Meet comedians who are cashing in on stage, screen
If you think that all they have to offer as entertainers is to mount the raised platform to dish out jokes, then you have not been following the career of some of our notable comedians. Although they have all made names as comedians, the spotlight is on a few that have led in the pack amongst those that have transcended their stand-up acts to become notable faces on the silver screen. Here are a few of the more notable comedians turned actors.
Steve Onu aka Yaw
HE is perhaps the most listened to On-Air Personality (OAP) on any radio station in Nigeria today. He is the reason why so many ears stay locked onto the Victoria Island, Lagos-based pidgin English radio station, Wazobia FM (95.1).
A graduate of theatre arts of the Lagos State University, Steve Onu, or Yaw as he is popularly called by his teeming fans, is also a notable stand up comedian and a stage and screen actor who has become a constant visitor to so many homes, not just through his effort as OAP, but through his inimitable acting runs on the popular television series ‘Flatmates’ and other screen appearances.
Born and raised in Lagos, Yaw, a founding member of Optimum Konsortium, a university-based drama group had always had a flair for the performing arts particular stage and screen acting. He was all over the place in early school, acting, standing in as master of ceremony and a stand-up act in most of the social events organised by students. So, it didn’t come as a surprise to those who know him when they learned that he had enrolled to study theatre arts at the Lagos State University.
While studying under the guidance of some of his teachers such as Professors Sola Fosudo and Tunji Azeez, Yaw found time to do some acting by the sides. He was engaged as a regular artiste on a number of the radio drama series produced by the BBC. After that, some television producers found Yaw, who has featured in a number of stage productions including Ahmed Yerima’s Fall of a King and Wole Soyinka’s Trials of Brother Jero, fit to interpret roles on television and in movies. Yaw’s filmography, includes Twilight Zone, Flatmates, Dear Mother, Fuji House of Commotion, and most recently Smash.
Okechukwu Anthony Onyegbule aka Okey Bakassi
POPULAR as Okey Bakassi, the actor, television personality, and compere started out as an actor and then he found standup comedy as something he could do and do very well. The Imo State-born artiste is by far one of Nigeria’s respected standup comic artistes.
A member of the Board of Trustees of the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN), Okey Bakassi has a rich filmography that includes Madam President, Onye Ozi, which won him several awards, Husband My Foot, Fools on the Run, Chicken Madness, Kiss Me Quick, Pam Pam and many others. An alumnus of the River State University of Science & Technology, Okey is also a regular feature on the popular television series titled Flat Mates.
Atunyota Alleluya Akpobome aka Alibaba
HAILED as the Grand Commander of Nigerian comedy and popular as Alibaba, Atunyota Alleluya Akpobome leads the pack of stand-up comedians who are having a good run in moviedom. The Warri, Delta State-born comedian who was educated at the Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, where he read Religious and Philosophy has featured in a couple of big-budget productions, including the two-part box office comedy film The Wedding Party and Alakada, which had a successful cinema run. Alibaba also had pronounced performances in movies such as Head Gone, My Guy, and in Moses Inwang’s comedy film The Last Three Digits.
Ayodeji Richard Makun aka AY
POPULAR as AY, Ayo Makun is one of Nigeria’s A-list comedians. The Ifon, Ondo State-born theatre arts graduate of the Delta State University Abraka is huncho of Corporate World Entertainment, the company that is behind the successful AY Live Comedy show, reputed as one of the biggest comedies shows in Nigeria if not in Africa.
Like Alibaba, AY occupies a top position amongst comedians whose heart partly lies in moviedom. Not only has the award-winning comedian featured in a couple of Nollywood movies, but AY has also equally signed a few critically acclaimed movie productions as Executive Producer. He has starred in highly successful movies like Being Mrs. Elliot, The Wedding Party, and in the across country production titled American Driver.
The movies that AY has signed as lead actor and producer are A Trip To Jamaica, 30 Days in Atlanta, 10 Days in SunCity, and most recently Merry Men, American Driver, The Accidental Spy.
ONE of Nigeria’s top comedians, Bovi has his name listed amongst Nigerian movie producers. The Delta State-born comedian and product of the Delta State University produced and featured in the 2016 romantic comedy, It’s Her Day. Although the movie wasn’t particularly successful at the box office, Bovi has stated that he will hit location soon and won’t stop signing works either as producer or actor. The comedian recently starred in the remake of Nneka The Pretty Serpent.
BORN Stanley Chibuna, but popular as Funnybone, the Anambra State native who was born and raised in Kaduna State is one of Nigeria’s celebrated comedians. A theatre arts graduate of the University of Jos, Funnybone joined the stand-up comedy train nearly a decade ago and he has gone on to become a household name.
Humble and unpretentiously friendly, Funnybone’s heart also lies in moviedom as evidenced by a couple of critically acclaimed movies he has featured in. Movies that have benefitted from his performance include Sergeant Tutu, Kondo Game, Bandits, What Just Happened and Emem Isong’s Love Is In The Hair.