunle to be precise and as at the time I finished school, my parents were in Isolo. So when Isolo became too far for me I started staying with a friend of mine at Ebute Metta , because it was close to the Island and Surulere . In fact in the course of the struggle I also stayed with Dare Art Alade. He put me in his crib for a couple of months.
When was that?
2000, 2001. When he was still with Cool FM, I was staying in his apartment.
Not so many people knew you were born in Ajegunle
Yes. I was born in Ajegunle. At least four out of five of us siblings in my family were born in Ajegunle. My late eldest brother was the only one that wasn't born in Ajegunle. My immediate elder brother Godwin and I were born in Uzo Street in Ajegunle and later we moved to Alafia Street where my two sisters were born. From there, we moved to KiriKiri town. So we be Paco, (laughs)…. But when I say we be Paco that does not mean we weren't well trained and all that. My Dad was a hardworking man and there was never a time we needed to eat breakfast, lunch or dinner and it wasn't there. I refer to the Ajebos as those who travel to UK for holidays but we the Pacos will just go visit an uncle and that's it. So that's why I refer to us as Paco.
I am sure you have heard it before that all of a sudden when Basket mouth became big he also became proud and doesn't relate with his friends like he used to. As a matter of fact you hardly even have friends among comedians. You don't call people to your shows and all that. Is Basket Mouth proud?
No. I personally don't use the word proud to refer to someone, because if I do, it makes me feel I am intimidated by that person. So those who refer to people as being proud are insecure and probably have low self esteem. I have tried as much as possible to live the life that people want me to live. I cannot tell the number of fans I have out there but I know I have quite a number of fans which I appreciate. Some of them don't like my dread locks and some of them love it but I cannot just decide to cut my dread locks because some of my fans don't like it.
I cannot meet the demands of each person. About being proud I would say I am a proud man, I am proud to be who I am, I am proud to be a Nigerian and I have self pride. I am happy not because I am famous but because of whom I am and I have moved. If I move from Iponri to Surulere I cannot still be living in Iponri when I have already moved to Surulere. When I moved, I made new friends and I cannot keep more than 300 friends at the same time. Life is a journey, you meet people every day. So when people say he has dropped his friends it's not true. I did not drop my friends but you know when you move the demand is higher and the hustle doubles. Gone are the days when I leave a show and then go to the bar to go hang out with my friends.
Now when I leave a show I have to think about how to go take care of my family. I have a son and I have to pay bills, so when I calculate what bill a bottle of champagne will take care of I just relax. So when you are not doing all of these things some of your friends conclude he has left us. The truth is this, you cannot do all these things everyday because it is a waste of time. We live, we grow, we change, and we advance in the way we think. Let me break it down a little more, the guy that is my PA right now I have known him for like twenty years, my manager is in South Africa doing his masters. I have known him for twenty years, my prior manager I have known him for like sixteen years, the other girl that works for me happens to be my cousin and I have known her like all my life.
So all the people that work for me I have known for a minimum of five years. I do not really make new friends. Like I said earlier, it's like a journey so even when I meet new people they're more of acquaintances, they don't kick out my old friends. This is why I try as much as possible to keep my old friends closer. Also, I live in Lekki; when I was in Surulere most of my friends were in Surulere and meeting them was easy, but now I am in Lekki, meeting them cannot be as easy as before. when I want to go to Surulere now, I go at night, think of the traffic, the risk of armed robbery and all sorts so what I do is I tell my friends to come over or I fix an appointment for weekends but you know I work on weekends. So all these instances actually make it a little difficult seeing my friends but I keep them close at heart and I still love every one of them and that's why I make sure that the people working with me are the ones that know me, my secret is their secret. Those around me are like my brothers. Going back to the issue of pride, if some people refer to me as pompous I like them to know till date I still visit white house to eat amala, I still go to Belgium in Amuwo Odofin.
Last week, I was at Olaiya in Surulere buying Amala. I still go to the local bars to drink. Why? Because these are the places I get my materials from, that is where I grew up, na there I belong. I cannot be thinking of eating amala in all these big places . Who I dey form for?. I still go to Ajegunle once in a while to meet my people. I still go to Benin to see I go die and I hook up with my friends from school but people don't know this. Coming to my events and the fact that I do not carry other people along, I was the first comedian that started an event, and I did that event not just for myself but to project and promote upcoming comedians and I think I was the first person that did that and the reason I did that was to pay back. Ali Baba did it for me and I think it was only proper and professional for me to pay back, because that was what he told me, that I should make sure I carry people along. I am not into carrying people along by having them come to stay in my house because I love my privacy.
I don't need to mention the names of at least five known comedians that have stayed with me. I will let them do the mentioning themselves, not because they were homeless but because I wanted them to, I was giving back. When I started Laffs and Jamz I was promoting all sorts. I told them come to the show if you are good but after a while that has to change as change is the only constant thing in life. I had to move from that platform of Laffs and Jamz to normal annual shows. When I did my first annual show it was called Humor unlimited with Basket Mouth. That was in 2004, I featured Ali Baba, Tee A, Okey Bakassi, Basorge, everybody was at that show.
After that event I decided to start doing a one man standup comedy show because I found out that my previous shows were only promoting a comedy event… imagine in an even that was to last for 4hrs I end up performing for like 30 minutes, and when I did my research I found out that it's just one standup comedian to a show. That was what Chris Rock and the like of him were doing and I needed to go through that route too. Till date what I just do to give back is to give out shows I cannot attend to other comedians. People don't really know all these things because I don't go around bragging about it the way some others do.
Do you think this rumor is the result of you not relating well with other comedians?
The thing is this, I have not actually started the journey, I have not actually gotten to where I am aiming for, so when people say I am forming, I say no . I am not a big boy yet, and I have not started forming. I will start forming when I have hosted the Oscars or the Grammys and so on. For now I am still struggling, I am still an upcoming comedian as far as I am concerned. I don't want to be No 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, I don't want to win awards I just want to be relevant to the industry. I want my name to be mentioned when people talk about the first 10 comedians in Nigeria and that is the reason I try as much as possible to keep fresh. I am close to each and every one of my colleagues . At least you saw Onyebuchi, in my house recently. I was with Bovi and Buchi so everyday I'm with one comedian or the other.
How about you and Julius Agwu?
People have said a lot about what happened between me and Julius. Julius and I are still friends. Unfortunately, a lot of events have happened that made people believe we are fighting. When he did his wedding ,I was doing my event and I had booked my event three or four months before that time so I didn't know he was going to have a wedding at that time. When he was doing another show was when I was celebrating my son's birthday, so all these things clashed and people say, I intentionally fixed those programs on those days but I and Julius are still friends, we talk when we see.
But you know you cannot be too close to everybody because you are hustling, I am on the road. I run an event management company and I have a couple of clients that are very demanding. So aside the fact that I am a comedian I also work as a staff for my company, so I am always busy. Then with other comedians, when we were doing the Glo Lafta thing they were all part of it. We had close to 20 comedians rotating. If I was the kind of comedian that does not carry people along, when that opportunity came I won't have given it to anybody. I would probably just kill it but you know I carry my people along.
The Chairman said he wants to affect the lives of comedians but I could have discouraged the idea if I didn't have the interest of others at heart and for me if I have to work with comedians I don't pick anyone out of sentiments. I pick comedians according to their work. If you can deliver I will use you… if you cannot I won't. I am that kind of person that calls a spade a shovel. So if there is any comedian I am not using right now, it is either because the client don't want him or I don't find the guy funny.
But you have never used Julius?
Yes, because most of the clients that would call me already has his contact address. Julius is my Egbon, he is my senior brother in the industry so if my clients need him they will call him directly.
Is it true that after Ali Baba you are the biggest?
I disagree. Even if I am being labeled the next king after Ali Baba I will take it as a compliment but I cannot say that with my mouth. I appreciate the fact that people see me as such but I know I am not the funniest comedian. I know I am not the most creative. There is Gandoki, Seyi law, Buchi, Bovi, Okey Bakassi (that's one comedian I learn from), so when people say such things about me I ask what about all these other talented comedians.
There seems to be so much of a business side to some of you now. How true is that?
This thing we do is called Show Biz. There is a business side to it and there is a show or entertainment side to it. Entertainment is business one way or the other if you look at it and we as entertainers do not have any retirement benefit so more often than not we always build up our own retirement benefit. Because of this, we diversify into so many businesses which is the right thing for someone who is having little change here and there to do, because it can't always be rosy so you have to invest. Even if you study rich men, you will find out that they have hands in so many other things and there is no law that says comedians cannot also do the same. We also do this because of the family.
You know one cannot always be funny, our voice cannot always be sweet, you will always have your time and I have learnt from a lot of people and a lot of my colleagues who were so prominent in the media and after a while their names just disappeared. That doesn't make them poor, it's just that it would have cut down their income as comedians, so if any of them had invested earlier it won't affect them. That is why we learn from the older ones. For example Tee A is one of the most businesse minded artistes I have seen, but I don't like diversifying into what I am not in love with.
Tell me about your event company. I learnt it is thriving as well?
I told you earlier that when I was in school I used to package events, but then there was no company name. We were just more or less like show promoters, myself and Bayo Adekeye. We meet the rich kids in school and tell them to invest N100, 000 and get back N130,000. So when we get the money we do the investment and give them back their money and then we have our profit. That was what we were doing for a long time. In the course of that I learnt a lot and when I settled down as a comedian, the love for packaging events was still there.
Regarding the events I have done, I am the one that built up the concept, the publicity, venue and every other thing. So at a point in time I felt it was high time I made it professional because a lot of people pay companies to do what I do so I decided to start providing content that was when I formed Baron World Entertainment. We are not into dÃ©cor and all that. What we do is we provide content, we give you what is going to happen on the stage, you don't have to bother about artistes or venue. All you do is just come to the event and focus your attention on the stage. For example if it's an award program, we work with your award plans and then input entertainment. We are trying to also get into wedding planning.
We also promote artistes but we have not gone professional with that one yet. We intend to promote known artistes and upcoming ones too. I am already discussing with Eldee de Don, and some other upcoming artistes but we are still trying to get a good financial base and get the company stronger before we carry that much load but at Baron World Entertainment we are more into content provision.
Who are the clients you have had?
We have had Multilinks, Sahara and some names I cannot mention because of the brand I represent but mainly my major clients are Virgin Atlantic and Guarantee Trust Bank.
I read somewhere that GLO paid Basket Mouth N40m as an ambassador, is that true?
They paid me some money, and I cannot disclose the exact figure but it was good enough to make me happy.
• Basket Mouth
What role did Ali Baba play in your life?
Ali Baba played all the roles I needed as an upcoming comedian at a point that I met him. Ali was a friend, a colleague, a brother, a teacher, he was the one that actually made me start tilting towards anchoring events . Before I was just a plain standup comedian… I just go on stage and I was really into jokes . Ali Baba was the one that made me start creating materials and doing more story telling because I have stories. So he was like look, stop cracking jokes start telling stories because that was my strength.
Ali Baba cracked jokes but at a level he said you know what, you tell stories, talk about life, you've been through all these things and that's your style. So I said okay, and fed on all that I had in my head and he guided me and I would say I owe it to a lot of people.I can't start mentioning their names now but Ali Baba was the first person. The only reason why I always say I owe everything to this man is that he was the first person that brought me in without any sense if insecurity. He was always saying this boy is hot….
Where did you meet him?
We met at Benin. When he came to do a show, I went as a fan to watch him perform and I went back stage to greet him. The next time we met I was practicing comedy and when I finished he actually stood up to give me a standing ovation and that was the opportunity. So I went to meet him afterwards and we hit it off from that point and since that point he's been very supportive.
You worked for him as a P.A?
Yeah I worked for him as a P.A. (laughs) but it's unofficial. I worked with him for like two years and while I was his P.A I was like a dummy …like if he has two events he would say 'Bright come in and perform. I have another event stand him for me', he would go and come back. I was always like one of the guys that stay to guide the event. He was training me at that point because at that time I never thought I would be able to stand before dignitaries to hold a microphone.
At that point he liked me so it was never a problem for him to leave a venue and come back only for people at the event to be shouting at him or talking to him recklessly. They won't even know he left for somewhere else when he comes back. If anyone asks, I just say bros go ease himself, he dey come back, so you do this and you do that and that was actually what he was doing. So he introduced me to most of his clients. That was why the growth was faster. So apart from just being his P.A I was always going to every event and he was always giving me opportunities to perform for top people and that was how the name spread a little bit faster than it would have . If I had not met Ali Baba, I might still be here at the level I am right now or the growth may be slower, who knows, but he was one of the people that kick – started me.
We heard your colleagues were not at your father's burial, what happened?
Not all of them. I go die , Don Jazzy , Gandoki, I go save, Sim Card, and Buchi came . But Gandoki, Sim card and I go save were actually on their way. They thought it was going to be an all night thing not knowing it was a day thing, so we met on the way and we slept in Owerri. Some of them couldn't come because they had an event, some didn't come because they didn't feel like it because coming to my village is quite a long journey.
I understand if anybody said look I can't come I won't be able to make it and aside that they didn't come because they felt that in the past I have not really be present at their own event which I understand . So I don't hold any grudge against anybody. The reason why you hardly see me around during events organized by my colleagues or friends is because I'm extremely busy. If I can't make it, I'll tell you friend I can't make it but most people don't understand.
Did you invite all of them?
I invited all of them. Some of them didn't tell me they won't come and some of them after the event didn't even call to say how did it go and I was like is this a sign to let me know that guy 'we are angry at you or whatever'. But I don't think so, because I have been at most of their events …wedding, birthdays whatever. That shouldn't be the reason it has to be something else .Whatever their reasons I don't want to know. I'm not going to hold any grudges against anybody.
But didn't you feel bad?
I felt bad , because when I celebrated my son's 1st birthday everybody came.All my comedian colleagues were there and when I was now celebrating death most of them didn't come and I was like are we fair weather friends or are we friends for real? So that was the only thing that made me feel bad.
Have you been able to get to any of them?
I got to a few of them. Those that I really hold dear to me… I told them guys I don't like what you did… you should have called me. Most of them I let go because it's fine. It's just that I'm that kind of person…. if I invite you to come eat and celebrate with me and you come, and I later invite you to come feel the pain that I'm facing right now and you don't come I will find it hard to invite you to come and eat with me again. So just in case I don't invite some people to my wedding they will probably understand.
So let's come to this your son, how old is he now?
My son is going to be two years in May.
When are you getting married?
I'm thinking of getting married this ye ar. My younger sister is getting married this year; so I'm trying to give a little bit of space because it will consume a lot of money. Regarding my wedding we're trying as much as possible to make it very small and at the same time very loud and so I don't want to rush, but definitely I'm getting married this year.
You want to get married to the mother of your son… is it as a result of necessity or as a result of love?
Love really. I've known her for like six years and apart from the fact that she's the mother of my son we are also friends and it's easier to live a happily married life with someone that understands you and someone that you really have a good communication with. Mainly I'm not particular about love itself .I'm particular about communication, friendship, and understanding which is what we have. I can't start a new relationship dealing with anybody else.
The Lord of the Ribs is a new show replacing Basket Mouth Uncensored. Before you talk of the one that will take place in Nigeria let's talk about the one that took place in U.K. The show attracted a lot of accolades. What did you do right and how do you feel?
Okay I didn't know that it was going to be another sell-out by a black comedian in the UK. Eddie Kaddie was my M.C. What we did right was actually the publicity. The publicity was elaborate and the venue was extremely perfect we couldn't have made a better choice. There was something about the 02. The biggest concert has been held at the 02. So we were like okay, we're going to do this because I didn't want to get into a mini show in London and just pick one cheap venue.
The show is not registered, there is no work permit, I am performing and scared of immigration, you know all that. So we went through the right sources and we applied for work permit, paid tax, insured the show, did everything right and because of what we did there was no limitation to the amount of publicity that we were going to do. Talking about how it became a success, I think apart from the fact that it was well publicized, what we are selling was worth it. A lot of people came there to watch me perform and I gave them what they came for. I tried my best to make sure that they got what they wanted. And it was a good show … it was extremely good, it wasn't just directed to us Nigerians, there were Ghanaians, South Africans, Zimbabweans even the British people we had a couple of them there. I'm still hoping that I will still repeat that event there because it was something I never thought could happen and after this one I might do one next year .
I don't know yet but there was no other way to start because I stopped doing Basket mouth uncensored last year and I wanted to bring up a new brand which was the Lord of the Ribs and there was no other way to start Lord of the Ribs than to start the way it started. The platform we used, the crowd and all that would make the next edition which is in Lagos easier to achieve. I'm also bringing in some comedians from U.K to join me. They all said the show was great thanks to all the people that came…
What should we expect from the Lord of the Rib in Nigeria?
Lord of the Rib in Nigeria will be featuring two U.K comedians and one South African comedian. One of the U.K comedians is white and he speaks Pigin English and Yoruba. He's extremely funny. His name is Kevin J and he's one of the biggest comedians in the U.K right now. The other comedian, Eddy Carle is a Congolese but he's also British. He was actually at the show at the Old 02 arena the one with the 20,000 seating capacity. The C.Ds will be sold out because since September the thing is almost half gone. The comedian from South Africa, David Cow is extremely good also.
He is black and he's one of the biggest comedians in South Africa. I'll also be featuring two or three comedians from Nigeria like Bovi, Buchi, and I go die. I won't be able to feature more Nigerian comedians because there would be no time but I'm also trying to build a platform, a new show that will give other comedians an opportunity to also be on stage but right for Lord of the Rib in Lagos we are trying as much as possible to make it extremely different because I'm not going to be the only comedian. We are trying to make it as big as possible using the new venue at the new Expo Center that has 25,000 seating capacity and we are looking at making it a little bit affordable unlike my previous shows that tilted towardsN5000, and N10,000.
This one is going to be a little bit cheaper but definitely we intend to make it one of the biggest comedy events ever in the history of comedy in Nigeria. That's my plan. I intend to do it to the point where even the foreigners too will be part of it.
When will it take place?
We are looking at June. I heard that there are a couple of events in May so I'm looking at June and July but it won't go beyond the summer because a lot of the people will be traveling. So it will be right before summer.
Will it be cheaper than N5, 000?
Yes, it might be. We are still looking at it. N5, 000
Give us a bit of yourself what did you do in school?
I attended UNIBEN . I studied sociology and I left in 2001. I didn't do a BSc degree. I did two diplomas, in sociology and anthropology and also sociology on its own. I was supposed to do my direct entry and go further. I just felt the one I had already don do, make I face comedy which is my talent. For me it's not about the certificate but it's about the talent. I definitely don't see myself using my certificate to work. I cannot do the 9am - 5pm thing except I'm going to my own company. I started professional comedy in 2000 so I'm supposed to be celebrating my ten years on stage but I don't believe in all these celebrations because I feel like I've not really done anything. So I'll probably wait till I am twenty years old on stage and by then I'll probably be in my early forties so I will still be young in the industry.
What would you say of other comedians that copy other people's jokes …. have you ever copied other people's jokes?
I have not copied other people's jokes but I have copied their subject matters. So when people talk about something and I like it, I'll elaborate on it. So it's all about ideas. You pick an idea on someone else's jokes. It's natural . I've used Ali Baba's joke before not because I ran out of jokes but because I liked it. I told him bros this joke I am seizing it; it's no more your joke. When it comes to copying other people's jokes, some comedians do so due to laziness. It is also an act of disrespect for the originators because these people go through a lot in getting a good joke and someone from nowhere comes up and uses the joke.
Who are your top five upcoming comedians?
I won't call them upcoming comedians. I'll call them young comedians and they can't be five. I'll have to mention ten. I like Seyi law, D Don, Mr Patrick, Buchi, I like Bovy a whole lot because his style is actually like mine and the same thing with Buchi.He is very, very spontaneous I like both of them. I can take both of them out of the whole lot and if I say I want to choose my first two I will choose them. I don't want to mention names because they may feel bad if I don't mention their names . There are other comedians like Ele nu, Mc Shakara, then the lecturals. I admire their work , because they have it in them although I can't really remember all their names.
Let's come to your own class, your top five biggest comedians?
Hmmm number one is Oke bakasi, I go die, Gandoki, Ali Baba and Basorge
Okay who are the five worse comedians?
I can't say that … I can't say that, I'm sorry.