Sunday, November 9, 2014, Idowu Nuel, popularly known as Koffi, literarily set the MUSON Centre, Onikan, Lagos, ablaze with his hilarious comedy show, Koffi Out of Control. The crème de la crème were in attendance.
ENCOMIUM Weekly spoke with the talented comedian on the success of the show and sundry issues.
How will you rate your last show, Koffi Out of Control?
I spoke with my mom this morning, she said I should cut the show into two, edit the one that I can sell, and delete the other part. She said the show was really nice.
The feedback has been huge. We did something exceptionally good. We didn’t do what every other person is doing. We blazed the trail. We carved a niche for ourselves.
I believe in quality music and entertainment. I believe in content. Don’t base your content on popularity or crowd. Content drives me more. So, when people came to the event, what they saw was quality content and they were amazed. All the comedians were practically unknown. They were not the brand names that you are used to.
People were surprised when they performed. Even when I came on stage, it was quite invigorating. When we started unleashing the music aspect of the night, the whole place went agog with Sunny Nneji, Adewale Ayuba, Ras Kimono. It was history.
Everyone was dancing. People didn’t expect such a tremendous show, they were surprised at themselves. It was a night of quality entertainment beyond people’s expectation. We were as simple as possible.
We didn’t pursue any standard. We were just us, we were just doing what we know as entertainment, simple set and beautiful ambience. It was just simple and classy. Mrs. Kamson of Sweet Sensation said she would not stay till the end but at the end of the show, she sent me a message that she stayed throughout. It was a huge show. The feedback showed that we made a headway.
What were some of the challenges?
There were no challenges really. We’re not trying to meet up with anything. We know we set the trial, we will always reset it like this year. Some of the artistes that couldn’t perform because of time will automatically open up next time.
Did you notice any lapses?
As usual, we told everybody that I am a very prompt person. I don’t do African time. I wanted to start the show at 4pm though, it was supposed to start 5pm, I was planning to do that because I wanted the up and coming to showcase their talents. We could have discovered a lot more talent if we had started early but trust Nigerians, they came in 5:30pm, 6pm.
On our own side, there was no lapse. It was just that the audience did not come on time. One of the guys that was supposed to perform was angry because he did not perform but he came at 5pm. We were supposed to use his band’s men for the sound check at 2pm and he came at 5pm. We really need to be professional. Such things upset me.
Anyway, some people realized it. They noticed from the show flow it had gone far. Some people’s time slot had passed and that was the end.
Who were your major sponsors?
Nobody, except God.
I don’t know. We approached a few people months ago. Some even approached us months ago. Some stopped picking our calls. I didn’t bother them again when it got to that. Some of them came to the hall and were sending me messages that the show was classy. It was the classiest show they ever attended. The only person that supported us was Sweet Sensation.
For me, that was wonderful. Other brands disappointed. And most of them go about boasting that they support small scale businesses and entrepreneurs. Our event provided employment for about a 100 people. I personally employed over 30 people, some other service providers also employed others. Most brands don’t support you except they headline the event. If it had been Sugar Out of Control, hosted by Koffi, they would have supported.
I asked some to buy a table, no response. I am not hoping that next time they will come on board, no. I am hoping that God will turn out as always. That way, I have control of my content. I can entertain righteously. When you have certain sponsors, they will want to dictate what and what to say. I don’t like that. I went on stage and I said the truth and people know I did. That is why I shy away from sponsors sometimes. I encourage up and coming entrepreneurs to come and showcase their business interests.
A guy called me that he had a fish bowl and aquarium. I didn’t collect a kobo from him. Somebody called to sell sharwama, popcorn, cocktail, I supported all of them. I didn’t collect anything from them. I became a big brand supporting smaller brands. It is more fulfilling for me than going cap in hand to beg for money. I felt very fulfilled.
How much were you able to recoupe from what you invested?
Gate taking does not make ends meet in Nigeria event. When you want to do an event, have it in mind that you are pushing your brand. If you get some sponsorship and support from some people, fine. I got one or two people for table, that was okay for me. You will have some seats for family, PR, sentiment, by the time you sum up, you would have done half for free. Some people would come without permission. So, how much will make up for the amount you spend on the event?
When you are going, go with the mindset that you are only advertising your brand. Bring the necessary people that will buy into the brand around. That is where you will get your money.
I was expecting to see rave of the moment artistes, what informed your choice of artistes?
I don’t do raves, I do quality music and entertainment. The audience would be entertained by Koffi, the music is an addition. It is Koffi Out of Control, everything is an addition. Abroad, they don’t do that. It is because we are in Nigeria. I did a show they will always long for. We had an online streaming. Those who couldn’t join listened to it on radio.
What is the next thing we should expect from your stable?
Expect the grace of God. When you build for God, you enter trouble. I know what I want, but I pray for His grace to make it happen. I am the man that does more than talking. Don’t worry, you will see it soon.
For my movie plan, I will do small short comedy movies that people can watch for one hour. We are planning for Easter.
You are into music, movie and comedy, why?
It is who I am. I cannot change. I try to but it is what my body wants.
To be frank with you, I don’t. Maybe when I am with my crew and something funny comes up, fine. But I don’t look out for a special time to rehearse jokes with them. I write down everything that comes to my head. I also save some on my phone depending on where I was when it came up.
Be honest with what you are saying. People will find humour in it, as long as the message is there. A comedian sees both sides. If someone falls into a well, a comedian will look at how the person fell in, there are different angles to it.
Is it possible to say a joke and people will not laugh?
No! It never happened. I know my onions. In the earlier times, when I was in school, we didn’t entirely say our own jokes. We had routine jokes that are known. Definitely, it will work. Later, while in the midst of friends, if I say something and they laugh, they will tell me the joke is funny that I should take it to the stage. You will need to understand your audience, do your research. Sometimes, it is not about saying a joke or trying to be funny, it’s being sensible and relevant with present trend.
For me, I go prepared. Know who you are entertaining as well.