THE CLASSIC ALIBABA
Before the foray of Ali Baba into the comedy terrain in late 80s and early 90s, comedy had a scant history and respect was little or non-existent. Those were the days when such names like late John Chukwu and Abubakar Mohammed supplied what was thought to be comedy by throwing jokes in between hosting an event. Both gentlemen as well as others were regarded as very funny and also held their era but then the industry lacked the glamour and acceptance it commands presently. Comedians were mere appendages to events; a band of jesters who are there to be used to entertain and discarded and consequently remunerations was poor. Before he made an entry into the business, comedy was exactly what it is, a joke! Ali Baba singlehandedly revolutionized the industry the result of which we all are proud today especially the new wave comedians who are reaping bountifully from that solo struggle. At a time when the industry was wondering what’s next for the icon, Ali Baba rebranded and appeared on air as an OAP with incredible followership. As most industry people are speculating, perhaps we have not yet seen half of the entertainment guru.
Ali Baba, christened Atunyota Alleluya Akporobomerere was born in Warri, Delta State, on June 24th 1965 to the Royal family of Agbarha Otor, Ughelli North Local Government Area.
His father is a retired soldier who served in Lagos. Schooling therefore was at Ojo Primary School and Command Secondary School. He furthered his education at Ibru College and then went on to the now rested Bendel State University now known as the Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma where he read Religious Studies & Philosophy. After acquiring a degree from the then Bendel State University, Ekpoma in 1990, he relocated to Lagos, having discovered his comic talent and funny bone in his 3rd year in university. He had planned to return to Ekpoma to read Law but that was not to be, since he discovered he could make more money from making people laugh than defending them!
He began his professional career with corporate events, appearing on television shows with the likes of Patrick Doyle, Charly Boy and Danladi Bako. He also made cameo appearances on radio shows with Bisi Olatilo, Soni Irabor and Mani Onumonmu. At the time there was hardly any precedent to follow in this chosen career of his because the funny men then were not into stand up comedy. Patrick Doyle, John Chukwu, Bisi Olatilo, Femi Segun, Femi Jarret, Leo Onmudi, Smart Otemu and many more were funny, very funny but did not do full time comedy.
Through guts, sacrifice and creative dynamism, Ali Baba carved a niche for himself as a comedian for both corporate and non-corporate events. In less than 4 years, he had also become the preferred master of ceremony at some events. Ali Baba made the rules, broke them and sometimes even discarded them depending on how effective they were. These days no event is considered complete without a comedian to MC that event.
Ali Baba, called the God Father of Nigerian Comedy has lived up to this billing, always delivering for as many times as he is called upon to do so. He has lived with the philosophy that this business is big enough for all who want to make their chosen profession. As such, he has supported, mentored and presented several comedians helping to ensure that standards are maintained and professionalism encouraged. It is no longer strange to hear a comedian charge impressive fees for events. The industry, yes, the Comedy Industry though yet to be standardized, is growing fast and strong to the credit of the God Father of Comedy.
He has been a professional stand -up comedian for the past 20 years and has in the last 10 years received several awards. He was inducted into the Johnny Walker ‘Striding Man’ Society in 2009 which recognises men who have achieved great strides in their chosen fields of endeavour and who share the ‘strides’ they have taken to motivate and encourage others.
He is also a Special Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Corps. Ali Baba GCFR, is married to the beautiful Mary and is blessed with three daughters, Zara, Brandi and Valerie and a set of twin boys Ejiro and Tejiri.
Culled from Mystreetz Magazine