Ali Baba, Basketmouth, I Go Dye and all Nigerian Comedians, shift joor! You aren’t funny enough
Nigerian comedians are smiling to the bank because in Nigeria, as Ali Baba would say, Being Funny is Serious Business.
On 24 May 2014, Vanguard published the list of 10 Richest Nigerian Comedians. Ali Baba, the father of stand-up comedians in Nigeria, was at the top spot. He is said to own and live in his Lekki mansion worth more than N300 million alone, with the estimated net worth of his overall income hitting 3 billion Naira mark. Seriously!
Other stand-up comics on the list are Basketmouth (Net worth: 2 billion Naira), I Go Dye (Net worth: 2 billion naira); Julius Agwu: (Net worth: 1.5 billion naira); AY: (Net worth: 800 million naira). The rest are: Gbenga Adeyinka; Okey Bakaasi; TEE-A; BOVI; and YAW.
Nigerian comedians are big players in the Comedy turf in Nigeria, making all the money by being funny. Yes, they are funny, but not funny enough for the big stage. The world is currently searching for the world’s funniest person, but all Nigerian comedians are missing in action. In fact, not a single comedian in Nigeria is in any way near the venue. (Scroll down to see the list of the 10 semifinalists for World’s Funniest Person competition, as reported by the Associated Press.)
In this galaxy of world’s funniest people, only one person made it from the continent of Africa. He is Vittorrio Leonardi of South Africa. What would have been another African export, Mustapha El Atrassi of Morocco, is flying France flag. Mustapha was born in France.
The 10 semifinalists for World’s Funniest Person will perform at the World Famous Laugh Factory in Hollywood and before a worldwide Internet audience today, Monday, October 20 at 8pm Pst (Tuesday, October 21 at 4am GMT).
According to Jamie Masada, owner of Hollywood nightclub The Laugh Factory and the initiator of the World’s Funniest Person competition, “online voters will narrow the list to five, the finalists will travel to the Laugh Factory’s sister club in Las Vegas. There, following another competition and vote, the winner will be crowned on Oct. 24, United Nations Day.”
Big players are known for the big stage. If you are not there at that big stage, then you are not big enough. So Ali Baba, Basketmouth, I Go Dye and other Nigerian Comedians, shift make we see road joor! You aren’t funny enough!
LIST: 10 semifinalists for World’s Funniest Person
— Mustapha El Atrassi, France. Born in France to a Moroccan family, El Atrassi began doing stand-up as a teenager. He appeared in a one-man show in Paris at age 16 and two years later had his own sitcom in Morocco. Since 2008, he’s hosted a morning radio show in France.
— Ishmo Leikola, Finland. He does stand-up in both English and Finnish, appearing at clubs throughout Europe. He won his country’s stand-up rookie of the year award in 2003 and has been honored five times as the favorite performer at Tomatoes! Tomatoes!, the Nordic countries’ largest comedy festival.
— Vittorrio Leonardi, South Africa. Leonardi has appeared in comedy clubs throughout South Africa, given talks on comedy to Mensa members and taught comedy at St. Mary’s Diocesan School for Girls in Pretoria. He’s also the resident emcee at several South African comedy clubs.
— Saad Haroon, Pakistan. A founding member of the Pakistani improv group Blackfish and other comedy troupes, Saad also created the English-language Pakistani show “The Real News,” a mix of political and social satire. He’s performed on comedy tours in several countries, including the United States.
— Nitin Mirani, United Arab Emirates. Mirani bills himself as “Dubai’s much-loved comedic genius.” He has performed his Komic Sutra comedy show in India, the United States, Britain, Hong Kong, Singapore, the Maldives and several Middle Eastern countries. The publication DNA India called his show, “A laugh riot!”
— Archie Bezos, Spain. Bezos has been described as a Spanish pioneer among openly gay comedians. He made his TV debut in 2012 with an appearance on a Comedy Central show featuring upcoming comedians. The following year he won the top award at Madrid’s FIC comedy festival and recently toured Spain with his “Gay’s Anatomy” comedy show.
— Vivek Mahbubani, an ethnic Indian comic representing his native China. Mahbubani, who performs in English and Cantonese, was honored as Hong Kong’s funniest Chinese comedian in 2007 and its funniest English-language comedian in 2008.
— Tiffany Haddish, USA. Raised in foster homes in Los Angeles, Haddish says her social worker steered her toward a comedy camp for children after hearing her stories about her imaginary friends. She’s appeared on “Def Comedy Jam,” Comedy Central’s “Reality Bites” and recently took part in a USO Comedy Tour in Japan.
— Waddah Swar, Saudi Arabia. Originally from Bahrain, Swar has been described by Rolling Stone magazine as one of the pioneers of Middle Eastern comedy. He won the “Funniest in the Arab World” competition at the Kit Kat Comedy Break Show in Dubai in 2013.
— Lioz Shem Tov, Israel. A visual comedian, Tov frequently uses a range of props to work comically bad magic tricks into his act, which he can perform in either Hebrew or English. He made it to the semifinal round of the NBC series “Last Comic Standing” in 2008.