“You have to be a genius to be a good comedian” – Gordons
Gordons – I am from Warri in Delta state. I attended Ighogbadu Primary school, from there I went to Nana College, then Delta State University where I studied Integrated science. I am a comedian, a singer and a fashion designer.
Gordons, Why comedy?
The gift of comedy has been a fantastic one. Personally, I never thought for one second that comedy was going to bring me thus far. Though it’s been very challenging, challenging in the sense that you have to roll out new jokes all the time to make sure you keep your fans happy and you smile to the bank. It’s a wonderful profession being that it is the hardest job in the world. It is not easy to make people laugh, especially Nigerians, considering the level of things we’ve gone through in this country. And if you can still make people laugh that must be by the grace of God.
I have been in the comedy industry for nine years now. And if you ask me, I would say we’re just starting. Comedy is never ending; jokes will never end. Comedy started back in the days of the bible because they were called jesters as at that time. And we have had comedians right from that era and up to this day. For these past years I can say that we have evolved. We have moved from the level of just cracking jokes to the level of social commentators. We have been able to address national issues humorously. And we have been able to create jobs for young people who went to school but could not do anything with their degrees. So it’s been wonderful these past nine years.
One would have thought that comedians were school drop-outs, or those who just took up the profession to while away time.
Comedy is not met for clowns. Comedy is a gift of the wits, as we call it. It is intelligence in its own rights. That intelligence that people don’t know is what makes them laugh. So comedy is not meant for drop-outs, nor for never-do-wells. You must be gifted as a comedian for you to operate on that level. It is very challenging. For me now you have to learn how to write jokes for different occasions. If I am going to perform for lawyers, I have to write the lawyers’ jokes. If I have to do a joke for medical students I have to do the medical students’ jokes, and so on and so forth. You see, comedy is not meant for drop-outs. As a matter of fact, you have to be a genius to be a good comedian because at all times you have to think and see the comedy in everything.
In Nigeria we have up-coming comedians and the grandmasters
I dare say that there is nothing like up-coming comedians. We are all up-coming because we’ve not developed to that point where we can now say, ok these people are masters. The only person entitled to that position, who started twenty years ago and is still running, is Ali Baba. He is perhaps the only man you can refer to as a master. Every other person I see as up-coming. However, for the purpose of this interview, we have young boys who are just coming up with this job that we are doing. Those are the ones they call the up-coming comedians. And they are coming fast because they have discovered that the job is lucrative, even though is very challenging. So they are doing their best to catch up with the ones that are already running.
Growing up, did you ever think that you would one day be a comedian?
I never thought I would be a comedian, but comedy was something I had passion for. It was something I did just to make people laugh without the understanding that I could make money out of it. I was just doing it purely for entertainment reasons until somebody discovered and said to me: “this thing you are doing to make people laugh for free you can do it for money; you can make a living out of it.” Even though I never dreamt of it, but like what the bible says: my life and my tithes are in His hands. Today I am here and am doing comedy and I am not regretting it.
How do you get inspiration for your jokes?
Comedy is to one as prophecy is to a prophet. We have the gift of the third eye. We see the comedy side of everything. It comes to us naturally. A comedian could be sleeping and when you woke him up the first three things he would say would make you laugh. It is something that he is wired to do. Comedy comes to us just as music comes to a singer. It is as easy as that because God has given us the gift naturally.
Your favourite food?
Banga soup and starch, simply because I was raised with it and I grew to love it.
How do you like to relax?
I relax by reading. I read a lot because as a comedian you need to learn how to read and from reading you get your punch lines. Punchlines are that side of jokes that we call happy ending that make you laugh. I read a lot when I want to relax and I also watch other comedians, foreign comedians. I want to see their approach toward things.
Favourite actor/actress in Nollywood?
I used to, but now I really can’t put it together because we see, for example, Pete Edochie with his beard in one movie, then same appearance in another movie, on and on without any change or make-up. It doesn’t appeal to me. I used to have Pete Edochie as my favourite actor, and also RMD (Richard Mofe-Damijo), but now I can’t put it together. Don’t be surprised, I don’t watch home videos.
Any jokes on the Nigerian home video industry?
If I have a joke on home video it will be because I want to run home video down. Apart from the fact that I am a comedian, I also see myself as a social commentator. I should be able to say one or two things that the actors themselves can pick up and develop because Nollywood is running everybody down. Now we have Yoruba channel, Ibo channel and Hausa channel. It shouldn’t be so. We should just have one African Magic and that is it, and every other tribe should come in to do their thing instead of monopolising African Magic. For the sake of comedy, I could do the Sam Locos, the Ibus and the other ones.
To me Mudi has always been a fantastic designer, and I use his things. For example, I use the Princely robe, and his nice sandals particularly what we called the Moses’ kind of sandals. I love the D&G connection. I love the matured Armani. I am crazy about Seco Canneti. That’s how it works for me. I don’t do wristwatches.
favourite relaxation spot in Nigeria?
I would go to Uyo and Calabar to relax simply because they are neat and serene. And the people are cool-headed. I have been to Obudu Ranch a couple of times. I felt like I was in Europe. I had to wear the head warmer, jacket and it was crazy. Knowing that you are in Nigeria; it’s beautiful. I also took the cable car. That scared the life out of me, but it was worth it at the end of the day.
On Ali Baba
For every field there is an apostle. Ali Baba has always been the apostle of comedy. One thing I will like to take from him is that he is very humble. He can come here and clean everybody’s shoes. He is so humble and well organised. Humility promotes at any time. He is an entrepreneur, fantastic husband and an older brother. He has always been my mentor.
On the Niger Delta struggle?
I believe in the struggle but not with arms. I believe they can dialogue and work things out because there is a way you can eat your own food and people will call you a thief. I believe there are better ways they could approach issues that will draw the attention of the world instead of resorting to violence.
Taking comedy to the churches?
As a matter of fact there is nothing like a gospel comedy because we don’t have gospel food and we don’t have gospel clothes. But we have Christians who are comedians. Comedy is comedy. Your ability to know the kind of jokes to crack in a particular setting makes you a more matured person and a professional. If I go to church, it would be wrong for me to crack jokes about lady’s nudity or things like that. Common sense should teach you that you are in a place that such things should not be said. We go to political event and we don’t crack political jokes that would provoke offence. We try to make everybody happy. That is what we are paid for. Comedy in the church will be a “Thanks Giving” concert just to appreciate God for what he has done for me. So you don’t expect me to turn it into something else. As a comedian you must not be carried away. You must be focused. I can talk about political stuff in church, societal issue in church. I can even talk about marriages. I can talk about women in a positive way. I can talk about me. There are lots of things I talk about when it comes to comedy in the church.
On female fans
I am married and I have three children. I try as much as I can to protect the family, which is the source of my strength. I meet some girls who would ask for my number on the pretext that they want to call me for shows, but they know they are not calling me for any show. They want to get my number so they can do night calls and send SMS, be on their Facebook pages and all that simply because they are my fans. I understand the place of fans in our industry. So I try as much as possible not to push them away and not to be too close to them also. I can say, “hey, you are a fine girl. If I had my way I would have been married to you. But you see because of what I am doing, it would not be proper. The press would not even allow me to get away with it.” I always find a way to avoid giving in to her in a manner that she will not feel offended.
Where did this discipline come from?
I did a lot of stuff before I got married. The truth about life is this: what you propose in your heart, God can bring it to pass. When I was going into comedy, I first of all analyse the pitfalls in the industry. And I circled women. Look at 2face today, as talented as he is women brought him down to a level that he is trying to fly away from right now. Other people make mistakes so that we can learn from it. It is not that I don’t appreciate a beautiful woman when I see one, but something inside of me will caution me. I am not trying to be a good boy, but sometimes wisdom also teaches us to just let this thing be because it is the same thing anywhere. What you do outside doesn’t make any difference from the one that you have inside. I want to live longer. I want to be able to take care of my kids and a lot of things will run through my mind. If I go down with this girl, what if she is HIV positive? And one when a man is high he doesn’t care. The whitemen taught us how to use condom, but they did not tell us what to do if the condom breaks. Abstinence is the best! So to avoid this kind of issues I go around with my wife because if your wife is around you can’t mess up.
What is Gordons’ Philosophy of life
The way up is down. It is only the grave you dig from the top. I stick with Proverbs 26 (if I am not mistaken), it says: humility plus the fear of God is equal to honour, life and prosperity.