When talented standup comedian, Ayo Makun was venturing into movie making, he never thought that path would lead to his name entering the Guinness Book of Records. He is set to break another record with his second effort, A trip to Jamaica which is already showing in the cinemas.
ENCOMIUM Weekly had a chat with him about the success of 30 days in Atlanta, his new movie, A trip to Jamaica and much more…
It gives me that sense of responsibility. It shows that I am a full grown man. Some people say a fool at 40 is a fool forever, this guy is no longer a fool. It feels good to be 45. I feel younger, that is all I have to say.
Sometime back, you wrote about how you lost your parent at an early age and you had to shoulder the responsibilities of your younger ones alone. This was in the social media. Looking back, did you believe you would get to this stage?
I was hopeful that my story would change. It feels good to know where I came from and where I am now. It’s a good one. I am at a good zone, a zone that can be improved. I am happy to be here. It is unfortunate that quite a lot is going on for me now but it’s unfortunate that the woman that struggled so much for us is not here today to enjoy it. That is the only thing that bothers me.
Who would you say has been there for you?
God first, then I have a very wonderful woman. She is a gift from heaven. That is my pillar. Behind the AY you see in front is Mabel Makun.
How does it feel that 30 days in Atlanta entered the Guinness Book of Records?
It feels good. It is a plus for my brand. It means all I need do is work, work so that we can take it to another level. I never saw it coming, not even for a second. I used to go to the library, grab a copy of the book and I wonder if some people have four heads. I never knew that one day, I would be in the book. Somebody somewhere is reading the book now and wondering if AY has four heads.
What would you say has kept you going and winning?
Determination to succeed. I have a family to take care of. I also love to make people happy. Anything I can do to make people laugh and happy, I am a part of it.
What inspired A trip to Jamaica?
I created the story and of cause, there are parts that have personal experiences. There are some I came up with knowing full well that I would shoot in Jamaica. I thought of the need to do something that would blend with the culture of the place. We also wanted to represent Nigeria as well, that was what inspired it.
Tell us a bit about the movie?
A trip to Jamaica is a romantic comedy. It talks about love. We shot part of it in Jamaica and Nigeria, Atlanta. It is a movie stirring the likes of Funke Akindele, Nse Epe Ettim, AY, Chris Attoh, Eric Roberts, Dan Davis.
I did a little research and found out that Jamaicans love Nollywood movies so, we decided to shoot there. As part of making it work, we had a lot of collaborations. Tiwa Savage collaborated with one of the best Jamaican artistes known as Basic Sound.
They made the official sound for the movie. I know that we love soccer so much in Nigeria, so is it with the Jamaicans. We brought a match to Nigeria between former international and former Super Eagles, it took place on Saturday.
Do you think A trip to Jamaica will surpass the record of 30 days in Atlanta?
Everybody who is in business would tell you yes. But let us go beyond business, I believe strongly that the film a trip to Jamaica. Nigerians would tell the outcome.
How much have you invested in the movie?
So much, it is just that we hardly discuss budgets. The last time we talked about it, we remembered the people who came to our office to collect what they did not put in the movie.
Have you considered the challenge of piracy?
Piracy worldwide is not only in Nigeria. It is really bad. Before you put your work in the cinema, it is already pirated. Good enough, they allowed me to enjoy 30 days in Atlanta for 30 days. We have done our cinema runs, we have worked out our modalities, though we cannot totally take it out of the picture.
There would always be somebody who will sell out. I am hoping the Federal Government would apply the change they talked about in the movie industry too. I live in fear knowing that my movie would be released. We believe the security measures we have put in place would work.
A lot of comedians are going into movie production, does that mean standup comedy is dying?
No, if you say standup comedy is dying because comedians are going into acting, you would be getting it wrong, it would mean Hollywood is dead. We can’t say that, Steve Havey was doing standup comedy before now, he is still doing movies as well.
Our shows are selling out, AY Live is selling out and the movies too. Everything is about entertainment. I love to be an encompassing show biz person. The only thing I know I wouldn’t venture into is music. I know I can’t sing to save my life.