IF YOU THINK COMEDY IS JOKE, TRY IT —GORDONS
Some few years ago, the name Godwin Omoneh A. K. A. Gordons was unknown. But when the controversy of whom the original writer of the song Welu Welu came up, the Warri born song writer, singer, comedian and tailor shot up to fame.
And the dust finally settled he was credited as the copyright owner of the work.
Today the Integrated Science graduate of the Delta State University has since stepped up his profile both as a musician and as a comedian.
Only recently he was handed on a platter of gold the responsibility of organising the next Made in Warri show by the former organiser Richard Mofe- Damijo. In this interview with Showtime, Gordons spoke about comedy business and a lot more. Enjoy.
How do you cope with female advances especially at night shows?
The truth is that, it doesn't happen at night shows only , it also happens during afternoon shows. We have vampires in the night as much as we have in the day.
When I'm doing my show, my mind is strictly on it and I try as much as possible not to be distracted. Ladies come to ask for my telephone numbers, E-mail address or complimentary card, and what I tell them is, I want to do my show first and when I'm done, you can come.
... And after the show?
After the show, I get back to my room. Or would you follow me to my room when I don't know you?
Isn't it a normal thing for girls to fall in love with celebrities?
It's not a big deal for one to fall in love with a celebrity. The issue here is, how genuine is the love? .
Could that be the reason why some celebrities find themselves involved in sex scandal?
Sometimes these stories may not be true as certain journalists write certain stories they don't confirm. And when you thoroughly investigate such stories, you'd find out that such stories are baseless and the person that is allegedly involved is innocent of the accusation.
The other reason why such publication may be made is the reason of jealousy. The person might not be that bad.
But I'm not saying that celebrity sex scandals don't exist, it does and it's not peculiar to the entertainment industry alone. It happens everywhere. We all have our weaknesses, and the fact that the person is a celebrity doesn't exempt him from being tempted to do something. Sexual harassment is everywhere.
Are you saying that sexual harassment exists in the entertainment industry?
No. As a matter of fact, in the industry where I belong, I have not seen somebody who has been sexually harassed by another person.
How do you treat your female fans?
As much as I can, I respect women and I try as much as possible to exercise discipline on my part because some ladies may love you only because of your money. So I handle the issue carefully and wisely because they are my fans.
How does your girlfriend react to the numerous calls you get especially from ladies?
She must understand the job that I do and what goes with the job. I have educated her so that when such things come, she wouldn't take it seriously.
You have a unique way of presentation, can you tell us when you actually came into comedy?
Well, I came into comedy about two and the half years ago. But for then I have been doing music for more than fourteen years.
If you've been into music for more than fourteen years, how come comedy has suddenly become your flagship?
Coming into comedy was not really by accident. And it's not as if I was not a fulfilled musician but you see in this country, you just need to discover yourself.
Some people discover theirs as they go through life while others discover theirs immediately they get to that point of decision making. Some people think that comedy is just the act of making the people laugh.
I tell you it's more than that. The act of making the people laugh is tougher than studying Engineering in the University.The psychologist will tell you that comedy is the most difficult job on the earth. Do you know what it takes to make frustrated people laugh? . Try it on your own and find out just how easy it is. Comedy is not a joke at all.
How often do you get harassed when you joke about matters hinged on national issues?
For every job, there is the hazard but I don't feel harassed when I hear people call me and say why would you have to say this concerning a national issue. It's got to be said. Somebody has to say it. The truth is that we have been threatened, called upon and advised to desist from such acts but as a comedian, you have to know that these are some of the hazards in the profession and we have learnt how to handle them without prejudice.
Do you think with the influx of new hands into the business, it has become Tom, Dick and Harry affair?
No. Comedy is a noble career. Yes, we have plenty of people coming into the business because they think there is money in there. Well that may be true. We have two types of comedians; the natural comedian, and those who learnt to be comedians. If you are in the last category, then it simply means you are in it because of the money. And it also means you will not last long in the business.
And how do you rate yours?
Well by the grace of God and with all sense of humility, I think, I belong to the natural category. Although comedy comes natural with me, I try as much as possible to develop, improve and refine it to the level that will be acceptable to all.
What inspires you?
Inspiration is from God. I read a lot of motivational books, newspapers and I watch a lot of foreign programme like CNN, because we are social commentators and not just a bunch of clowns. We are able to address national issues humorously, that way, somebody might learn something.
And apart from that, sometimes one has to wake up around two in the morning, just to wait for inspiration.
The fact that more people are coming into comedy is a thing of concern. Most of the jokes are dry and it has now become a phenomenon that a particular joke told by one person will be repeated by different persons, can we say this is what comedy is all about?
The fact that you have created a joke and told it in a show, wouldn't stop you from telling the joke in another show.
But as far as I'm concerned I try as much as possible to freshen my jokes at all times. Even if I have told this joke, I have to as much as possible to create five new jokes alongside it at another performance. And if I have to do an old joke, it will be out of popular demand.
You have been chosen to handle the Made in Warri show, how did you do it?
I don't think I'm the one taking over the show. God is. God just did it all by himself and I feel very honoured that God is beginning to lift some of us considered unworthy in the past.
How would you rate comedy today?
Comedy is one of the most sophisticated jobs any man can do. It's different from being a clown. A stand-up comedian is more or less a social commentator. The job is not a joke even though, it revolves around telling jokes.
If you go to any show, it's your responsibility to make that environment lively and determine the next level in the programme. So it's no joke.
How rich are you?
Only God can really pay us especially in this country. We don't have respect for talented people. But by the grace of God, I get between 400 and 600 thousand Naira per show and I'm comfortable. But If I get more than that, I won't complain.
Are you saying that comedy has come to stay in Nigeria?
Yes. Comedy is the only worthy thing that we export right now. I have received calls from all over the world, especially from those who watched The Nite of A thousand Laughs, Xmas Made in Warri, Crack Your Ribs, etc. We launder through the process, the image of this country.
What are the challenges in the industry?
Yes. Apart from the problem of finance, what we call joke piracy is another problem. Joke piracy in the sense that, we have upcoming comedians as well as the older and established comedians.
An upcoming comedian listens to an older colleague, takes his joke and goes somewhere else and tells it, without giving credit to the originator.
And most times when he tells the joke, people wouldn't laugh because the joke had been told before.
These are just some of the challenges we face. So these days what we do, is to tell jokes out of everyday experience, that way you wouldn't be able to tell the joke like I'll do.