As we know, Nigerian comedy is rapidly becoming a big part of Nigerian entertainment. There are presently several rising stars here in Nigeria. In part 1 of this article we looked at comedians such as Julius Agwu, Basket Mouth, AY and Helen Paul. Read on to learn about a few more comedians who are making their stamp in the industry.
FUNKE AKINDELE- JENIFA
Funke Akindele might have studied Law but before going to study briefs and court case files, she had already fallen in love with acting when she played the lead role in a rave making teen show of the nineties titled “I Need to Know”. That experience left her with only one desire -to be a screen diva.
From one movie location to another, Funke strove to hit stardom to no avail; until she embraced comedy in a 2009 comedy movie Jenifa 1 and 2 which she wrote and produced.
The comic character Jenifa played by Funke, a wannabe who was visiting the city for the first time when she gained admission to study Yoruba Language, gets more than she bargained for as her strong village accent and ignorance sees Jenifa making a fool of herself at every turn but she does not budge. The witty lines and foolish antics as excellently delivered by Funke paid off in the emergence of the super hilarious brand, Jenifa.
Today, brand Jenifa has successfully transformed Funke to brand sweetheart with Vitafoam, telecom giants Globacom and the Lagos State Government all falling over themselves while Funke keeps thanking God and appreciating those who grew the humour industry in Nigeria, as she smiles to the bank.
STEPHEN ONU –YAW
Stephen Onu who is popularly known as Yaw is one man for whom the opportunity to make his mark in the comedy business came through radio broadcasting, when he was called upon by pioneer pidgin English station Wazobia F.M to be their founding On Air Personality when the station came alive.
The man who describes himself as spontaneous broadcaster who goes on air and speaks on the first topic that comes to his mind brought a fresh perspective to Nigerian comedy as he answers phone calls from listeners and gives them funny answers even as he comments on national issues with lots of humour.
Apart from delivering humour on radio, Yaw holds a yearly comedy stage play (to revive live theatre) and also anchors high profile events for individuals and corporate bodies who have rewarded him with brand endorsement running into millions.
We salute Yaw for his outstanding performance in keeping comedy alive on radio and on stage and helping to give the younger generation a chance.
I GO DYE
I Go Dye needs no introductions and there is practically nothing new to be written about this awesome talent that came on the scene as a joke because of his skinny frame and long neck. I Go Dye, through his hard work and mind blowing jokes, now has the joke on those who once laughed at him.
If automobiles were the standard the founding fathers of comedy and the general public wanted to measure the success of the comedy industry, then I Go Dye would surely be the poster boy of the industry.
I Go Dye exudes luxury as he owns cars like N14 million worth White-Diamond Cadillac Escalade Hybrid 2012 Model (Platinum Edition) and a N7 million worth Range Rover Vogue. He also owns properties in Delta and Lagos.
One vital point worthy of mention and celebrating is the fact that I Go Dye is one talent who has survived purely on his skills as a stand -up comedian without exploring movies and television production; pure talent you may say.
JOHN OKAFOR- MR. IBU
When comedy took a turn for the better through cracking of jokes or stand-up comedy, John Okafor was nowhere in the radar.The boom recorded with the birth of the home video industry in Nigeria (Nollywood) threw open more avenues for comedy stars to be born and Okafor was one of the biggest stars that emerged from this era.
As producers and marketers struggled to outdo one another in the home video market a lot of producers turned to comedy and in came John Okafor who became a favourite when he played the role of a layabout named Ibu in a comedy flick titled Mr. Ibu.
As that role changed Okafor’s name to Ibu among fans, so also did it make him fans’ favourite while marketers could not resist having him in their movies.
Ibu’s face and name became a sure formula for success in the home video market given his over-the-roof antics when delivering his slapstick style of comedy. Soon, his popularity attracted communications giants Globacom, Go Tv, a subsidiary of international media company, and gaming giant Merrybet, who all have Mr. John Okafor as their ambassador at the same time all thanks to comedy.