Nigerian stand-up comedian Atunyota Alleluya Akpobome, popularly known as Alibaba, has disclosed how he made his first N1m in the industry.
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.
He said: “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 commercialization of my comedy took place.
“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 organizing 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.”
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,” he said.
“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.”