Bovi: My mission is to just make people happy until my time is up
Bovi Ugboma is a stand-up comedian, actor and writer. A native of Edo State, he holds a degree in Theatre Arts from Delta State University. He started his comedy career in 2007 and has organised popular stand-up comedy concerts – Bovi: Man on Fire Across the Globe and Naughty-by-Nature. The actor has written several sitcoms, produced and featured in movies including It’s Her Day and My Village People. In this interview with IJEOMA THOMAS-ODIA, he speaks about his latest comedy show – Bovi: Identity Crisis – which holds today.
What informed this comedy special?
Every entertainer has a story to tell. When it comes to stand-up comedy, we use it as an avenue to tell these stories. And then, whenever you are doing a special, all over the world, you have a theme you are working with. So, the theme this year is ‘Identity Crisis’ because most of the jokes border on identities across the world in different spheres. Things we identify with, things that are cultural identities, constitutional identities, racial, creed and religious; a huge amount of the jokes border on man and identity.
We’ve had a lot happening in Nigeria this year, from the naira crisis to the fuel subsidy removal crisis. Is that part of the ‘Identity Crisis’?
Well, now that you have said it, maybe I will add it, because we have two different types of currencies, as there was a time when people were not identifying with the old notes. I wasn’t going to dwell on that or touch on it, but then, the more the merrier.
Like you’ve said, we have so many crises going on now, and there is this particular one about Mohbad. What are you going to say pertaining to that? Are you going to shed some light on that, as an entertainer?
To be honest, the passing of Mohbad was very tragic. And the reaction of people after his passing shows you how emotionally hurt we are in society. My biggest lesson from his passing is that bullying in any form is really not acceptable. I just hope that’s the major take, not just for us in the entertainment industry, but as a society, as a people. I don’t see what I can say about his passing to generate laughs. I don’t want to lose the core of what stand-up comedy is, and that is to basically make people have a good laugh, and a good time. But yes, we will pay respects to him. I think that’s where it stops.
Like I said it’s not a jamboree type of show. This is like my version of a music album. And then, in all my shows, I’ve always tried to feature emerging talents as the opening acts. Comedians are not really cheap to come by. So, if I’m doing a ‘comedy kings’ or ‘comedy royalty’ then that would feature heavyweights; but basically, it’s a Bovi show, and Bovi shall entertain.
It takes an intelligent mind to come up with themes like this. What is your thought process?
Personally, I observe the news. I don’t just watch the news. And then, I have my personal take. So, if I have written about 15 jokes, and seven or eight of them border on a common thing, then the title will emerge from there. That’s why I said that many of the things I am talking about are mankind in their different forms and identities. That’s why this show is titled, ‘Identity Crisis’.
Are there jokes you would not crack?
Probably jokes about Mohbad. If you’re trying to ask me if there are no-go areas, there are no no-go areas. It’s a joke, that’s why it’s a joke.
One common thing among comedians is that some of them steal jokes; what is your take?
I think comedy has evolved to the point where comedians now know that to grow in this business, you have to own yours. You find out that those who used to steal jokes from others, it only took them to a certain level. If you really want to grow, and have people appreciate your work, you have to write your material. If you’re stealing jokes, you will continue hovering around a certain level. You cannot grow past it.
You are always wearing black, why?
Black is one of my favourite colours when it comes to dressing.
How do you find comedy so easy?
I think I was born to be an entertainer. Maybe that’s why it seems easy for me. As a human being, when you find your passion, you will just cruise through it when you learn all the tricks, and the tactics. But generally speaking, I’m a grateful person. In life, I’ve realised that if you have gratitude in your heart, communicating is not a problem. Have I had adversities? Absolutely! But life goes on. Until my time is up, I think my mission is to just make people happy. My mission is to entertain people, and I am having tunnel vision when I am doing that, because it’s what makes me happy. Making people happy makes me happy.
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