Ushbebe… A shot from the barracks
Justice Emonaerere Nuagbe, popularly known as Ushbebe, is a comedian, OAP and actor. He hails from Aladja in Udu Local Council of Delta State. The Delta State University, Abraka, theatre arts graduate worked in the banking industry for about a year before he ventured into showbiz, while training and working under comedian AY for over four years as personal assistant and event manager. He has performed in comedy shows such as, AY live, Rhythm unplugged, Nite of a thousand laughs and Standup Nigeria. He is currently with Naija FM 102.7, hosting a morning show, while equally running an events’ outfit, PrideRock & D’Angelo, as a partner. In this interview with IJEOMA OPARA, he shares his passion for comedy among other issues.
How did your journey into comedy begin?
The journey began, professionally, when I left the bank to work with AY. I got the chance to explore and try all the forms of comedy, got my first stage performance at AY Live, in 2009, from there has been working.
Tell us about your growing up?
Growing up for me was interesting. I grew up in the barracks, Airforce base, in Ikeja, and as a barrack boy, there were just too many activities to be involved in. My dad, for one, is a very funny man. He always racked up our brains with his actions; so, I think that rubbed off on me. While I sold gala, pure water and played football, I would make my friends laugh so hard that most times, we would forget what we were doing. Thank God things are better now, it only saddens me that my mum is no more.
How has the job of OAP helped your comedy?
Interestingly, it puts me on the spot because I have to be funny all the time in short, every day. So, it has helped me improve mentally and increase the number of people that know me as an entertainer.
How long have you been doing this?
Well, over eight years.
Who are your role models?
I grew up admiring AY from my days in the university, so, he’s my number one role model in the business, in fact, during our undergraduate days, and AY’s shows were the best on campus. I worked for him then, selling tickets for the shows. Martins Lawrence’s style of comedy on stage also inspires me, same with Gandoki.
Are you working on any project?
Yes, The Chronicles of Ushbebe Live is a comedy and music concert that mainly entertains. Having aired my TV show, the Chronicles of Ushbebe, I decided to take the fun to my audience, make them feel the jokes and enjoy the music directly, and the need for a happy society led to the birth of my event, too much of tension calls for a happy moment and my events renders that service. This is the second edition and it will sure reach other parts of the nation from Abuja, Port Harcourt and Enugu this year.
What stands you out from other comedians?
I guess the way I stand, I just try to be fresh, every time, I have to deliver. I feel spontaneity is key to the business.
What has kept you going in your career?
It is basically God, then my fans, every time people say ‘I love what you are doing Ushbebe’, I get the energy to increase my work.
What is your take on the comedy industry in Nigeria?
It has come of age, and we are really doing better than what it was before. I know it would still get better than this. Comedians are building houses, buying choice houses and doing projects that are laudable.
What challenge is the entertainment industry facing and how can it get better?
I’m a content producer, and I don’t think providers of content are getting any form of support from the government because individual organisations cannot do it all; the government needs to do more for the entertainment industry.
What is fashion to you?
Fashion, for me, is a feeling. I don’t get to know what I will wear until I’m about to go out, only that when I dress, I get the feeling that my choices were pre-planned, I like to match the right colours so that I don’t look like Ojuju
What is your favourite fashion accessory?
It is my wristwatch. Before now, I guess it was my footwear
Describe yourself in three words?
Fun, inspiring, creative
Who is your style icon?
I don’t really know, but I like the way Kevin Hart dresses.
Your favourite colour?
I love every color that makes me to look fine.
Favourite piece of clothing?
Before, it was my shoes, now I think is my wristwatch
Choice holiday resort?
I like to go to the UK, but I think, as the money comes, the idea of resort changes. I will say Brazil, because I fell in love with the place the last time I visited.
How do you relax?
I like to watch movies and hangout with family and friends.
What is your philosophy of life?
Live simply, always show love.
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