‘Nigerian comedians can compete favourably anywhere in the world’

Laf’up is a Nigerian comedian/corporate compere who has carved a niche for himself in the entertainment industry. In this interview with Rotimi Ige, he speaks on the comedy industry, his circus event, among other things.

Most comedians are branching into other art forms. Is comedy all that you do?

(Laughs) Well, I’m a little of a few things you know, not just comedy. I’m a comic writer and I just wrote a play that I’ll be performing alongside some veteran comedians and Nollywood actors at the Muson centre. I also have some businesses that I run on the side, managed by some set of creative guys. I do charity work, own an event solution company. With my PhD in view, let’s just say I’m a student in the morning, business man by noon, father by evening and comedian by night. It is a wholesome mix of everything.


Which of these is your most favorite job?

I love playing Daddy. I’ve been blessed with a wonderful son and recently a beautiful daughter. The joy and blessings of having them keeps me going even beyond limits and my wife has been supportive, I mean beyond words.


What other projects are you involved in?

Well, a few things. The most important is my new project, ‘LAFUPLIVE THE CIRCUS’. It’s a comedy circus written and created by me. The show is coming on Sunday and it is different in all ramifications, trust me. It is a blend of stand up comedy and and theatre with refreshing ideas and content. Theatre is my first love, I always flesh my acts up with it.  Due to the success my Ibadan shows have recorded, many people always asked when I would be organising a Lagos show, so I can say by popular demand…the circus is coming to town.


Recently, you toured many countries and was part of many shows. Are you relocating?

Relocating? No, I know it’s a tough time for our dear country. People are not smiling, literally but we are going nowhere, the country needs us, people need comedians to provide the comic relief. I lie? If you’ve noticed, for the past for years I’ve always had my American states tour. This year happened to be the biggest as it drew media attention. We touched different states and cities interacting with fans in the diaspora as well as people of different races and cultures. I remember my tour manager mentioning that we took more than 40 flights on the entire trip. It’s an experience I will never forget. Next year, hopefully, we would break more boundaries.


You are known for your Ibadan materials/jokes and the leading force from that side of the country. Do you still connect with your base, and do you still have a grip on this niche you have carved for yourself?

Well, Ibadan is still my main base. Having popularised the Ibadan stereotype as against the earlier common Warri jokes, I think it is also key to carry the story of my people with me to the rest of the world. I am still very Ibadan, if you recall, I dashed down from America just recently, United States to run the Ibadan Red concert and had to travel back the second night.


What’s your relationship with other comedians?

My relationship with other colleagues in the game is a good one. Of course you know no other sector of the entertainment industry supports their own like comedians. However, I keep it healthy and as mutual as it gets. But as a producer, I almost always have need to experiment and work closely with most of my colleagues. For my protégés, I provide the best possible support in terms of mentorship and advice.


How do you relax?

That’s a very good question considering the fact my job is to make others relax. For many of us, work is fun too though but we still create recreation away from work. I love to swim, hang out with friends. Spending quality time with my family is one thing I find very relaxing and refreshing, people around me know that. Of course I love to travel; it is an important aspect of my job as well.


There’s a lot of comedy shows around these days. Is that an indication that the industry is booming?

Well, I would say yes. Clearly, if there isn’t audience for it, it won’t continue to thrive. But then, I would again state that we are still merely scratching the surface of the strength of comedy in our culture. We need to dig deep, go an extra mile and possible change the regular over used templates. Attention to details, infusing more creativity and emphasis on quality rather than quantity, if you know what i mean, will get us to the ‘promised land’.