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INSTAGRAM/ How This Social App Is Begetting Comedians

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LAGOS STATE – NIGERIA, Saturday February 22, 2020/www.gbafrica.net/ – 10, 15 years ago, no one would have believed that there would be a trend called “Instagram Comedians” who would sweep through the industry like a sandstorm in the north. But it did happen and we all but have social media to thank for this liberalization.

So it was that about the time the standup comedy industry in Nigeria began to gather momentum, one was not well regarded as having become mainstream if you are yet to feature in Opa Williams’ Nite of a Thousand Laugh; the standup comedy show that was the darling of the industry then. The shows were held mostly in Lagos, with the organizers moving to some other places like Port Harcourt, Enugu, Owerri, Abuja etc. After each show, the recorded version of how the event went was then mass produced and sold in the market, for comedy lovers who can’t afford to make it down to the venue to watch in the comfort of their homes.

It was this platform that birthed the likes of Basket Mouth, Okey Bakassi, Tee A, Omo Baba Number 1, Koffi, Julius Agwu, I Go Die, Gordons, Buchi, Dan De Humorous, Maleke, I Go Save, Bovi, Teju Babyface and numerous other stars that emerged within that period. AY was also to break out with AY Live, featuring a newer school of comedians, while Julius Agwu tried but could not sustain his Crack Ya Ribs show. Basket Mouth floated Lord of the Ribs and these competitions all but made Opa Williams to step aside, in frustration, at the proliferation of standup comedy shows.

What was the matter with Opa? One would ask. Opa was simply suffering from monopoly syndrome. He wanted it to be only him that would own such platforms. That was why he couldn’t stand to measure up with the newcomers and had to leave the scene. But we have Opa Williams to thank for Nigeria’s huge achievement in the standup comedy industry. Today’s comedians should jointly honour him for paving the way when it seemed practically impossible to achieve, and now, Nigeria has an avalanche of comedians that are shaking the nation and beyond and we should all but look back in gratitude to Opa for having the courage to start this journey and Nigerian comedians, even at the risk of hackneyed repetition and plagiarism of one another, have not disappointed us in the depth they have reached in mining jokes from the well-pool of Nigeria’s socio-cultural and political occurrences.

In as much as we have established the place of Opa Williams and his Nite of a Thousand Laugh show in their rightful position, it is important to also point out that the proliferation of comedy shows by stars like Julius Agwu, Basket Mouth, AY, Bovi, Akpororo, Ajebo, Ushbebe, and a host of others, was a necessary step towards the growth we have today because, as at then, it was difficult to be a comedian, it was tough to get noticed, it was almost impossible to blow even after several appearances. This was because of the monopoly I talked about in the earlier essay.

Before some of these comedians got on the platform, they had to undergo a series of auditions to sift out the very best for the main day. This saw many dreams die, even when it helped many to survive. Auditions, as far as I am concerned, are not the best ways to fish out talents because there are many talented dudes that are so introverted to the extent that they find it difficult to display on the spot in front of an entertainment-hungry audience who are impatient with upcoming entertainers. So going through such a process then, saw many would be stars fall back because they couldn’t survive the harsh judgments that come with our styles of auditions here.

What social media did was to liberalise the platform, creating wider avenues for more and more talented people to get noticed. So in the roll call of comedians who exploited the agency of social media to get to stardom or fired up their dawdling fame are Seyi Law, Akpororo, Mr Patrick, Charles Okocha, AY, Basket Mouth, Bovi, I Go Save, Elenu and all other older guys in the industry who couldn’t stand aside and watch newbies like Mark Angel and Emmanuella (the impeccable sensation), Klintoncod, Chief Obi, Crazy Clown and his errant son Ade, Xploit Comedy, Williams Uchemba Broda Shaggy, I Go Tuk, Maraji, Lasisi, Mama Tao, Nedu Wazobia, Yawa, Josh 2 Funny, Oluwa Dollarz, Nasty Blaq, Syneytalker, MC Lively, Kbusa Oriental Choir etc, take over the scene without them.

What social media, especially Instagram, did was to move comedy away from the limiting walls of a raised stage and placed it on the face of millions of viewers through their phones, by so doing, millions of subscribers can enjoy comedy, visual comedy, without having to pay too much ticket to access the venue. Stage comedy still plies, but it is no longer our primary source, neither are those Alaba CDs, Instagram has opened the doors for millions of comedians and consumers by putting them on the same space.

There’s no telling how much social media has helped millions of voices to be heard, and when we thought we have heard the best of our jokes, our Instagram guys came around with raw, crunchy and refined jokes from Nigeria natural comedy reserve.

The future just began.

(Written By: Ifesinachi Nwadike)

Comedy

Nigerian Actor & Comedienne, Yvonne Orji To Premiere Her Debut Comedy Special On HBO

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MARYLAND, U.S.A., Tuesday February 25, 2020/www.gbafrica.net/ – Nigerian-American Actor, Comedienne, and Writer, Yvonee Orji will, on Saturday, February 29, 2020, debut an hour-long comedy special captioned Deadline on HBO (Home Box Office, an American premium television network owned by Home Box Office, Inc., a subsidiary of WarnerMedia Entertainment)

The comedienne and Insecure star who is currently embarking on her “Lagos to Laurel” comedy tour, will shoot the hour-long special in front of a live audience at Howard University this month, reports Deadline. It looks like Orji’s Nigerian heritage will be a central point during the show, as the special will also include footage shot in Lagos last month.

The special is directed by Chris Robinson, with Orji acting as both writer and executive producer. Michelle Caputo and Shannon Hartman are also executive producers on the project. The actress hinted at plans for a stand-up special back in 2018 during the New York Comedy Festival, stating that, she is working on an hour long project that will blow the minds of patrons.

The actor shared the news on Instagram on Tuesday, highlighting what she called a “full circle moment” in her career:

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THE RISE OF STAND-UP COMEDY IN GHANA/ From Nothing To Something

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GREATER ACCRA, GHANA, Tuesday February 11, 2020/www.gbafrica.net/ – Professional theater practice in Ghana, has, over the years, suffered serious neglect. Many reasons have been adduced for this comatose state of the theater, ranging from lack of facilities, government support, and funding, as well as negative audience attitude to the profession, to the state of insecurity. It has created a situation where trained theater artists find succor in other areas of endeavor to make a living, to the detriment of the theater profession.

Elsewhere, one had argued that for the theater profession to take its pride of place in the country, trained theater artists, like professionals in other disciplines such as law, engineering, quantity surveying, medicine, pharmacy, accounting, insurance, and so on, must develop interest and be committed to the survival of the theater by practicing it. Furthermore, funding of the theater has to be taken seriously, as it obtains in advanced cultures, because theater has the potentials of enhancing national development. But then, in the midst of this unhealthy development, the stand-up comedy genre has risen to be a veritable medium of live artistic entertainment.

Stand-up comedy in the early 90S Featuring santo and judas

Starting with Charter House’s “Night of a Thousand Laughs,” the genre has blossomed to become a phenomenon. This paper traces the rise and development of the Stand-up Comedy in Ghana and argues that the theater could borrow a leaf and experience a turn-around, thus, ensuring meaningful development. In other words, the stand-up comedy genre, as it exists in Ghana today, guarantees quality assurance for live theater; it could serve as a pedestal for the stage to experience a new lease of life.

Borne out of general entertainment, which comprises television, radio, music, film, cinema, video, drama and theater, stand-up comedy has drawn a lot of attraction to its vast and enterprising industry in the last 20 years in Ghana. Media entertainment generally began to thrive on more music and movies, so much so that it began to accommodate other amusing trends to relaxation apart from stress. The few, who initially ventured into the ‘clowning act’ and endured all through the early period, have started reaping the fruits. These ‘first-grade’ stand-up comic acts began receiving invitations to functions, and then gradually, reputation rose and attention was drawn to its prospects. Consequently, the market for humor merchants started to grow. Little wonder then that the need for the conscription of laughter into TV show segments, parties, ceremonies, campaigns, and even concerts, further led to the rise and development of the stand-up comedy genre in Ghana

There is no arguing the fact that stand-up comedians have existed in Ghana from time immemorial, in the form of village spokesmen, especially at ceremonial occasions. They usually add color to social occasions, to the admiration of those gathered for such events. This is to the extent that some people even show appreciation by giving such spokesmen ‘dash’ money. Sometimes, they even solicit for such dash, threatening not to talk again, unless somebody ‘opened’ their mouths. Their performances are so recognised that people ‘charter’ them, as it is term, for their events. The absence of such village MCs for ceremonies meant very dull programmes, as people would not be entertained with rib-cracking jokes and punchlines.

The Challenges of Stand-up Comedy in Ghana

Like any other industry, comedy business in Ghana is not without its challenges. These include: finance, venues, sponsorship, negative perceptions, social media, copyright, failure to leave jokes at climactic points, recycling of jokes, and royalties, among others. It is necessary to take a brief look at some of the issues.

a. Finance: Organizing a good show does not come cheap. For instance, a modest estimate for a good comedy show would be between Ghs 200,000 and Ghs 200,000. Apparently, there is hardly any possibility of recouping the costs from tickets sales. Most of the comedy shows feature a minimum of five stand-ups and three popular musicians, who do not all charge commercial rates, in order to support their fellow artistes, and the favor is reciprocal.

b. Venues: There is the problem of affordable venues for shows. According to statistics, it costs between Ghs3,000 and Ghs 5,000 to rent the Accra International Conference Centre or the National Theatre, Ghana. This is in addition to a caution fee of at least Ghs 1,000 , making a total of Ghs 6,000. The viable option then is to canvass for corporate sponsorships for shows. But exemplistic of corporate bodies in Ghana, this does not come by easily. Where it happens, the arrangement has to be in favour of the sponsors.

c. Gender Discrimination: For the ladies like Jacinta, the main challenge is that the industry is seen as one meant for men. Thus, they are seen as venturing into “a man’s world,” just as they are looked at as commercial drivers and pilots, among other male-dominated disciplines. It means that the female comedians have to work very hard to gain acceptability and the respect of their male counterparts.

d. The Advent of the Social Media: Comedians now have to contend with current developments in the global information highway – the Internet and the global mobile telecommunications service (GSM). This is in the sense that new media jokes are on the rise and fast gaining popularity on the social media and threatening the business of stand-up comedians. New media jokes, which have some features that are similar to those of stand-up comedians, are in abundance and more accessible on blogs, websites, Twitter handles, Facebook pages.

Furthermore, the GSM providers have also joined in the jokes bandwagon by creating monthly subscription options for customers. They usually have faceless authors, who only make the jokes for the singular aim of entertainment. Most times, these new media jokes make reference to current developments and sometimes help douse matters of serious national concerns. Such jokes can also be reckless, vulgar and unprotected by copyright law. Even non-professional comedians are capitalizing on new media jokes to gain relevance and selling their personae. But another dimension to this challenge the stand-up comedian has to deal with is keeping up with the volume of jokes that flood the social media. For instance, the “Akpos jokes” have become a brand on the social media. It is a series that centres on the life of a clever boy, Akpos, who is presumably a teenager. Although Akpos is a stock character and is often predictable, his responses hold the punch lines on which the peak of each joke rests, as could be seen in the one below:

“Teacher: Akpos, a person who writes is a writer; what do you call a person who prays?
Akpos: A person who prays is a prayer!”

In the main, Akpos is portrayed as a one-way thinker, who often seeks the easiest way to solve problems. But then, there are some “fake” Akpos jokes that have failed to elicit laughter, may be due to the fact that some people are trying to use the Akpos brand to sell their jokes, at no cost, just to get attention.

e. Recycling of Jokes: There is also the problem of comedians recycling jokes, to the extent that it has become very difficult for some stand-up comedians to actually “crack ribs” or generate “a thousand of laughs.” Some of them, have attempted to justify their inability to make people laugh by saying that if some people do not laugh at their jokes, it was not because their jokes were dry, not funny, but because the listeners had personal problems that far outweighed the humor in their jokes.

f. Failure to Identify Climaxes of Jokes: Some comedians fail to identify the climaxes of jokes and peg the jokes there. A comedian posits that the only selling point left for stand-up comedians, now that almost every Ghanaian is a comedian, is their persona on stage. For instance, some comedians jokes are ordinary, does the extra-ordinary with their voice and “silly laughter.” Others jokes are slices of life but become jokes through his modulation. It, therefore, rests on stand-up comedians to sharpen their skills. This may have been one of the reasons why many of the stand-up comedians have diversified into television series. There is no doubt that stand-up comedians have to rise up to the billing in order not to lose the art to faceless jesters.

g. Comedians Using Jokes of Colleagues: There is the problem of comedians using the jokes of others, which amount to plagiarism, piracy or copyright infringement. This reflects that such comedians are lazy, taking the easy way out in the business of entertainment. It is of essence that comedian avoid repetition of jokes and give due credit to the authors of rehashed jokes. It is true that comedians can share ideas, even crack the jokes of others, but care has to be taken as to the occasions in question. It becomes an issue of piracy or copyright infringement when a comedian cracks a joke in “Night of a Thousand Laughs,” and another one repackages for another show.

h. Royalties: Unfortunately, there are no royalties accruing to comedians for their creative works. It thus becomes the famed “monkey dey work, baboon dey chop” scenario, as any comedian can rehash a joke as if it is his/her own. Also, live performances are just recorded on CDs and put on sale, while the comedians get no returns on their creative enterprises. Some comedians have said, there is need to give copyright and ownership to jokes, as one of the ways of improving creativity in the industry.

Present Face Of Stand-up Comedy In Ghana

A few years ago, a lot of people claimed Ghanaians (and for that matter, Ghanaian comedians) were not funny. In fact, there are still some people who believe that the average Ghanaian does not have a good sense of humor. At a time when Nigerian comedians had become the staple of comedy for the Ghanaian comedy market, it was very difficult for Ghanaian comedians to be accepted on comedy platforms. After the slapstick comedy (the concert party type) era, some of our young comedians started doing comedy in English. We had David Oscar, Foster Romanus, Percy . What they did was not totally new though; Fritz Baffour, Tommy Annan Forson, Kweku Sintim Misa (KSM) and a few others had earlier been in that league too.

But David Oscar and his squad were not liked. They could not impress the ordinary Ghanaian who was used to Nigerian comedy. This, however, did not discourage the Ghanaian comedians. David Oscar and his friends took up the challenge and kept organizing their own shows to prove to people they could do it. Today, Ghana can boast of having some pretty good comedy talents, including OB Amponsah, Clemento Suarez, Jacinta, Lekzy DeComic, DKB, Comedia Warris and a few others ploughing that turf. Ghanaian comedians can travel to Nigeria and crack up a whole audience. Event organizers have gained some confidence in the Ghanaian comedian that they can bill them on shows and still have positive feedback. Most of these stand-ups have added skits to their profession making it more lively.

In this paper, we have examined the rise and development of the stand-up comedy genre of artistic entertainment in Ghana. This period has seen the industry metamorphosing from a state of “nothing” to an enviable state of “something,” currently, with many of the “boys” transforming to “big boys.” Furthermore, the contribution of Charter House in creating a veritable platform, Night of a Thousand Laughs, which has been a dynamic breeding ground for prospective stand-up comedians, cannot be over-emphasized.

Though some of the challenges facing the industry, namely, finance, venues, sponsorship, negative perceptions, social media, copyright, failure to leave jokes at climactic points, recycling of jokes, and royalties, to mention a few, have been highlighted, the thinking is that the future of the contemporary stand-up comedy industry is bright in Ghana, as many of the entertainers are doing well and are getting respect from people. The consensus then, among stakeholders, is that going by the exploits of these humor merchants, locally and internationally, very soon, like the positive developments in other sectors, Ghanaian comedians will start competing favorably with their counterparts across the world, both in rich, quality content and business exploits.

Indeed, the stand-up comedy genre in Ghana has transformed from nothing to something, and like the theatre arts, it promises to maintain that status for a long while; all credit to those who dared to dream.

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CRAZE CLOWN/ The Nigerian Medical Doctor With An Amazing Comic Career

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LAGOS STATE, NIGERIA, January 24, 2020/www.gbafrica.net/ – Craze Clown was born and bred in Nigeria. He relocated to Ghana to pursue his higher education. He eventually moved to Ukraine to study medicine. He developed a passion for the medical field watching both his parents administer and sell drugs as pharmacists. He has attended Delta State University, University of Maiduguri, University of Legon in Ghana and Kharkiv National Medical University in Ukraine.

Craze Crown revealed on Instagram that he had failed Jamb numerous times before obtaining admission to University of Legon. Upon admission, he could not keep up with the yearly increment in school fees so he had to withdraw. Eventually he got a visa to Ukraine to chase his dreams of becoming a doctor. It has not been easy, balancing between his comic roles and tedious workload of a medical student but he has done really well in handling the task. On the 1st of July,2017, he shared his graduation photos with followers on his Instagram page and the well wishes poured in from friends and fans all over the world.

Craze Clown started showing passions for entertainment early on. In his high school days, he was a leader in acting and social events. Around 2013, his Instagram comedy skits portraying relationships between African fathers and their sons catapulted him to limelight. This is because of his highly relatable humor and his natural comic personality. He commands the largest follower-ship on Instagram compared to other Nigerian comedians.

Craze productions is currently being planned and formulated by the social media sensation. He intends to create a viral TV show titled House of Craze. He intends to create this TV series under his Craze Productions brand in partnership with the Chief Executive Officer of Studio-Four Productions, Victor.O. Frank. The House of Craze has a crew of five members so far. The Chief Executive Officer is Craze Clown, he is joined by comedian Kehinde Solomon also known as shortman, Tega Akpobome popularly known as Ade in the African father and son comedy skits, Jaunty a producer, artiste and song writer and Sammy the media specialist and IT guy.

Craze Clown published his website houseofcraze.com to enable fans keep in touch with his latest updates and releases. He also sells T-shirts, caps and other items with funny inscriptions on them. In a recent interview, he named his mother Mrs Grace Iwueke, Eddy Murphy, Kevin Hart, Basket Mouth and Bovi as role models when it comes to achieving his dreams of becoming a juggernaut in the entertainment industry.

In 2014, the young comedian went on tour across the UK, his show in the Scottish city of Aberdeen was the most notable. In 2015, Craze Clown began a competition titled common sense. This lasted for a month, and ever week a winner emerged, bagging a prize money of $500. The first ever winner of common sense competition used the prize money to finance his surgery. On 8th May, 2016, Craze Clown featured in the The Good the Mad and the Funny concert in Kharkiv palace, Ukraine. This live event featured Falz The Bahd Guy among other artists.

On the 15th August 2016, at Kharkiv, Craze Crown was a major performer and host at the Mr Eazi Live in Concert event. One of the hottest young artist, Mr Eazi, was there to keep the crowd entertained alongside the young doctor. In September 2017, YRR released the video for Amen remix, Yovi’s song featuring Lil kesh and Mayorkun. The video featured online comedian, Craze Clown. The video was shot and directed by Adasa Cookey.

Craze Clown lost his dad in 2015, it was a difficult time for him, but he has since persevered through and continued his rise to limelight. He is currently worth N25million. In numerous posts, he has reiterated the love he has for his mother. He constantly appreciates her whenever he gets the chance. He is currently in a relationship, he shared pictures of himself and his girlfriend all love

His comedy skits have gotten him recognition in terms of awards and endorsement deals. He won the Naija FM Comedy Jam Awards as the Online Sensation of the Year (2015), City People’s Award for Comedian of the Year and The Nigeria Youth Choice Awards. At the Nigerian Entertainment Awards (2017), Dr Craze Clown beat other rising internet comedians such as Chief Obi, Emmanuella, Foxy P and Wowo Boyz to clinch the Best Comedy Act Award (Online).

He is currently signed as an ambassador to NairaBet, the successful indigenous sports betting company, joining big time artist Phyno. He was nominated for the Outstanding Young Achievers Award for Most Oustanding Comedian of the Year alongside Maraji, Kenny Blaq, Husband Material, Arole, SLK and Ushbebe.

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English Comedian, Kojo Anim Lauds DKB For Elevating Ghana’s Stand-Up Comedy

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GREATER ACCRA, GHANA, January 21, 2020/www.gbafrica.net/ – The growth of the Ghanaian comedy industry is moving steadily well. There has been many sponsors (individuals and organizations) the comedians have moved from being blacklisted to considered “top class” performers and most importantly, Ghanaians are beginning to appreciate the hard work the comedians put in.

Derick Kobina Bonney, known publicly as DKB has been a fore runner for Gh comedy for almost a decade now. The passion he has for the industry is unprecedented and we can see it with the number of shows he has hosted over these years. DKB Live was his tertiary tour show which saw the comedian visit many tertiary institutions in the country to propagate the comedy gospel.

Point of View held in 2016 was his first one man show which made history by being the first GhComedy organized comedy show to fill the national theatre. His monthly comedy show, Comedy Express is the longest running comedy club show and it has seen the rise of many of the emerging talents to established talents we have currently.

At the end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020, the comedian organized two shows Meet and Greet comedy show to troll the “slayvengers” over the Cardi B saga and Year of Return Comedy Show whoch was the official comedy show for the year 2019.

In a video posted by DKB, Kojo Anim, the Britain’s Got Talent finalist was impressed with the talent Ghana has and was delighted to see the depth of the industry. He congratulated DKB for helping build a strong foundation which is unearthing many talents and hinted that he wants to be part of the builders to erect a firm industry. Even though it is a collective effort, no one can deny the hard work put in by DKB to help put Ghana the map when comedy is concerned.

Source : Fenuku Augustine

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