COMEDY FRENZY ON INSTAGRAM- meet Nedu, Josh2funny and others best at it.
To imagine how far the comedy industry has come and how instrumental comedians are to the success story of the art/entertainment industry and the profitability of brands in Nigeria is mind-blowing. Researching on the influence of today’s comedians using their various skits to pull the strings on social media outlets like Instagram and the massive audience that follows them is unimaginable. The best way to describe this great success story for the comedy industry is to turn back the hands of time to the late nineties when Ali Baba erected three billboards carrying a simple message: “Ali Baba – Being Funny is Serious Business.” The comedy industry is a serious business. That business is now paying off.
From the day the event organizer flew in from Accra, Ghana to meet up with the comedians to make payment and pick up the signed contract despite the fact that it’s about two months to the event, as an intermediary to the contract, my phone never stopped ringing. The organizers were always checking up on me to make sure that everything remains perfect with their deals. The success of their show is hugely reliant on the influence of the Nigerian comedians they are bringing over. They insisted the comedians come in a day before the event. On that set travel date, they were tracking me every second to make sure all their performers had made it through to the boarding gate of the airport.
The power in terms of influence these comedians carry is so huge to the point that some of the radio stations in Accra had to put direct calls before we boarded just to be the first to have minute-by-minute updated interviews. As the plane taxied and made it to the air, I looked at the comedians all seated in their first class area, I took a deep breath and I said wow. To imagine that comedians have fought a good battle to create an industry that have made several of them billionaires and influencers not just in Nigeria but across the world, is a fantastic unfolding story that is in need of a proper thesis. In an environment where theatre performance struggled for sustenance, the comedy genre as part of the art industry has risen to be a veritable medium of live artistic entertainment. If there’s one industry that is continually developing at the pace of the music industry, it’s the comedy industry.
According to reports, the journey for the comedy industry that started way back with village spokesmen who acted as comedians especially at ceremonial occasions received a boost with the advent of radio and television. This broadcasting means became a veritable medium for comedians to reach out to more audience and the likes of the popular Mazi Mperempe programme on Radio Nigeria and the old Anambra State Television, Enugu, in the ‘70s and‘80s birthed. Comedy as a business did not receive the respect due to it until Alleluia Atunyota Akporobomeriere alias Ali Baba, a 1990 graduate of Religious
Studies/Philosophy from then Bendel State University (now Ambrose Alli University),Ekpoma, surfaced on the scene. Quoting from an online report I came across while researching on this editorial, “Ali Baba
dared the odds of negative public perceptions to have a breakthrough in comedy. He has dimmed the impressive record of his predecessors, such as the late John Chukwu (JC), Tony St. Iyke, and much later, Jude Away Away, who were good, great men that were into stand-up comedy, but did not take it to the level Ali Baba has done’.
It will be ridiculous to talk about the success of the comedy industry without mentioning Opa Williams who created The Nite Of A Thousand laughs. He started with the likes of the late Mohammed Danjuma, Okey Bakassi, SamLoco Efe, Boma Erokosima, Late Sammy Needle, Junior and Pretty, his factory has since produced many more comedians, a great number of them entertaining millions around the globe. Some within the generation, with amiable styles and adaptations to stand-up comedy, include Francis Duru,Yibo Koko, Ayodeji Makun, aka AY, Julius Agwu, I Go Dye, Bovi, I Go Save,Gandoki, MC Abbey, Gordons, Michael Ogbolosingha, Klint da Drunk, Basketmouth,Teju Baby Face, Maleke, Holly Mallam, Elenu, MC Shakara, Onyebuchi Ojieh(Buchi), Emeka Smith, Dave Sikpa, Princess, and Lepacious Bose, among others.
The comedy industry, which started from village spokespersons that acted as comedians, was enhanced by broadcast media like radio and television. It further expanded through various comedy clubs. Comedians gradually started appearing in clubs later to mega stages and shows. Alongside Ali Baba, this industry evolved creating an army of comedians flourishing all over in Nigeria. The likes of Tunde Adewale aka Tee A; Gbenga Adeyinka, aka, ‘CFR’(Comedian of the Federal Republic); Teju Oyelakin, aka Teju Babyface;Idowu Nuel, aka Koffi; Francis Agoda, aka I Go Dye; Godwin Komone, aka Gordons (who was a member of DC Envoys, a Gospel Acapella group); Mike Ogbolosingha, Omo Baba, MC Shakara; I Go Save; Gandoki; Emeka Smith; Bovi Ugboma, simply called, Bovi; and Seyi Law, to mention but a few. The success story of the comedy industry is still ongoing. In today’s industry, we are also witnessing comedians using their skits on social media outlets like Instagram to gather a huge number of followers, which in turn is attracting brands to do massive business with them. This edition is all about this group who are inspiring comedy frenzy on social media. Among the best on Instagram are @iam_mimiko @ogbeni_adan @demo_pumpin @comedianxtreme @comedianebiye .
JOSH2FUNNY a.k.a Mama Felicia
Just within one year that he created and started circulating the ‘Mama Felicia’ comedy skit on social media, Joshua Alfred Chibuike aka Josh2funny is one of the most viewed comedians on social media. His skits are refreshing and relevant as the renditions of all the latest songs make his skits very trendy. As of 5th of April 2017, he commands about 128 thousand followers on his Instagram page, while some of his posts carry about thirty six thousand likes.
This Native of Anambra state was discovered when he won the ‘Best Comedian’ at a talent show called Project Raw Talent, organized by Street Project in 2011. As part of the price won, he was to be mentored by veteran comedian ‘Koffi’. He was part of Koffi’s music crew called the Splufik team. As a member of that team he produced about two songs and also gathered more knowledge about the comedy industry. He was squatting with Boomerang, a member of the Splufik team in Mushin for a while. It was in that house that the ‘Mama Felicia’ brand was discovered and created. He was trying to create a comedy skit about the female gender when he suddenly picked up one of Boomerang’s dresses and shot with it. That skit gathered momentum, which made fellow comedian Arole to ask him to use that character to join his skit as a member of the choir group. Josh produced the skit and Arole posted it and it went viral. The more they posted, the more it broke the net. From that moment, Josh2funny’s Mama Felicia brand suddenly became a household name to be reckoned with in the industry.
Although her career as one of the comedians with skits on social media just started January 2017, this lady does not sound like a newbie. Coming out with her various skits on relationship, family and life issues, made her standout as one of the most innovative to look out for in the nearest future.
Oluwatoyin Albert, who hails from Ondo state but was born and brought up in Warri, doubles as a dancer. She’s a 2014 graduate from the department of Theatre Arts (majored in dance and drama) from Delta State University. Her dancing career started out in 2010 but she stumbled into comedy early 2017. ‘The comedy part of me did not start out as if I wanted to choose a career in it. I know I am comical; I just wanted to express myself and make my friends laugh. I was just being real and having fun. With every skit, the numbers of likes were impressive, so I gave that part of me a go.’ – She narrated her tale to me.
Talking to TY, hearing her story, gradually pulled together most of the assertions I encountered during my research on this article. Most graduates from Theatre Arts who have a strong passion for acting finds it easy to branch out into comedy. Comedy instinctively becomes an outlet for them to express themselves for obvious reasons. Comedy skits come with acting, singing or dancing. In a society where live theatre performances are struggling for attention, dancing or comedy skits become a way out for professionals like Datwarrigirl.
Arguably, this lady is proving to be one of the most innovative among all her colleagues with comedy skits on instagram. Every piece from her is so well thought of and reflects the everyday trend. ‘My name is Bolarinwa Oluwatoyin Omotola aka Africocogirl. I am a very jovial, lovable and interesting person to be around. I am a graduate of Oduduwauniversity, where I studied Mass Communication. Comedy started for me sometime in 2016 after College, and I must say that it has been a great journey for me so far. Although, there were some little challenges faced, but as time went on, I started seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.
‘Firstly, I will like to give kudos to all the comedians and comediennes in Nigeria. They are doing a great job by working day in day out to put a smile on someone’s face. I think Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and other social media platforms have really helped comedians in the promotion of their brands. These days’ people are glued to their phones watching one skit or the other and of course
tagging others to view it because of its relatable content. Comedy Skits in Nigeria is what is fast rising and I am really happy and delighted to be a part of it.’
NEDU a.k.a Sister Nkechi.
This guy is one of the most free spirited, creative, insane restless comics and satirist I know. He’s arguably the only comic with two of the most trending alter egos in this part of the world. As petite as he is, this brother carries talent that cuts across the music, comedy, acting and broadcasting industry. With all of these, it’s hard to comprehend how he still finds time as a model in commercials. His persona as ‘Sister Nkechi’ on Instagram is one the funniest comedy characters on display in the industry with an audience that cuts across age grade, border/gender/tribal lines.
‘Comedy came easy for me. I wouldn’t say it started at a particular point or age. It has always been there with me. I more or less got it from my parents because both my mom and dad are very funny people, so it’s only natural somewhat that I am too. I discovered the Nkechi character in 2013 and putit on social media in 2016. The Musa character came online 2016 but theidea was conceived much earlier.’ Ani Chinedu Emmanuel, popularly called Nedu is a native of Enugu State and a graduate of accounting from Madonna University Okija. This brand ambassador for a couple of brands currently works as an on air personality with Wazobia fm and TV.
No matter how moody you are, Bayegun Oluwatoyin aka Woli Arole’s comedy skits on Intagram will crack you up badly. His visibility all over social media and presence at most A-list celebrity activations make this guy looks like the MVP of the comedy skit industry. Considering the fact that his comedy skits became active on Instagram September 2015, his legion of followers today is overwhelming.
‘I’m from Ondo State, my mommy is from Ekiti State, so I’m a half-caste. I am inspired to do comedy from God, because I had it in me for a while, and I started when I was in OAU-Ife. I started as more as a stand-up comedian, and from there I moved to social media. If I was asked what inspired me to begin to post comedy skits on social media, I would say I was inspired by God. I just posted the first skit, people loved it and I never stopped since then. The first skit I posted was on a Sunday; I began with my prayer point pattern. I went in to the bush and I began to pray as people in white garment churches do. People loved it and I never stopped since that time. I did not see it as a big deal; I saw it as a form of expressing myself. My people loved it. I am still doing my skits till now.
He won the second season of Alibaba’s Spontaneity Competition but according to him, the turning point for his career was in Obafemi Awolowo University when he held a show at the Amphitheatre. ‘The show was such a hit that its news got carried to the outside world. My brand is that of happiness, fun and laughter. Basically, I’m a comedian but Í am also an actor. All I do is share happiness and fun with people.’ – Arole
It’s also important to note that Arole classified himself as a real prophet. ‘I am a real prophet. I see real visions and I give real prophecies. It is not a joking thing. It is a gift and I have people who can testify to this. That is the reason why my jokes are not the regular kind.’
Everything about this lady depicts stardom. I don’t think it will be out of place to say she’s one of the hardest working females in the comedy industry. Her beauty might deceive one to draw a conclusion that she might be having things easy but to the contrary. The effort she puts into each skit uploaded on Instagram is a vindication that Wofai Samuel popularly called Wofaifada is meticulously working and leaving no stone unturned to achieve her goal of becoming one of the most respected ladies in the entertainment industry. This graduate of Zoology/Environmental science from the University of Calabar has the largest followers amongst the comedians uploading skits on instagram.
Her popular signature or selling point in her case is her beauty and her 50shades of Wofai; either she dresses like a girl or tomboy. She always delivers rib-cracking moments. Born in a family of five, she started out as a model in 2005, organizing major beauty pageant in cross-river. Wofai is not only talented but also versatile. Asides from being a comedienne, she is a fast rising TV personality (EbonyLife EL Rated), Actress, Event Compere, Spokeswoman and model who has been singled out for different kinds of commercials by respectable brands.
He’s one of the most spontaneous comedians on social media. Whenever an event occurs in the industry, before a blink of the eye, he churns out comedy skits about it that his massive followers can’t get enough of. If Saturday Nights Live (SNL) is the award winning comedy show for timely comedy satire in America, Emmanuel Edunjobi aka EmmaOhmaGod is the one-man army singlehandedly replicating that feat for the Nigerian satire market. As a graduate of Covenant University from the department of Electrical and Electronics engineering, Emmanuel is versatile; a bundle of talent.
‘What stands me out as a comedian is the way I fuse music with my comedy. It’s a totally different feel; especially because I sing well and I play the instruments. I record and produce myself to the tune of whatever I want to portray. And most times when I do my comedy on stage I like to do it with a piano or a guitar.’ – EmmaOhmyGod
His journey thus far: ‘Hmm… That’s quite an interesting story. I did my NYSC in Lagos in 2011 and while I was at camp I won all the competitions I was a part of, like the “NYSC Idols Singing Competition”, “Inter-Platoon Comedy Competition” and some other competitions like that sha. When I left camp I was invited for an interview on a program at Rainbow FM. I practically took over the whole show. Meanwhile someone was listening to the show and apparently was really impressed, and that was how I was hooked up with Cool/WazobiaFm. From there, I became the major producer for Wazobia and by God’s grace I did such a good job that I was retained and from then it has been a case of greater heights and higher grounds. I thank God!’
MAYOWA EKPO a.k.a Shaki and funky baby
Finding the right words to describe how creative this lady is will be a hard one. She’s arguably the only lady in the comedy skit sphere on Instagram with two amazingly spontaneous alter egos. To imagine that this lady never got schooled in any theatre or acting school and can still deliver all her rib cracking comedy skits is overwhelming.
Mayowa Lambe Ekpo, an indigene of Oyo state, Ogbomosho north precisely is one of the most interesting comediennes on social media with an audience of over eighty thousand. ‘I became an Instagram sensation
with the comedy skits I make, talking largely to women about how to behave right in the most comic of ways. The idea is to empower women with genuine information and knowledge of who they are without any undue
pressure. I am really glad I am making an impact.’ – Mayowa Ekpo.
Despite studying Architecture, she found herself in the entertainment world. ‘I was employed in Globe communications as an understudy broadcaster at Wazobia FM. It was a dream come true because that is where my passion lies. This prompted me to further seek knowledge at an institute that teaches the art of broadcasting. I grew with time and now I can say I am a broadcaster that speaks pidgin and is very proud of it. Along the line in my career, an opportunity came to also do television presenting and I took it. In 2014, social media caught my attention because I realized that with time, everything would be shifted to social media. From advertising to film making to all sorts of awareness. I decided to explore the platform and with my talent (God has blessed me with the talent of conveying valid information in the most relaxing way). I actively started studying how social media works and use it to my advantage.
ETINOSA IDEMUDIA a.k.a Esohe
Without a shred of doubt, this lady seems to be one of the emerging superwomen in the art and entertainment circle. She looks like a beauty queen but works like a superhero ready to get her nails broken, hair stained, and doesn’t really care about the bruises sustained in the line of duty. She’s an established actress who also doubles as a comedienne/satirist. Her comedy skits on Instagram scream creativity,
uniqueness and versatility. Her alter ego ‘Esohe’ commands over fifty thousand followership within the short space of time that her brand was established. With a degree in Computer engineering, this lady is tailor made for the big leagues.
‘I made my first skit in 2013 when I was still a scheduling engineer in Port Harcourt. I had a hilarious episode play out in my head and I couldn’t help myself. I wanted to share it with my friends who already knew me as a lively person. A few knew me from my university days when I was a member of a comedy drama group. So I got my phone, handed it to my colleague in the office and told him what to do.
People loved it, some called me to give positives feedbacks. I felt so happy I made people happy. It was difficult concentrating at work after that (laughs). I continued for a while then stopped because of my workload at the time. I became a field engineer. Fast forward to 2016, I couldn’t resist the urge to be creative; to express myself and share all the crazy things
in my head and I also had eyes on my one true passion – Acting on a professional level. In February 2016, during my leave, I got enrolled in Royal Arts Academy Lagos to get formal education on the rudiments of
acting, learn fundamental acting principles, package my craft, etc. Then I started with skits again. It was all for fun until contracts and open doors
started coming in. On the acting angle, there were also open doors. When my leave was over I returned back to the field and tried to combine both worlds to no avail. In July 2016, I became a full time actor and
comedienne/content provider. In such short time Etinosa has become a force to reckon with as she launched EtinosaTV: a platform for comedy skits. I shoot and edit videos myself (I edit with adobe premier pro).
– Sesan Adeniji
Culled from Mystreetz Magazine