Facts emerged weekend that the mobile communications giant, MTN Nigeria and Pay TV darling HiTV have thrown their weight behind Opa Williamsâ€™ talent hunt show tagged: â€œThousand Laughs Hunt- Comedian Next.â€
The show begins in April in eight cities of Jos, Abuja, Benin, Port- Harcourt, Calabar, Enugu, Ibadan and Lagos.
Williams in a statement through his media company, Media Image Managers said, â€œthis will be the biggest talent show ever in the nationâ€™s entertainment industry and the fact that it is a comedy talent reality show, will make it the funniest in the history of all talent shows.â€
He went down memory lane to when the whole comedy stuff began. â€œThe success of the brand (which debuted in October 1, 1995) is most evident in its pivotal role in building the comedy industry in Nigeria.
Nite of A Thousand Laughs is unarguably the flagship of all comedy shows in Nigeria and in the African continent, and there are many shows. Through the dogged effort of some group of young people in Virgin Organisation, we have been able to build a brand that has not only stood the test of time, but has become a reference point in Nigeriaâ€™s comedy industry, for that we are humbled and proud that it is a Nigerian brand.â€
The execution of Nite of A Thousand Laughs is usually timed to coincide with national holidays like Independence, Christmas, New Year, workers day and Valentine day. â€œAnd now Nite of A Thousand Laughs shall be 15 years this year, so we have decided to do something to mark our 15 years of bringing laughter to the homes of millions of Nigerians.
Majority of todayâ€™s top comedians were at one time or the other auditioned before getting the stage opportunity. The list is endless; from I Go Die to I Go Save, Basket Mouth, Teju Babyface, Tee-A, Julius Agwu, Gbenga Adeyinka the 1st among others, Nite of A Thousand Laughs gave them the first break of their careers that have shot to monumental height.â€
It is against this backdrop Williams said, informed the need to create a discovery platform that will further expand the playersâ€™ base and open the gate of limelight for others who are also good.
The hunt shall be Pan Nigeria cutting across seven major cities; Abuja, Port Harcourt, Benin, Calabar, Enugu, Ibadan and Lagos with the grand finale holding either in Abuja or Lagos. Registration will be online with a procedure yet to be released by the organizers, but Williams assured the process has been so simplified â€œan interested contestant can do it from the comfort of his home and he is on his way to fame and fortune.â€
Winning shall be determined in what could pass for the nationâ€™s first comedy reality show by the Judgesâ€™ points, live audience voting, and TV audience voting via SMS. The aspiring comedians shall be judged by their creativity, stage command, appearance and delivery.
Seven winners in each of the cities will walk away with N150, 000.00 (one hundred and fifty thousand naira) cash prize while the national champion goes home with N1.5 million naira cash prize and a brand new car. He/she will be eligible to participate in other comedy/musical shows organized by Virgin Organisation especially Nite of a ThousandÂ Laughs.
Williams said the event is predominately a television programme â€œand as such shall run for a quarter with four showings a week. Each broadcast shall show on a weekly basis what went down in a selected city. It is going to be a viewerâ€™s delight as all the twists, turns and goofs will be in the viewerâ€™s face. You have never seen a young comic, determined to make it in the comedy world, trying as much as possible to not only impress the difficult and out rightly â€˜arrogantâ€™ judges but the viewer at home. It is really going to be fun and as the saying goes, everything is funny as long as it is happening to someone else.â€
Williams is grateful that HiTV has agreed to be the showâ€™s media partner. â€œWe are extremely grateful to HiTV for agreeing to be our media partner; it goes a long way to prove that HiTV being a wholly Nigerian company has the interest of the local industry in mind.
From its support for the local industry since inception, HiTV has done what no other Pay TV has been able to do. As for MTN Nigeria, this is a company that has stood by us for years now and we are really grateful for all the love and support we have been getting from MTN. The company has been with us through thick and thin,â€ Williams submitted.