“I Was Influenced By Fela”-Bunmi Davies
Bunmi Davies is not a known face in the public neither is he a comedian, however his input in the world of comedy since he started producing comedy shows 9 years ago, has made his name a household in the comedy world.
Boss of Afrotainment Productions, producers of Stand Up Nigeria, this lanky looking showbiz man recounts his experience in the comedy world since he joined the train 9 years ago. This Theatre Arts practitioner, who had worked with almost all the big comedians in Nigeria as well as the up and coming ones spoke on his life, career and passions.
On his Success
“Success is relative because what you might term as success might not be success for someone else but I think on a general view, we haven't done badly even though we haven't achieved what we set out to achieve and also our destination but we are on the path. What has gotten us this far has been our openness; we have been open to ourselves, open to everybody, our patrons and partners. We also haven't compromised on quality as well as our ideals because we make sure that our jokes are always clean, we screen some of our comedians' jokes just to get the best for the audience.”
On Stand Up Nigeria
“Stand Up Nigeria was created after several, I won't call it hitches on trying to plan shows, but long ago we had always wanted to do something that would be 100% comedy. Since 2002 when we started staging shows for people, we had this challenge of the platform that would be used to promote comedy event, then it used to be music platform, most times, giving comedy just few minutes in a 4 hour music show, I felt comedians were short changed. So, we wanted to create a platform for comedy to grow where comedians would have a feel of their industry as well as horn their skills and that is why the show is strictly comedy based with little or no music because we don't have strength in music but only comedy because you can't give what you don't have. The first show was so bad that we couldn't edit neither could we show it and I'm talking about a show that had under 12 people in attendance with half of them did not pay and when I look back, I can't just stop thanking God, that was 3years ago and now it has grown to 1000 people and between you and I, the result of the first show was okay to send the idea of our minds because we didn't have the financial muscle and we pulled it through with a loss for 9 months. We intend to celebrate our 3rd anniversary in a big way by November.”
The Fela's Influence
“Fela influenced my works because his thinking, pan africanism influenced me greatly but I narrowed mine into the Nigeria and that is why my focus is on Nigeria rather than Africa or the world like Fela would always do. Nigeria is our based and Fela has greatly influenced my way of thinking somehow and I find his music, his way of arguing things out which some people see as radicalism and we can't have two of him. I was a regular shrine person when I was in school and I still listen to his songs. At least, I went to the shrine 3 Fridays in a month and I so went to the shrine that I had a wardrobe for shrine, that means the cloths that I wear to shrine are different because you can't afford to go there and be forming butter. And my rehearsal cloths are just handy. Sometimes I'm thinking and I hear the base guitar that is used for sound check at the shrine. I was so addicted to the shrine then that some of my friends in school actually trailed me to the shrine and watched me dance, yell and sing like every other fan without drinking, smoking or womanizing because till now, I still don't do any of those and my friends just didn't understand why I was so addicted to Fela's shrine.”
“Growing up was fun for me, I'm a proper Lagos born to the bone! My parents are Lagosians, I didn't live the typical Lagos life but I didn't lack and I thank God for that. My parents gave me more or less everything that I needed to become successful in life, it was fun growing up. I could remember when I was young, I would organize a concert with my cousins and we would perform to the delight of our uncles and aunts. Then my grandfather used to give us money to stage the concert, which comes up few days to the end of the holidays. We would have rehearsed, learnt dance steps and perform everything to our uncles, aunts, parents and grannies, so it was fun and I think that prepared me for the current situation in life.”
On His Achievements
“Well, I would say we were commended by a top body in Kenya when Stand Up Nigeria entered for a competition alongside several other TV shows that do comedy in Nigeria. We came out tops as Stand Up Nigeria was awarded the best out of other TV shows. And this won us a participation in the biggest comedy festival at Montreal as well as an all paid trip to Switzerland. It's part of what we do with our products, we don't compromise quality and unknown to many Stand Up Nigeria is the only show that runs 3 times every week unlike other shows that run once in a week. We provide the content people would provide in three weeks in one week and we still maintain our standard and quality and that is why we have earned the phrase, Nigeria's most classy comedy show in the country.”