Nigerian comedian, Akpororo who grew up in Warri, Delta State and relocated to Lagos in 2009 to hone his skill in comedy which gave rise to him being discovered by Basketmouth, has opened up on his life and career.
While speaking in an exclusive interview with Nigerian Tribune, popular Nigerian stand-up comedian, Jephthah Bowoto better known as Akpororo, shared some revealing thoughts about his career and inspirations that many may not know.
Here are excerpts from the chat;
It’s been about seven years since you started and you have become one of Nigeria’s most sought-after comedians. What would you have to say about that?
I want to thank God for that first. Now, I have my own platform, which is Akpororo Vs Akpororo. I am happy with what God has given me: my family, the experiences. I thank God for His grace upon my life.
As a young comedian, would say that you encountered no challenges on your way up?
I am a man with favour and grace. My brother, I just give God the glory. With grace, there are no challenges. I am just favoured.
Omobaba recently talked about “godfatherism” as a factor in the comedy industry. What do you have to say about it?
I don’t know about that because I do not have any godfather. What I know is, as a new comedian, you must look for platform. If that platform is what he called “godfatherism” I don’t know. In spite of your talent, as a new comedian, you must locate the platform that will bring you out. And the truth is most of our senior colleagues have the platforms. So, you have to work hard and make sure they notice you before you can use their platforms. It is from their platform that people will know you and you will be able to get shows as well as build yourself.
What were the things you did to locate the platform that brought you out? And who helped you?
Just like I said before, I am favoured. And I believe it is not just me. I know there are many people enjoying the same grace as me. I went for National Comedy Challenge organised by Guinness and other competitions then. Beside these platforms, you also need prime platforms to perform. For instance, Basketmouth saw me in Coco Lounge and featured me in his show. And from there, things picked up. He also was the first person to take me to London.
So, Basketmouth is your godfather in the industry?
He is a senior colleague and someone who gave me my first major lift in the industry. And like I said, he was the first person that took me to London. That was in 2012, about a year after I came into the industry.
In your own opinion, what makes a joke very funny in Nigeria?
[Smiles] My brother, this question eh! What makes a joke funny is in the way it is told. First, Nigeria on its own is funny. We have so many funny things around us. So, in telling a joke, we talk about things that people experience every day. I am talking about street life, Lagos drivers and their conductors, poverty and wealth. These are things that people know and can relate to.
As comedians, what we do is to tell these real life stories and because Nigeria is a funny country, these stories become funny to those who know and can relate to them. Let me also say that, we also imagine or project into situations. We can fast-ward or rewind a particular incident just to know how it could have been.
Most times people find truth in these things. And that technique is always successful especially when you have creative imagination. Mostly, what we do now is to dwell on real life incidents. Any incident that happens in Nigeria today is a material short and simple. So to make a joke funny, just be observant especially when you are walking around Lagos. You will see funny things. Even as we are talking now, I don dey get material.
In the comedy industry, people have their own niche. Some comedians dance, some sing and some combine talking, dancing and singing. You do not only combine everything, you also have this crazy person’s persona. What inspired it?
It is my own style. I figured that if you are coming into the industry you need to bring something new. Like you said, some comedians sing, dance and even act drunk. I know I can dance and sing, but I wanted to stand out, so I introduced something. People talk about mad people a lot in jokes, but I decided to act it out. It is my strategy and I want to thank God for what He has done.
But where did you pick it up?
I watch mad men. I observe them a lot.