Honorable De-one is a graduate of architecture from Covenant University in 2011, and he became popular after emerging winner as the ‘Best Comedy Artiste’ at Amstel Malta talent show competition in the same year. In this chat with WG, De-One lets us into his journey as an upcoming comedian, viz-a-viz, other sundry issues.Excerpts:
By Iyabo Aina and Kehinde Ajose
How was the experience at the Amstel Malta talent show?
It was good, because we had a lot of artistes there, Dare Art Alade, Wizkid, and Psquare, amongst others. So the experience was great. I will say that the Amstel Malta show launched me into the industry, in the sense that when people see me they were like, ‘oh, you are the guy that performed at the Amstel talent show, can I have your number’? So, with that I’ve been able to get more contacts and fame as well.
It’s because I’m so passionate about comedy. Anybody who knows me or have been close to me will tell you I am naturally funny. So comedy for me, as a profession is a natural thing. It is like bringing my natural self to life and trying to earn a living by it.
Who are the people you look up to in the trade?
There are so many of them. People like Omobaba, Ali baba, Julius Agwu and others lead the pack but I don’t only look up to them they are also my mentors. And there is an international comedian that I look up to too, his name is Jerry Seinfeld. I like him a lot because he is very talented and he is the richest comedian in the world. He is very unique in the way he cracks jokes. Apart from his jokes, I also wish to be as rich as he is because I believe that for him to be the richest it takes more than his jokes, there must be something extraordinary about him. I think for him to be the richest it means he’s very intelligent. I also wish to be the richest comedian someday.
Considering that you are a graduate, didn’t your parents have any objection to your career choice?
Actually, my parents are fully in support of it. Though at first, they were skeptical of my decision and they weren’t so sure I am funny enough to take it up as a profession. They were just not convinced about it. But after the Amstel show, they gave me their total consent. Right now, my parents are very happy with what I’m doing.
As an upcoming comedian, what will make you unique from others?
Hmm, first, I will say what people say is unique about me, and that is the fact that I use good, polished English most times instead of pidgin. I try not to crack joke like other people. when I crack jokes, I just look for areas that most comedians have not really touched. Like music and dance aspect of comedy.
Again, I think I have the looks, unlike most comedians who are seen by people as ugly. In fact, there is a belief that most comedians are ugly but I am not. This may be another added advantage for me.
So, what have you been able to achieve since 2011?
Yeah, I’ve worked on myself over the years and it’s not easy. I’ve been able to create a good relationship with most of the senior colleagues and they know me. Soon, I’m doing Gbenga Adeyinka’s show by next month in Ibadan, that is, ‘Laffmattz’ and I also do a club comedy every Wednesday with Omobaba at GRA, Ikeja. That was where Gbenga Adeyinka saw me and said he would like to invite me to his show.
Most people believe that there is no money in comedy compared to music and movie industry; are you into it for the money?
Actually there is money in the comedy industry. maybe the reason why people think there is no money is because comedy is still young compared to movie or music industry. For example, people like Ali baba are the ones who started comedy a few years back while music and movie have been there for a very long time. But as young as the comedy industry is, we have so many rich comedians, with some of them even richer than some music or movie stars. Arguably, it is the fastest growing industry. At first, I was into it for the passion but presently I am into it for the money, because I can see the business part.
When did you realise the talent?
I realized the talent when I was a teenager, but my parents realized it long before I did. Back then, they used to say I wasn’t serious about anything, that I saw everything as a joke.
And my first show was while I was still in secondary school; we used to do a variety night, it’s like a social gathering where we used to do all kinds of shows. It was there I first performed as a comedian. Then I did another one while I was in the Covenant University. But my first big comedy show was three years ago and I was able to make Seventy thousand naira.
What are the challenges as an upcoming comedian?
The main challenge is becoming popular or being recognised. There is also the challenge of connecting with the people. This is very important because the moment people think you are not so funny then you are as good as out of the business. People really love comedy in this country but very few can afford it. There is also the problem of people owing comedians after agreeing to pay some certain fee.
Is there any secret to make clients pay promptly?
Yes, through recommendations. The client gets to pay money on trust, that the comedian is that good. Anchoring events is very lucrative nowadays.
What’s the largest amount of money you’ve been paid for a show and which is your biggest show/ performance?
The highest amount I’ve been paid so far now is two hundred and fifty thousand naira, and my biggest show to date is a show I did in London “Crack Your Ribs” in 2011. I also did a show with Omo Baba at Abeokuta on the 26th of December that paid off very well too.
What was your first time on stage like?
It was good. It wasn’t professional, but I was actually funny. Being a professional entails the ability to move from one joke to another. Joking and making it look like you are having a chat with the audience.
What project are you working on?
I am currently working on a comedy project with a friend on Thursdays at lilac Place in Isolo. I have also been running a project with Omo baba every Wednesday at Ikeja for almost a year now. The project is quite good, as people come around, we get more exposure.
Why do comedians usually copy jokes?
It’s not good and there is nothing you can do about it. I have materials that are unique to me, so I crack jokes that are quite stale to discourage those who purposely come to shows to jot down my materials and use somewhere else. Omo baba once told me that you can’t stop people from cracking your jokes, so you just have to work on them the more and invent new ones.