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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The world of Nigeria’s leading comedians


Generally, these people make money by being funny. Generations before ours regarded them as jesters. A wretched and unserious lot .This generation regards them as comedians. Nothing short of big boys of the land. We are taking a look at big boys in the comedy business. By big boys we mean those who have done well for themselves through comedy.

Ali Baba
Many regard him as the grandfather of modern comedy and the title is apt, because he gave an otherwise colourless profession colour and added a befitting business acumen which paved the way for comedians of his generation. Ali Baba began his comedy career back in his university days at the then Bendel State University (now, Edo State University, Ekpoma,).

As a student, he established himself as a force to reckon with in show business on campus. Way back in 1988, when fathers wanted their children to be lawyers, doctors and engineers, he was earning up to N150 per show in a business that many didn’t regard seriously . After his university education, he joined the Charlie Boy Show and in no time, individuals and corporate bodies began to sign up for his services.

Ali B as his contemporaries call him , is a toast of the presidency and corporate clients. He is a friend of billionaires of the land and the first choice of corporate brands who want a specific image for their firms. Ali Baba also has XQZ Moi, an event centre, in his kitty and drives around town in eye-popping car. He reportedly charges about N2million to compere an event.

Basket Mouth
Call him the present day premium brand of comedy and you won’t be wrong but you would be surprised to know that years ago, Basketmouth dreamt of being a big time rapper. His encounter with Ali Baba in 2001 changed his career when the veteran comedian advised him to drop the mic for comedy since he seems to be a better comedian than a rapper. He complied and came to Lagos and that decision paid off for this comedian who staged the Lord Of the Ribs , one of the most successful comedy escapades in Nigeria. At the moment, his brand of comedy is preferred in the corporate world. He is a Globacom ambassador.

Earlier in the year, he became the first African comedian to perform at the O2 Arena in the UK . That performance is historic, because the show sold out long before its actual date. Basketmouth dines with the high and mighty including Mike Adenuga and Richard Branson. His real name is Bright Okpocha and he does lots of shows outside Nigeria where he is paid in hard currency. Basketmouth is the comedian of choice for most banks when they have events. With his own house in Lekki, Basketmouth has proved that comedy is a money spinning machine when you know the right button to press.

Julius Agwu
Julius Agwu is called D’genius and his ability to reinvent himself and diversify without losing the true essence of his brand is his unique selling point. Julius is a comedian, an actor, a musician and above all a master of ceremony with lots of comedy in his kitty.

A Theatre Arts graduate of the University of Port Harcourt and the best graduating student in his class, he possesses the rare acumen of mixing music with comedy and that has put him on a vantage position. He also had a stint in acting and he did not do badly in films he has featured in. His Crack Ya Ribs TV show has earned him fame as he remains one of the few comedians that have hosted successful shows overseas.Julius has lots of corporate clients too.

Gbenga Adeyinka
If you are seeking a crowd and want to sell your products or organising a rally, Gbenga Adeyinka is the man to call. Over the years he has done more rallies than other comedians and has anchored big crowd events more than any of them. His unique selling point is his ability to handle lots of corporate gigs and comedy shows for corporate giants including telecommunication companies. He is preferred for all Nigerian Brewery events.

Gbenga Adeyinka’s journey into the comedy world began at the University of Lagos, where he compeered events for people. After he graduated, people continued calling him to be the Mc for their events and he later went to Murhi International Television (MITV) where he did children entertainment programmes. From there, Funmi Davies invited him to be part of her comedy programme and ever since then, this corporate event choice comedian has continued to wax stronger.

TEE A
You don’t see TEE-A everywhere, but he is busy in the corporate world making cool money for himself. Though his charges are high , his clients don’t mind because they know what they get when it is brand TEE-A that is attached to their events or product. TEE-A is not “elitist” and ‘butter’. He’s got the street in him as well and he has demonstrated that he could do street shows and give Gbenga Adeyinka a run for his talent in handling a large crowd . He has the honour of being the first Nigerian comedian to stage a one man stand-up comedy concert, first Nigerian comedian to perform at the famous Hackney Empire Theatre bullion room. He is also the first African comedian to be invited for the California Comedy Conference in Palm Springs , California.

TEJU baby face
Though deeply engaged in his show, The Teju Bbabyface Show, Teju has not lost his acumen in comedy . He is an extraordinary master of ceremony , and he comperes events for fees that will make a banker wonder why he has to spend so many hours earning his pay when he could just pick up the Mic like Teju.
Teju Baby Face embraced the entertainment world when he acted with A-list Nollywood actors like RMD, Liz Benson, Bimbo Akintola in Diamond Ring . He however left the tube and took to comedy.

AY
Some call him a strategist and for those who followed his career from his days with Ali Baba, his rise to stardom depicts truly a man who knows a lot about winning. AY does lots of corporate and family events. Ayo Makun, is a graduate of the Theatre Arts from Delata State University. He made his mark in the comedy business with his almost perfect imitation of Rev Chris Okotie which earned him wide popularity .

AY cut his teeth under Ali Baba as his personal Assistant. AY was appointed UN Peace Ambassador in 2009 after winning six different awards in 2008 some of which include Comedian of the year, Diamond Awards for comedy, and Mode Man of the year.

2 comments:

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