Nigerian stand- up comedian , Alibaba , has shared a story of how he made his first N1 million in the industry.
Alibaba , whose real name is Atunyota Alleluya Akpobome , recently marked his 30 th anniversary on stage.
In a press briefing recently , the ace comedian reflected on his journey into the entertainment industry , saying he had to convince his family to embrace his craft in the early years of his career.
“ Since I discovered my talent , I have worked to see that a lot more could be done with it. My growth in the last 30 years has been in phases . The first phase was when I discovered my talent in Ekpoma ( in Edo State ) in 1998 . Between that time and 1993 , I had to convince my family that comedy what was what I wanted to do.
“ I figured I had to build awareness and embrace opportunities ; I had to promote my talent through television stations, night clubs , universities and newspaper houses . After so much promotion, by 1998 , I had built some momentum, and the commercialisation of my comedy took place.
“ In 1996 , I joined Guinness to promote a brand and that was when I made my first N1 m . It gave me the strength to continue and I realised that there was more to my talent . Between 1998 and 2003 , I started commercialising comedy; I had to get an office , register my business , brand and network.
“ In the fourth phase , I started diversifying by writing and speaking. I used to do stage plays as well, but I figured I wasn’t going to make as much money as I wanted (from it), so I devoted my time to stand - up comedy alone.
“ Between 2008 and 2013 , I realised it was time to consolidate my career. We had to build institutions, create structures and also work towards having a media empire . Within that time , I started organising my comedy shows . There was a need to reposition myself as the frontline comedian . In 2016 , I performed comedy for six hours because I wanted something that would spread around the social media space , ” he said.
The comedian also spoke about the memorable lessons life had taught him in the last 30 years . He also explained why many people refer to him as the father of stand- up comedy.
“ It taught me that whatever I do to be successful , there was a need for me to also make others successful by opening doors for people . When I started doing stand- up comedy, there were no one doing it at the time ; however , there were masters of ceremonies who dabbled into comedy like Bisi Olatilo , and Tunji Shotimirin . These people were plying the trade a bit but they were not fully into stand -up comedy.
“ When I came on the scene , I devoted my time fully to stand- up comedy. I continued to struggle in the career path because I knew I would make it a commercial success . And because of this , I had a head start . This could justify why people call me the father of stand - up comedy, ” he said.
When asked about his jokes about former President Olusegun Obasanjo and how the ex - President used to laugh over them; he noted that he had been hosting events for bigwigs in the Nigerian military before making jokes about him.
“ The ex - President , Obasanjo , wasn ’ t just promoting me ; he recognised stand- up comedy and gave it a boost . After a while , he got used to me and started recommending me for events he attended. A lot of state governors , who used to attend those presidential dinners , used to invite me to their events. For him to have the thick skin to accommodate my jokes about him made them feel comfortable with me.
“ I felt comfortable performing in front of military men because I had done events for military chiefs like Sani Abacha , Ibrahim Babangida and Tunde Idiagbon . When I performed at military barracks , I could get away with some things because I knew the ropes. I studied the origin of stand - up comedy and I knew it started with the blacks. I knew how to tell jokes without offending anybody . I knew there was a thin line between being funny and being offensive , ” he said.
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