‘I didn’t know how to console my wife’
Award winning comedian, Seyi Lawrence Aletile, popularly called Seyi Law can’t quantify his joy on the birth of his first child Tiwaloluwa after several attempts. The comedian took to his social media platforms to announce the birth of his daughter weeks ago after five years of marriage and nine years after he met his wife, Stacy Ebere.
Speaking with ENCOMIUM Weekly, the comic entertainer can’t hold back the excitement and he shares with us the joy of fatherhood, the medical challenges he faced and other sundry issues…
Congratulations on the birth of your daughter. How do you feel about the new addition to your family?
I’m super excited as you can see. I’m a proud dad. I remember my church organized a programme last week with the theme ‘Parenting in the 21st century’. When I had to talk about it, I told myself that the programme is now for us fathers (laughs). So, the excitement was so much. I’m happy and very grateful. I can’t quantify the joy in me right now. It feels very exciting becoming a father.
If you talk about the first attempt, it’s been several attempts before the one you are talking about. It was very tough when I lost that baby. I didn’t even know how to console my wife. It was a difficult one, I must say. In order to surpass the pain, I took a lot of vacation with my wife, and I spent more time with her. We visited a lot of interesting places in Nigeria and abroad with constant reassurance that she’s the mother of my children. I did a lot of things to encourage her. She’s also a strong person anyway. She wasn’t discouraged despite her experience. I had to erase the pictures of the baby off her mind. I made sure we didn’t have any picture of the baby and I check on her every minute to make sure she’s not thinking about it. We were able to look beyond it basically.
After the several attempts that wasn’t successful, what are the things you did right this time?
When we talk about child bearing, you just want to go for medical tests to secure the assurance that medically there’s nothing wrong. After that, one must pray about it. Maybe, I prayed better. I can’t say maybe God just decide to bless us with this child this time probably because we have waited enough. I can only say it was a miracle. I tell you the truth, probably if my wife has not travelled out of the country, she might not survive just because of the terrible medical challenges that we had. I thought about it and asked myself, what if we didn’t have the opportunity to fly her abroad and seek better medical treatment? I don’t want to go into details of some of the medical challenges we had here in Nigeria, but (sigh)…
Does that mean you don’t believe in Nigeria’s health care system?
Not that I don’t believe in our health care system, but then, the first child that I lost we had several scans here in Nigeria, but none was able to diagnose what happened to the baby. I almost sued one of the hospitals where we did those scans. I thank God that we travelled abroad this time and it turned to joy.
Would you say Nigerian hospitals are responsible for the loss of the first attempt?
I can say those hospitals where we did the scan here in Nigeria are partly responsible because if what happened to the baby was detected earlier, they could have been corrected.
Would you say you will be an over protective father?
(Laugh) Trust me I’m not sure I’m going to be over protective because I lived under the authority for a greater part of my life. Sometimes, no matter what people tell you to help you change, if you don’t decide to change yourself, you won’t experience true change. So, when I remember those ill treatments that I got from people who were trying to protect me and I remember the damages that those things caused, I decided to be a better person for myself. I wouldn’t want to do that to anybody. I have learnt to be diplomatic in the treatment of people.
At what age would you allow your daughter to start dating?
Things have changed, that’s the truth. When it comes to dating, it will probably be after secondary school. But when we talk about friendship with boys, you can’t control that. The most important thing is what you tell your children will go a long way and it will help them in decision making. Until she gets to that point when she’s grown enough to understand what friendship and relationship are all about before I start talking about it.
Would you have preferred a male as your fist child?
In my family, we have the trend of having girls as first child. So, it’s a huge trend in my family which we are unable to break. (Laugh).
It has been awesome. In fact, we are supposed to take Fast and Funny out of Nigeria this year, but because of the issue of having a child, we couldn’t do it. We are supposed to apply for visa to Canada but Canadian visa takes about two to three months to be ready. So, that has really affected Fast and Funny. Fatherhood now has affected Fast and Funny.
In the last edition of Fast and Funny, you encouraged up and coming comedians more. Don’t you think it can kill the show?
No it can’t in anyway affect the show. There’s need for me to invest in people so it can be a plus to my career. If you talk about Seyi Law, Acappela and some others then you mention AY, because we are from the AY brand. This is why I have to invest in people. When you give them the opportunity like that, they will bring their best to the stage. So, it’s a plus for me and I was not afraid to bring them on stage because I know if there are any lapses from them, I will climb the stage to correct it. It was just a strategy for me.
Looking at your career, some people will say that Seyi Law rose very fast in the industry. What do you have to say to talks and comments like that?
I have got to realize mentorship is good. When I joined the industry, I had no idea what comedy was all about. A cousin just saw that I was funny and took me to church to perform for the first time. From there, I got my first event in 2005. I took my time to study the industry. I tried to fish out those qualities that made those people I met unique, just like Ali Baba, AY, Teju Babaface, I Go Dye, Basket Mouth… I was able to pick their uniqueness to build my brand. Like AY for instance, after I emerged the winner of the competition AY organized, I became very close to him and I was able to learn a whole lot from him. That’s the power of mentorship.
Does that mean without mentorship, an aspiring comedian can’t survive?
I tell people, you don’t have to even be close to the person to learn from the person. I didn’t get to meet Ali Baba until a long time, but I already knew some of his uniqueness. When I got my first apartment, a room and parlour, we were like 8 living together. We are all comedians and it was fun. The moment I shared with AY and Yomi Casual was one of the best part of my life. So, mentorship and service has a lot to do to achieve what one really wants.
A lot of stand up comedians are now into movie making just like AY. Do you see yourself in that path?
When someone is doing something and he was able to do it well, if you try to do the same thing, some people will call you a copycat. But the truth is who doesn’t want to do the good thing. AY is just like a man that sees tomorrow. Right at this time of recession, comedy is not selling like it used to, but people have not stopped seeing movies and he has already found his way in movie making. How do you expect me not to emulate such a person even if you want to call me a copycat. He’s worth emulating. I have already done two movies this year. I have a series on Africa Magic now and a lot more still to come.
When would you describe as the turning point for you in the industry?
It has been different revelation upon revelation. At different points of my life, I have been at different level. From meeting Emeka Smith in 2005 in the church where they paid me my first fee N500 instead of N700 (laugh), Emeka was the MC in that show and he was impressed with my performance. From there he invited me to his church. From there I met Jedi who introduced me to AY. It was a different time of unveiling myself, and I won the AY Open Mic Comedy Competition in 2006. From there I got a call to do Asa Live in Lagos in 2008, from that show I got my first international show. There’s a whole lot to celebrate. From every level that you have gotten to, it is worth celebrating.
They are very happy, my mom is so excited. I don’t know the joy until my mom started calling me my stage name. (Laugh) Mother, are always very proud of the name they gave their child but my mom can’t hold the joy and she started calling me Seyi Law. It’s really amazing.
What should people be expecting from Fast and Funny 3?
As soon as we finish Fast and Funny 2, I already started putting plans together for Fast and Funny 3. I’m trying to work on a concept that I believe has not been done, something about comedy with music. It’s a concept that I’m still writing about and looking forward to bringing the best of it to life. I just believe that I have a platform that can also use to build others who are up and coming, but at the same time, I have to consider those who are paying for the show. So, we have it planned already. Trust me, there won’t be any dull moment.
With the current situation of our economy, would you say the recession has affected you business wise?
Who’s the person in this country that the economic recession has not affected? If Dangote can lose billions even Otedola and the rest of them, then why should I say I wasn’t affected? The recession has brought Nigerians closer to politics, that’s why you see people talking about politics more nowadays.
Tell us one of the awkward moments that you have experienced in your career?
I always tell people, some of your down moments are the best time for upliftment. The show that I said I did that gave birth to my first international show was one of the awkward moments that I had. This is a show that they had contacted Ali Baba and Basket Mouth but they couldn’t meet their demand. So, somebody then recommended me to perform and I was called. I saw it was an avenue to shine. I came to stage, I introduced myself. I remember I was very close to the audience because the stage wasn’t far from the audience. There was this wife of a dignitary right in my front when I was about to perform and the next thing I heard from her was ‘Who’s this, is this the person we paid for, where’s Ali Baba, where’s Basket Mouth? Where did they bring this one?” When I heard that word, it was as if they took out everything in me. I wasn’t myself. I couldn’t continue and the next performer was called. I went backstage and I prayed to God. That was the first time I prayed for my career. When I came back on stage after the first poor performance, I made up my mind to thrill the stage and be myself. I performed for 45 minutes straight and it was an amazing performance. It was from their I got my first international show.