Celebrity, Classics, Entertainment, Interviews

5 top comedians on the tricks of staying at the top

I Go Dye

Having made their marks as comedians over the years and still remained the finest in the industry at the moment, ENCOMIUM Weekly had a chat with five most sought-after comedians on how they have held onto relevance.

 

‘I was paid N150 for my first show’ – BASKETMOUTH

How have you managed to stay on top of your game?

First, I love what I do as a stand-up comedian and its easy working when it is something you have a passion for. Also, I make sure I am my own competitor, so my goal is always to do better than my last performance. I think this attitude makes it relatively easy to maintain focus and motivation.

What are the commonest mistakes comedians make?

Do you mean a career mistake or a performance mistake? I will give you my take on both. A common career mistake a comedian could make is to feel pressurized into changing a unique style of expression because of certain immediate benefits as against retaining a uniqueness that separates his art or style.

A performance mistake is to go on stage with pre-arranged set of jokes and hope to deliver a scripted stand-up comedy. This is a mistake common with most upcoming stand-up comedians due to stage nervousness which increases the need to be overly prepared to perform a set of jokes but often times the crowd is dynamic and unpredictable and the results are at times unfavourable. It is okay to have ready jokes prior to going on stage but never expect to deliver them in any order so the so

lution is to show versatility and work with the temperament of the audience/crowd as well as taking advantage of situations as they occur on stage or at the event.

If you are not doing comedy at the moment, what will you be doing?

I will somehow still be in the entertainment business because from day ones I have always had a passion for it, be it in music or movies. I was also a bit of an artist as well back in early school days.

How do you unwind as someone who creates an environment of relaxation for others?

Like I said, I love movies and music, so I spend most of my spare time enjoying these forms of entertainment.

At what point would you say, you are satisfied careerwise?

Honestly, I don’t think I will ever be able to say that I am satisfied with anything let alone my career. There is always the next step which is a good thing because I have observed that as human beings, we need constant drive to stay alive.

Which event has been your highest revenue earner?

Sorry, I can’t disclose this. I have had several successful shows in terms of revenue to date but it is difficult to disclose such information. Let’s just say I got paid.

Which event has been your lowest revenue earner?

A concert I did in 1999. I made N150, which was the first pay I ever got. A late friend, Samson Ohiomokhai came to a free show I was doing for the Law induction dinner back then in school he came to propose. The show was held at the UNIBEN auditorium, when I got the proposal after my performance at the Law induction dinner, I requested for N300 and they paid half. I never got the balance. The N150 went a long way for me and my roommates, beans and garri all the way for two days.

 

buchi-new-2‘Globacom pays me the highest’ – BUCHI

How have you managed to stay on top of your game?

By the grace of God, I try to stay fresh on the mic, create new materials, dress properly and address people nicely.

What are the commonest mistakes a comedian can make?

Try to be a comedian everywhere, every time.

If you are not doing comedy at the moment, what will you be doing?

Practicing Law or acing full time or maybe a rapper.

How do you unwind as someone who creates an environment of relaxation for others?

I love movies, a lot, play playing station and go swimming.

At what point would you say you are satisfied careerwise?

I don’t want to say I am satisfied careerwise. I love it too much.

Which even has been your highest revenue earner?

Globacom tours.

Which event has been your lowest revenue earner?

Comedy shows organized by my colleagues, we all pitch in.

 

‘I have insatiable appetite to be a comedian’ – BOVI

How have you managed to stay on top of your game?

I love what I do. I give it a lot of time. I just want to entertain. If it puts me at the top of the food chain, then it’s a beautiful thing.

What are the commonest mistakes a comedian makes?

That would be taking your audience for granted. Assuming I had a good outing, it would be the same with the next. Audiences vary. What is funny in Islamabad may not be funny in Babylon.

If you are not doing comedy at the moment, what will you be doing?

I would be playing football or dancing ballad.

How do you unwind as someone who creates an environment of relaxation for others?

I hangout once in a while with the boys. But majorly, I spend quality time with my family.

At what point would you say you are satisfied careerwise?

I doubt, I would even get to that point. I have an insatiable appetite for what I do.

Which event has been your highest revenue earner?

I can’t pick one. There are several of such events in that class. I have done virtually all the events that are sponsored by multinational companies.

Which event has been your lowest revenue earner?

My love for what I do really can’t make me remember. If a job doesn’t pay well but the audience had a good time, it helps ease the pain of poor returns.

 

‘I combine comedy with real estate’- I GO DYE

How have you managed to stay on top of your game?

To maintain relevance in the business, you must have the natural talent that must be developed. Another key factor is one’s ability to understand his environment and a spontaneous relationship with the audience, knowing what to say at the right time so as not to sound offensive. Comedy has no rule, it’s just natural. You are as good as your last performance because that is what people will judge you by.

When this is established, people will manage to place you where you truly belong.

What are the commonest mistakes a comedian can make?

Every comedian has his own jokes and punch lines just like musicians have punch lines which make their songs hits. But the different between music and comedy is that an artiste like D’Banj cannot do a 2Face song on stage probably because of the existing copyright laws and awareness. What I am saying in essence is that some comedians are well known with their materials and punch lines and a situation where a comedian comes on stage to perform another comedian’s materials, especially when he is not there, makes the performance of the same joke at the same event by the original comedian look stupid and dry.

That is where talent and spontaneity come in handy because a good comedian should be able to understand the crowd’s reaction from the beginning of his joke before getting to the punch line, when the crowd’s reaction is poor, a good comedian with sound judgment would know how to transpose from one realm to another with relative case and even when he goes on to deliver his materials, it comes in a completely new and refreshing way. But associate comedians, that is people who have been friends to known comedians for years believing they know all their jokes, begin to emerge as comedians with different names and begin to parade themselves at events or master dubbers would still come on the same stage and crack the same material the same way without taking into cognizance the reaction of the crowd just like the Ebony Band would play a 2Face song perfectly.

If you are not doing comedy at the moment, what will you be doing?

Even with comedy, I am also into real estate.

How do you unwind as someone who creates an environment of relaxation for others?

When I am not entertaining, I go to my game house to play any game that soothes my mood. In the afternoon, I can play golf and in the evening when I want to unwind, I call a few friends to hang out with me in my private club called Paris

At what point would you say you are satisfied careerwise?

From the very beginning when I made up my mind to be a comedian I was satisfied, despite knowing the daunting task ahead would not be easy because I believe in the words of Jean Bendrillard which says that: “A negative judgment gives you more satisfaction than praise, provided it smacks of jealous.”

Which event has been your highest revenue earner?

Every event that I have collected a kobo is my highest because I cannot judge by figures.

Which event has been your lowest revenue earner?

I believe the previous answer has treated this question.

  • This story was first published in ENCOMIUM Weekly on Tuesday, August 7, 2012

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