You might not be so impressed with Nollywood’s performance in such genres as action, thriller or horror. But when it comes to comedy, give it up for Nollywood; Nigeria’s movie industry.
We have done so well. Both in stand up comedy, comedy skits, movies and series. From the first movie that gave us prominence; Living in Bondage to the likes of Jagun Jagun and The Passport, Nollywood has continued to prove it is a natural in comic reliefs.
There is this low budget movie titled ‘What is Love’ that has a lady bring her fine boy husband to her parents’ home and worships him. This is much to the disgust of her younger sister and brother (who happens to be my name sake; Osy). The scenes where the seasoned actress that played the lovestruck wife showers her husband with special attention and tender loving care are really mirth inspiring. I laughed my heart out watching this movie. The YouTube space is awash with such low budget Nollywood movies.
Let’s go back to Living in Bondage of the early years of Nollywood. Though it was a movie about money ritual and betrayed love, Kenneth Okonkwo who played Andy, made funny scenes alongside his counterparts in the movie. I recall with a grin that popular funny scene where he took that line; “Paulo, ikowasirom ifea ofuma.” And the response is even more funny, “Jide Obi gi aka…”
The likes of Clint the drunk, Julius Agwu, BasketMouth, I go die, I go save, AY and the list continues, have continued to make global buzz with their unique and exceptionally entertaining version of stand up comedy that all races and status relate to and enjoy thoroughly.
Nigeria’s stand up comedy has sold the country across the globe almost as much as our music industry. It has also been a very successful venture changing lives everyday, economically and otherwise. This is especially with the innovation social media brought to the comedy content creation craft; comedy skit making.
Comedy skits from Nigeria have no equal. We have cracked ribs from all tribes and tongues with our comedy skits. Go to TikTok, Facebook, YouTube and what have you. There is Taaoma who creates a stereotype of African mothers and their sadistic tendencies; striking their children for every and anything. She has over 3.1m followers on Instagram and 951k on Twitter, and over 619k subscribers on YouTube.
There is also ZicSaloma (real name;Aloma Isaac Junior) whose character of stereotypical African female born again church and street girl is so funny to watch. He has over 1 million followers on Instagram and has made a good life for himself.
How about Broda Shaggy, (Samuel Animashaun Perry) that young man with a character of a funny sounding Lagos street guy with a twisted and funny way with words. A graduate of Creative Arts from the University of Lagos, Broda Shaggi rose to fame through his parody drama “Jesu in Mushin“. Ever since then, the “agbero” talking comedian has become widely accepted by all. Broad Shaggi has starred in movies as a funny character, taking on roles that express his hilarious side such as ;Fate of Alakada, Chief Daddy 2, Namaste Wahala and Omoghetto: the Saga.
Broda Shaggi has 9.6m followers on Instagram
Mr Macaroni is the comedian who brought to life the Freaky Freaky Daddy character; a rich man who has ill-luck with women even with his inordinate weakness for anything in skirt with a tendency to transfer huge amounts of money into female bank accounts for the flimsiest reasons. Mr Macaroni, who is just in his early thirties, has over 4 million followers on Instagram as well as over 850,000 subscribers on YouTube.
We have also been bringing great films on Netflix, Amazon Prime and elsewhere back to back in recent times. I have taken a perusal across the movies as well as what made those most successful of them all so. I have always arrived at the same conclusion; our comic relief movies sell us faster. Take Merry Men for instance. Merry Men was such a success at the box office that Merry Men 2 just had to be made and since its release recently, it has been trending on the cyber space. We have not talked about the likes of Omo Ghetto, Chief Daddy 1 and 2, Prophetess, 30 days in Atlanta. I can go on and on.
It is left for the stakeholders in the movie industry to see that, indeed, comic relief is our comparative advantage in the global movie industry. This will make them put in more resources into making the most of this our selling point.
I am glad that the present governor of Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo Olu has taken the bull by the horn by launching a 200 million dollar film village project recently. This means a lot to the standard of movies we would be making in Nollywood, going forward. What, with the new found collaborations with Hollywood too. The future is bright and beautiful for our industry. Let us however not lose mind of our selling point; namely, our ability to bring humor into all of life’s vicissitudes.