BOVI: I am a very serious person when not on stage
Bovi Ugboma, popularly known as Bovi, is a comedian, producer, director, actor and writer. Born in Benin City, he hails from Delta State. Bovi attended UNIBEN Staff School for his primary education. He later moved to Covernment College, Ughelli for his secondary education. Subsequently, Bovi attended Delta State University, Abraka where he studied Theatre Arts in 1998 and graduated in 2002.
He began his career in 2007 and since then, has written several sitcoms and organised popular concerts. Bovi began his stand-up comedy Man on Fire in 2013, which has been hosted in Nigeria and across the globe. He has written and produced It’s Her Day and My Village People. In this interview with IJEOMA THOMAS-ODIA, he talks about his personality and passion for comedy.
What have you been up to this season?
I always work in December. I haven’t had a Christmas in the last ten years. By not having a Christmas, I mean attending events. I am always working for the consumers and the clients. But at least I’ll have family time.
You are an actor, and a comedian amongst many things. How are you able to hone your many sides, does it come naturally or you learn the skill?
I think it’s a combination of both. It comes to me naturally, and then practice makes perfection . I just keep on working. I easily get bored and that’s why I keep evolving. Hence, for me, I advice that anything you like to do, give it a shot. If you succeed, there’s 24 hours in a day. There’s enough time.
Over the years, what have you learnt from the industry?
Learning is a continuous process. I can’t start listing the things I have learnt. Basically, I learn everyday. And, my craft is the type that I feel you have to keep putting in the work. By that, I mean learning, sourcing for information and knowledge. That’s what I keep doing.
How rewarding has the industry been for you?
As regards finances, I am making profits.
Some people are of the opinion that skit making is becoming a sort of threat to Stand Up Comedy. What is your take on this?
I think it is a very stupid assumption. Skit making is skit making, Stand Up Comedy is Stand Up Comedy. There has always been skit making. Before social media, there was always skit making. So, I don’t know where the theory that one affects the other comes from. It makes absolutely no sense, and I hate to indulge in the topic because, even before social media, we used to use skits to promote our shows. People can watch skits and still go for shows. All the comedy shows that held this year filled up and sold out. All the skits made went viral. So, who is trying to bring the idea that one suppresses the other? It makes absolutely no sense. I don’t think I ever want to talk about this again.
Do you think that skit makers have a future in comedy?
As a human being, whatever you feel you can do, you should give it a shot. There are people who are skit makers, stand-up comedians, actors, writers and producers, like me. There are people who are musicians and actors and comedians. So, whatever rocks your boat you should do it. If you succeed, all well and good, If you don’t, try again. If you feel you can’t after trying several times, you let it go. It is as simple as that. Anybody can do whatever they want to do. You are a journalist today. You can decide that you want to act, and then you get your shot. No one petitioned it. So, why are we trying to box people? Everybody is welcome – that is my idea.
Tell us a bit on challenges in the industry?
There are challenges in everything. I am a very positive thinker. So regardless of what your challenges are, you should just keep pushing. I tell people that I built my career on ‘No’s’ – multiple ‘No’s’. When you have a vision, nothing really can stop you if you go at it.
What does fashion mean to you?
Covering your nakedness.
What about those who don’t cover their nakedness?
It is their style of fashion. Nobody goes completely naked and says its fashion. If you are scantily covered and it rocks your boat, all well and good. Fashion is putting on something to preserve your decency while being stylish about it.
Describe Bovi in three words.
I don’t think three words are enough to describe me.
How about a sentence?
That’s also hard. I really find it difficult to talk about myself when I’m put on the spot.
Is there anything people don’t know about you?
I am a very serious person. When I am not on stage, I am a very serious person.
If you were not into comedy, what do you think you would have been doing?
I guess we’ll never know.
What is your advise to younger people who are looking up to you?
Do what makes you happy. Ultimately in life, it’s what makes you happy that counts. Do what makes you happy that doesn’t make the next person miserable.