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Nigerian Stand-Up Comedy - A Fast Rising Form of Entertainment by Richard Lolu

Initially it was the movie and music part of the entertainment industry that started to grow and shows various levels of development. Nigerian movies now get shown on satellite TV and have managed to gain a followership from a number of African countries.
Today Nigerian Movie stars have managed to extend their fame beyond the shores of the country. This acclaims to why some of the stars are getting international deals. Good instances are those of Jim Iyke who before the ban was at some time billed to model for an international designer and Genevieve Nnaji who was chosen to be the next face to grace the wrapper of the Lux beauty soap which would circulate the African continent.

Looking at Music, Nigeria has been able to produce over the span of 3 to 4 years a new wave of youthful talents that have manage to burst beyond the country's shores and like their movie counterparts are enjoying the same acclaim. The list of these talents spanning different genres; R&B, Hip Hop, Jazz, highlife, afrobeat etc. are endless; Trybesmen, Tooshort, Tuface, faze alone, Tony Tetuila, Keffee, Sammie Okposo, Sasha, Asu Ekiye, Kunle, Ruggedman, Azadus, Femi Kuti, Lagbaja and so on.
Some of them have won African music awards and have become forces to reckon with in African music. Today Nigerian music videos are shot and produced with state of the art equipment and the visual effects are stunning. This probably explains why Channel O had to draw closer to the Nigerian music industry and MTV base had to extend its roots to Nigeria aside from other African music TV stations. No doubt Nigerian Movies and Music are carving a niche in African entertainment.

Besides all that, there's another new wave of entertainment that's building fast in Nigeria and that's the stand-up comedy.

Stand -up comedy was never a form of Nigerian entertainment. The closest to it was that of the ancient court jesters and the local comedians we usually came across in Nigerian Yoruba movies. However Nigerian stand -up comedy is becoming a very well accepted form of entertainment. Of note is the fact that this form of entertainment is actually something copied from the western culture. But Nigerian comedians at the height of their own creativity have evolved it into their own colorful version which makes use, most of the time, of the widely spoken lingua franca of adulterated English popularly known as pidgin English. It's even spiced up when mimicked in the various indigenous Nigerian accents.

Today Nigerian Stand-up comedy shows have stormed not only the stages, and auditoriums but also TV and radio as some of them have shows on the airwaves. The shows parade the stars of stand up comedy; Julius di genius Agwu, Basorge Tariah, Ali Baba, I go die, Tee-A, Teju Babyface, Basketmouth, Holy Mallam, Owen Gee, Koffi, Gandoki, Klint D drunk, Okey Bakassi, Princess…and the list goes on. Majority of the stand-up acts happen to be male. Only of recent did the females begin to spring up with the likes of Princess, Mandy, and a host of others who are upcoming.
Since the debut of "A Nite of a thousand laffs", many other shows have come up from time to time; Julius Agwu's "Crack ya Ribs", Basorge Tariah's "Unleash de comedy" Holy Mallam's "Holy Laughter" Basketmouth's "Basketmouth Reloaded" Okey Bakassi's "Laughter Fiesta"...etc. Some have even gone as far as releasing music comedy albums like Julius Agwu's 'Okombo' and 'My style'; Holy Mallam's about-to-be-released "Bench warmer".

Organizers of various music shows and concerts now include stand-up acts to color up their events. Obviously, there's nothing as interesting and amusing as a business of making people laugh. There have been many instances where events get dull and boring until a stand-up act comes on strange to release some comic relief. They even perform at various ceremonies and parties.
Countless shows have taken place over the period and many of them have gone innovative-wise coming up with special stand-up shows for selected audience such as gospel stand-up comedy, comedy for the family…etc

Naija stand-up comics are so creative such that most of them have a trademark or a particular style of delivery they are noted for.

For instance Klint da drunk is known for coming to the stage in a drunken stupor and a rough state of dressing. He delivers his lines like a real drunk (which is an act because he's actually not drunk) He reminds you of Nkem Owoh's drunk performances in some of our home movies. He usually adds a dance sequence or to his performance and also sings funny songs.

Julius Agwu is known for his funny dances and ridiculous voice mimicry which sounds like something from a cartoon. His face is equally funny looking and he gives a good show of crazy contorted expressions.

Holy Mallam is noted for Hausa-accented delivery which is done in a cool calm and serious attitude.

I go die is noted for behaving typically like a Warri boy. (Now note that Warri is the region where the funniest versions of the Pidgin English originated) His accent clearly says it all.

Tee-A is actually a parodist. He is so ever jovial and makes a complete fool of himself while taking time to thoroughly make fun of the audience. He is also noted for good impersonations.

Ali Baba who has been in the business far longer than most of the others just stands and talks and demonstrates…but his delivery is incredible and you just can't help but laugh. He happens to be one of the most respected stand-up acts. His high profile qualified him to be the Aso Rock stand-up comedian

Gandoki is full of drama and is so creative in demonstrating scenes of his delivery it won him an award.

There are many others who have special style of delivery which has made their performances unique. It was just of recent that the females also started doing stand-up comedy. In the lead is Princess who is fast rising from the stables of Tee-A.

Stand-up comedy has come to stay in Naija and has found its roots. Today you can buy the shows recorded on CDs and DVDs just incase you didn't catch the fun live. It's the new entertainment rave in the country and more and more innovations and ideas to it keep springing up every day.


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