I try to be my own competition —Bovi
Talk about one comedian, who understands his job and delivers with much passion and composure, the name that comes is no other than Bovi. His brand of comedy is peculiar just as the jokes he creates. Bovi keeps his audience glued to their seats for hours and always conquers any stage when he grabs the microphone. The father of three, who will be staging his popular Man on Fire show in a few weeks time, speaks with SEGUN ADEBAYO on his career, life and future plans.
Many people were surprised at your decision to rest Man On Fire show after this year’s edition. What brought about that decision?
The fact remains that every beginning has an end. It is time to move on to something else; something bigger. From here we move on to greater things. It is best to leave on a high.
Looking at your journey over the years and the success you have recorded on the job; what has sustained your brand?
I will say work, research and passion. That’s how it’s always been for me but that’s it. Honestly speaking those are the elements that kept me going. I like to put in work. Part of the work is research. And I also like to study. I watch the news to get content while knowing what’s going on in the world and I’m passionate about the arts.
Apparently, your brand has come to stay. You are one of the most celebrated comedians in Nigeria. How does it feel maintaining your standard for years; does it come with any pressure?
To be honest, I just do what I have to do. I haven’t tried to build or maintain a brand. I just do what I have to do and get better at it. I try to be my own competition. I’m happy the world likes it. I feel so great.
You seem to be underrated but you have been around for a long time. You couldn’t have come this far if you never had it in you all the time. But the comedy aspect of your career is something that strikes many people, even me. Obviously, it has continued to pay the bills and set you on the path of prosperity. Did you ever see this success coming?
I am underrated? That’s new to me. Maybe you should explain further. However I do what I do for the satisfaction it brings me. Not the bills it pays. I don’t believe in doing anything if it doesn’t bring fulfillment.
Maybe you are underrated because people don’t always see you headline shows and make big announcements like some of your colleagues. You keep your game plans to yourself a lot.
Maybe that’s your opinion. Do you expect me to headline a show that’s not my show? Whenever I feel I have what it takes to do my show, I do it. It’s not an annual thing. It’s seasonal. And the season has come again after two years of the last one. Before the last one, it was a three year hiatus. That’s just me. If that’s making me underrated then I’m cool with it.
You have made your mark in the industry and stayed on top of your game for years. Looking at the structure in the industry, is there anything that makes you sad?
Right now I’m at a stage where I’m grateful for me and grateful for others. The industry has provided jobs for many. It’s taken several off the labor market. It’s made respect for the arts to double. The beauty about stand-up comedy is that it filters itself. Those who are good at it are known. The phonies are known too. You can’t get hired if you’re not good. You can’t get an applause or draw laughter if you’re not funny. And this keeps those who are good on their toes too. The industry waits for no man. You’re only as good as your last performance. I see every day as a new battle.
Talking about being funny and owing the stage. Today, we see a lot of the phonies around cracking their jokes and getting the crowd behind them. There is also the Instagram skits-makers, who are fast-making inroads into the big stage. How do you feel about this development and what it portends for the profession?
Well, like I said, the craft filters itself. The Instagram comics are doing a great job. They created a brand of art out of technology. For those who can crossover and succeed on stage, they’re absolutely welcome. I don’t believe in stopping people from doing whatever they wish.
Let’s talk about Bovi Man on Fire. It is always a sold out show and people are already looking forward to this year’s edition. But you have said this is the last edition of the show. With the success recorded over the years, how hard was it for you to announce you will be resting after April?
Honestly, it was not hard. I think it has reached its peak. I don’t know how to force things neither do I know how to do the same thing for a long time. So, it is good that I am dropping it at this point.
It is believed that one of the ways to remain relevant as an entertainer is to be in the faces of the people always and stay in their consciousness for a long time. How will this not affect your brand even If you will be switching into something bigger?
Like I said earlier, I did my show in 2014 and the next one was three years later. And after that, it’s two years before the next edition which is about to happen. Doesn’t that show you that you don’t have to be in people’s faces? I don’t need people to like me. I need them to like what I bring to them. As far as they like that, it’s good for us all. For me it has always been about quality over quantity. Trust me, nobody forgets quality like that.
You started as an actor before comedy became your forte. Are we going to be seeing more of Bovi in movies now that you are stepping away from the Man of Fire?
You seem to have everything working for you. You have a lovely family with kids. You are hardly associated with any scandal. What have you been getting right with your career?
There is nothing special about it. I just try to take life one day at a time. I do the things that make me happy.
Has that helped you from being scandal free?
If that’s what has kept me out of trouble, then I guess I’m lucky.
As a comedian, who has achieved a lot from standing on the stage to make people happy. Is there any stage you still wish to perform on?
I will love to perform on every stage that has a microphone! I just love to entertain. It doesn’t really matter where. Of course I want do all the grand venues and arenas. That’s my dream.
What could you possibly want from God again?
To stay happy and protected.