A-class comedian and astute businessman, Bright Okpocha, generally known as Basketmouth is amongst the entertainment personalities who serve as ambassadors of Nigeria’s biggest telecommunications company, Globacom.
In this exclusive interview, he explained his bond with Globacom’s helmsman, Dr. Mike Adenuga, Jnr., how Globacom has been a shining example, his Olympic Games show and much more…
Tell us about the bond you have with the telecoms giant, Globacom.
Without doubt, my association with a brand like Globacom is nothing short of a dream alliance. As an artist, you want to be associated with brands that are the best at what they do. Globacom has in many ways offered me a broad based platform any artist can only dream of and when you consider the significance of that alone over the past years, I can beat my chest with joy and say I have been blessed indeed with regards to this bond with Globacom.
How will you describe your relationship with Dr. Mike Adenuga, Jnr?
First, he (Dr. Mike) is someone I look up to as I believe many others do and it flatters me that he is a fan of my work. He has been a strong support for me. It is gratifying and a privilege to meet, engage and work with someone you have been admiring as a professional icon and businessman. So, yes, I have learnt a few things from our relationship.
Some would say you have leveraged your relationship with the multi-billionaire owner of Globacom to reach great heights in your career, how will you put it?
Failure to leverage on that would be stupid in my opinion. I always see opportunities in my relationships with people no matter their status. There is always something every relationship presents and there is much to learn. But life is not all about taking, giving back is also a fundamental factor. In other words, despite my leverage associating with Globacom, if I am not focused and I don’t deliver, it means I am not viable to the brand. So, in regard to my career, I owe so much appreciation to my fans. I thank God for them as they, in no small measure dictate the progression of my career.
How long have you been working with Globacom?
I have been working as a stand-up comedian for about eight years or more. It started with Glo Campus Storm, then it progressed to Rock n Rule Tour, Lafta Fest, the Glo Lords of the Ribs tour., etc. Globacom has given back the society 100 per cent, from students, to professionals. Presently, they are powering the MTV Base Big Friday Show. However, I have been an ambassador for the brand for four years and I must say it’s been a great experience.
Now, let’s talk about your much talked about Olympics tour in the United Kingdom?
The concert is tagged the Nigerian Kings of Comedy (Olympics edition) and its happening on August 11, 2012. This will be the first time I am staging the same concert twice in a year. As it is, we had the maiden edition in February at the Indigo 2 in the UK, we decided to host it again because of the Olympics and it promises to be a box office sell out. It’s going to attract a mixed crowd. This is because we are to spread the Nigerian comedy across all borders. The show will feature Bovi, Okey Bakassi, Buchi, I Go Save, I Go Dye, Akpororo, Mr. Patrick, Daliso Chaponda and myself as the host. We have, however, moved it to a bigger venue as we intend to reach a larger crowd. The venue is now HMV Hammersmith Apollo, which is a big thing for me as I had always wished to host my show there since I watched Chris Rock live at the same venue. So, this is like a dream come true.
What is the idea behind the choice of this period to run the show?
It is to attract the mixed crowd that will be in London that period. We are looking at hundreds of thousands from all over the world, which will be exciting. Normally, we take our shows to other countries, this time around, we are hosting it in London and they are coming to experience it. As we speak, tickets are selling fast with the way things are we might end up hosting two shows as the demand for tickets is extremely high. So, we might end up taking August 11 and 12.
What do you expect from this show?
My target is just to export Nigerian comedy and Nigerian comedians to the world. We have a lot of talented comedians that can compete favourably on the same stage with the Western comic acts. So, I don’t see why they should all be bottled in the West African market, this, includes me of course. There are lots of opportunities out there, the world is ours to own, so why sit back and look.
What excites you when you run a show in the United Kingdom?
I derive satisfaction from every successful project not just my UK concerts. No matter how big or small the event is, it gives me joy to know that everyone in attendance left the venue satisfied with more value for their money. I am more into content than anything else. Once that has been established, my job is done.
Once again, what does it take to host shows of such magnitude?
Like I said, I don’t fancy the idea of exposing figures. One thing for sure is that it costs more hosting a show like mine in the UK than in Nigeria, because I use a premium venue, fly the performing artists in Business Class, trust me all these amount to high figures and I thank God for the support from our fans. They are the ones that keep us going and waxing stronger. Everything we do is for them.
- ABIODUN YAKUBU
This story was first published in Encomium Weekly edition of Tuesday, July 17, 2012