I Like Doing Stupid Things To Make People Happy - Shairman
You were involved in music promotion. Have you dropped that for comedy?
No, I've not. I'm still into music promotion, together with home video. The last one we did is yet to be released. It is entitled The New Dawn. I'm a dual person. In Nigeria, you are allowed to have many talents and develop them all if you could.
How did you come about comedy?
Comedy is in my blood. Ordinarily, what I was doing before, like you rightly pointed out, was basically music and home video promotion, but somebody told me that I should let that which I have in me come out; that I should go ahead and work at it. So, I started trying to improve myself, trying to bring out the real me. And you will agree with me that comedy is making waves now.
When did you start comedy?
I went into active comedy about six years ago. I started from my church, with my peer groups, my home and so on. Eventually, people encouraged me to take it to a higher level. So, I found myself doing this.
You seem not to be well-known like other comedians. Why?
Point of correction. I think that is not true. I'm known, it's just that you think I'm not known. But the fact is that it has to do with the area I find myself. I'm based in Ibadan. A lot of people have walked up to tell me, “Go to Lagos; go to Abuja!” However, I believe that your base is always a better place to showcase yourself. If you are well accepted in your base, then it is easier for you to spread your tentacles all over the place. Initially, I didn't want to come out. I was just doing comedy for pleasure. But like I said, I was later made to realise that I had to professionalise it. And that was when I decided to blow it up. Ibadan is a place where everything starts from, but people end up going elsewhere. I have chosen to make Ibadan my base. I can assure you that if I go to Lagos, it won't be long before people start discovering me. And even as I'm here, I have shows on TV stations that people see all over the place.
Are you fulfilled as a comedian?
Yes, I am. Anything you do that brings you satisfaction should make you fulfilled. I'm satisfied; I'm fulfilled. I do jobs; I get money. People call me for jobs. The fame is there. There are challenges like not having your own time, having to work extra hard, I'm not complaining. You see, comedy is not something you reach a point and relax; you have to improve everyday. It's really tedious, but fulfilling.
You always wear wigs. Is that your trademark?
Yes, wig is my trademark. Funny enough, a lot of people have suggested that I wear earrings, make-up, and skirt, but I always tell them, I won't do that. I already have a trademark, just like Basketmouth or Klint de Drunk.
Do you wear it day and night?
Why would I do that? Do you want to kill me? In fact, when I just started, there were some organisations that didn't want to invite me for their shows – especially religious organisations . They were wondering why a man would put on a wig? But eventually, they accepted it as my trademark. I don't wear wigs when I go out for other day-to-day activities. I only where them when I'm on stage.
What was your family's reaction to this funny character you always depict?
I hear people say their parents were opposed to their becoming comedians, but I've been lucky in that regard. In fact, my mum is a comedian; not a professional one, but she cracks jokes a lot. I think I take after her. My coming into comedy was not new to them. Back in school, even all my friends knew I was a comedian. I used to mimic my teachers. So, my parents, my family and everyone around me had no negative reaction to my choice of comedy. All that is important is for me to be able to cater for my family, which I'm able to do by God's grace.
Apart from comedy, what do you do?
I have realised that whenever I want to do many things at a time, it does not work. So, I focus now on comedy and showbiz. I plan events, put up shows, get artistes and together, we make it happen. For now, that is what I do.
Do you sing too?
I have a rather bad voice, but I sing comically as part of the package. I like doing stupid things to make people happy, changing something real to something unreal.
Tell us a little about your background?
I come from a humble background. I'm the only child of my mother's. My dad has another wife, so I have siblings. I grew up living outside my parents' home. I did not stay with my mum for a large part of my life. I did a lot of odd jobs and I'll like to advise youths out there: Just believe in your dreams. I was once a houseboy. I had to work to pay for my education, because my parents were not very capable.
I attended Army Children School and Army Day Secondary School, Abanike, Enugu, for my primary and secondary education (My dad is a retired soldier). After that, I came to the West and, fortunately, I gained admission into the University of Ibadan for my diploma. After my diploma, I did my degree in Education.
Tell us your names.
My names are Uket Okpa Mbang. I'm from Yakurr Local Government Area of Cross River State.
We learnt that you are about to release a film. What is it about?
It is a family-pack comedy. It is a series called No Lauf, No Life Volume I. It will come out any time from now. We have great actors like Tola Oladokun, Ofiliganga and others in it. It is comedy all through. There is nothing that can not be seen by children there. Anybody can watch it. It is family comedy. No age limit.
Who are your mentors?
I have several. One of them is dead. That was Mr. Bean. He was not a Nigerian. Others are Nkem Owoh and Klint de Drunk.