LAST INTERVIEW WITH LATE COMEDIAN ABAGANA
I'D HAVE BEEN ROADSIDE MECHANIC OR VULCANIZER- ABAGANA
He died unfortunately on 24th January, 2008 a few hours to his birthday. He was said to have complained of coughing and he drove himself to the hospital only to give up the ghost. Abagana needs no introduction as a humorist. Born Kenneth Chibuzor Ajaoku, the fast rising stand-up comedian has carved a niche for himself over the years with his unique style. In this interview the Enugu born comedian spoke on his background, how he started, his source jokes, his adopted stage name, his secret wedding and other issues.
I was born on January 25th in the 70s to the family of Ajaoku. I attended Okonna Primary School, Enugu. I later proceeded to Urban Boys' Secondary School Enugu.
Presently I am studying Business Administration at Lagos State University. I am the last born from a family of six children. I have four sisters and an elder brother. I could remember we had a serious training from our parents especially our mum, Nwakaego Ajaoku who taught us to be humble and respect all. My father is late, he died in 1982. My mum now resides in Enugu.
I was determined from my childhood to be a comedian. Ironically, my mother did not like the idea of any of her kids to either be an actor, musician or comedian.
The society had a pariah view of these set of people. Within myself I realized I have some comic traits but I did not imagine it would be my source of livelihood.
As a young man I came down to Lagos for greener pasture. I met Julius Agwu who used to be a good friend. After some time he introduced into the act of
comedy. We both attended shows and events together. He encouraged me to discover the God-given talent in me as a comedian. Julius is my mentor.
The name Abagana is the name of my village in Anambra State. It was during a talent hunt show which I participated in. Instead of calling my name the judges referred to me as “the man from Abagana”. Since then I have adopted the name as my stage name. I love the name and my folks are proud of the name.
I crack my jokes based on what is happening in the society. I do what I call environmental jokes. To me Nigerians and non-Nigerians who are resident in the
country should be aware of a lot of issues such as poverty, unemployment, insecurity and other issues which the average Nigerian family has to contend with.
My presentations of these issues will are euphemistic but I will always drive home my points. In my view, a stand-up comedian should be creative enough to pass an
apparent message across to his or her audience. The way I do my jokes are such that I express myself and people laugh about them. For instance, I may pick any body and say, Oh boy your shirt nice shirt but if you see the original you go like am o! and the show would go on. I do jokes based on reality and things around me. There is no basis for a good comedian to recycle jokes of other comedians.
FIRST DAY ON STAGE
My brother e don tey small but e no easy that day. The show was at Abuja, I was to perform alongside Alli Baba, Okey Bakassi, Julius Agwu and Basket Mouth. I
rehearsed every minute. When I got on stage I noticed I was sweating profusely. To my own amazement my performance that day was the peak of the show. I got
a standing ovation for my performance.
I don't know how to get serious again because if I get serious I will stop making money. I think I would rather resign as a comedian if I want to be serious. But in everything I do I see myself as a serious person. Before I got married I told my wife I would marry her. Her response was “You have started again. How many babes you wan marry?” But I was serious.
I'D HAVE BEEN ROADSIDE MECHANIC OR VULCANIZER
If I had not become a professional comedian, I would have become a roadside mechanic or vulcanized. Those are other professions I would have taken up that would have given the same popularity because I would have taken up a unique life style.
I PREFER TO BE A COMEDIAN
I enjoy what I do and God has been merciful to me since I started as comedian. Aside that, I have loving a mother who prays constantly for her children. I have
this thought that keeps bothering me; I imagine when my baby grows up and she would ask me what I do for a living. She may say, “Daddy where are you going?” If I reply her that I am going to the office. She may say, “But daddy one of my classmates called me and told me my daddy's office is on the stage.” I would tell her to shut up. Where ever my office is, I feed you, take care of you and pay your school fees.
MY SECRET WEDDING
I deliberately had secret wedding last December with Angela, the woman I love so much. The reason for my secret wedding has to do with the fact that personally
I don't believe the society wedding will determine the success of my marital life. Moreover the more the wedding is publicised the more likely it may have challenges. I thank God the wedlock was blessed with a beautiful baby girl on 4th April, 2007. Her name is I'M blessed.
I annually organize a show known as Laughter Chapters. We are planning the 4th Chapter or edition next August. I also have a show known as 'Bia a chia', an Ibo comedy show which simply means come and laugh. The essence of this is to have a different look at comedy. I also do shows like Gospel According to Comedy, Lafta Fiesta and other shows with my colleagues.
This is a menace to everyone. To me what remains is for us to buying NTA Network news reports on CD at one hundred and fifty naira. The government should see it as a national problem.
By: TAIWO OBATUSIN FOR WWW.NIGERIAFILMS.COM