Ali baba: It’s an honour to see upcoming comedians use my jokes
The iconic and trailblazing grandmaster comedian, Ali Baba, has said it is always an honour to see upcoming and even established acts in the comedy sector use his jokes as platform for building their careers. He likened the phenomenon to wannabe contestants on both the X-Factor and American Idol singing the songs of known legends like Whitney Houston and Adele to gain recognition and find their own voices.
Speaking ahead of his much-awaited London debut at the O2 Indigo Arena on August 25, Ali Baba fielded questions on Beats FM Radio station last week, saying he never felt shortchanged whenever people give kudos to young and upcoming talents using and performing his jokes.
According to him, “if you’re successful and nobody else succeeds through you, then you’re a failure.”
Ali Baba, whose star-studded line up on the night includes, 2Face Idibia, also gave reasons for shunning a London appearance for many years despite being the trailblazer since 1988. “I saw no reason to come to London since my jokes were already there,” he told his host during the live interview of about 10 minutes.
He also revealed that he just felt it was now time for the London audience to know the ‘source’, of many of the rib-cracking jokes they’ve heard over the years.
The comedian and social critic likened his effort to that of the late Super Eagles’ captain, Stephen Keshi, who, he said, paved the way for the influx of Nigerian footballers in Europe after signing for Anderlecht of Belgium nearly three decades ago.
“He – Keshi – even helped many of them to negotiate their contracts,” aside from helping them to come and showcase their skills and earn megabucks, Ali Baba noted.
He said many of such footballers “started to distance themselves from Keshi,” after they struck gold and made it big.
Continuing, Ali Baba noted that attitude is what he frowns at as well in stand up comedy, which according to him, didn’t exist when “we started over 30 years ago.”
He disclosed on the show that: “We were begging people to perform in the first five years,” beginning from 1988 when he began his career. Despite this, “we worked hard to make stand up comedy become a service, and when people saw it, it was easy to pay. The deal was done.”