Over time, the comedy scene in Nigeria has being dominated by new and upcoming comedians regularly headlining and featuring in comedy shows organised mainly in Lagos State. The question now is – where are the veterans? The comedians that started the game and paved the way for a number of current rave comic acts.
Gbenga Adeyinka (The First) answers this question in an interview with Punch. He says that he took upon himself the calling to revive comedy in the south-western part of Nigeria.
“About 10 years ago, I got a divine call to develop stand-up comedy in the south-western part of the country. Next year, I will do a concert in Lagos, but for the past 10 years, God has been good to us and we’ve built new comedy kings. We have given several people platforms outside Lagos in places such as Ibadan, Osogbo, and Abeokuta. You don’t have to come to Lagos to be a big comedy brand. Stay where you are and conquer your market,” he says.
Contrary to popular opinion, the creator of ace comedy show “Laffmatazz”, stated that the desire to carve a new niche for himself rather than fear of fierce competition in the Lagos market was among the factors that motivated him to take his act elsewhere.
He says “Some people have said it is the fear of competition that drove me out of Lagos but it is not. It is the desire to carve a new niche. God called me to revive comedy in the South-West.”
Recalling his days of little beginnings, Adeyinka said, “The smallest amount I’ve ever been paid to perform is N15,000. I was paid N7,500 upfront and when I got to the event, the students begged me to help them pay the band out of the advance given to me because I was the one that helped them arrange for the musicians. I then paid the band N4,000 out of my money, and till today, I’ve not got the balance.”