As a male entertainer, playing a female role isn’t an easy feat to pull off. Only a few Nigerian comedians including Isaac Aloma Junior manage to convincingly cross-dress in their comedy skits. The actor cum comedian who was also a contestant on the reality talent show, The Voice Nigeria in 2017, discusses with ROSEMARY NWOSU his journey as an entertainer and explains why he often plays a female role. Excerpts…
What inspired you to doing comedy during the lockdown?
I did not actually start comedy during the lockdown. The lockdown rather gave me enough time for comedy and enhanced my creativity. Prior to the lockdown, I had to go to work, church activities, studio sessions, run my post graduate programme and so many other things which affected my consistency.
The lockdown however gave me enough time to concentrate on my art. I became very consistent and strategic during the period. In fact, there was a point I literally made videos from morning till night every day because I wanted to get it right.
Describe your journey as an entertainer…
My journey as an entertainer started in the music field. I started from church choir; children’s choir, to teenage choir and then to adult choir. Being in the choir built me and gave me the courage to go for several auditions.
I was a contestant in several music competitions like Nigerian Idols and The Voice Nigeria.
Though I did not win these competitions, it gave me courage and exposure. These competitions gave me reasons to work hard because I really wanted to become like some personalities I met.
Which of the social media platforms blew you up as an actor and comedian?
TikTok blew my trumpet more. The lockdown boredom made me re-download the TikTok app I previously deleted because I never understood it. I downloaded the app, understudied it and in a month, I grew up to 100, 000 followers and I was verified because I had several viral videos. Currently, I have over 300, 000 followers on TikTok.
You are known for singing, acting and comedy. Which one are you more passionate about?
I think I’m still more passionate about singing; my first love and I can simply sing anywhere without even planning for it. I’ve come to really like acting though because it gives me fulfillment to see people laugh despite several ups and downs. Creating content and acting takes a lot of energy though.
You sometimes have to go to weird locations, use people’s properties and all of such things to create content for your audience. At the end of the day, ‘it’s our work’.
How do you balance these three areas in order for none to suffer?
I manage the three acts by fusing them together. Anyone who follows my comedy will notice that I regularly drop comic singing too like my comic remix of Whitney’s ‘I Will Always Love You’.
I often also drop music covers to feed my music audience. I regularly still get request messages, asking me to do the covers of particular songs.
Let’s talk about you being a contestant on the The Voice Nigeria in 2017. What were your best and low moments while on the show?
My best experience was being selected for the show, and also the fact that the show took me out of Nigeria for the first time in my life.
My worst experience is obviously my eviction from the show. Every contestant came with the mind of winning, so one would certainly feel bad leaving without the crown.
So, how would you describe your sound?
I find a lot of interest in gospel and RnB love songs. I love gospel music because of my love for God; love is the greatest gift of all so I love to sing about it. I also love to sing about things like peace and unity. I feel there is a wide gap between gospel music and secular music which makes vital issues suffer in music. So generally, I like to inspire, motive and encourage people with my style of music.
What inspires your epic and pretty accurate comic take on women?
I think am generally very observant. When I started out doing comedy, I played both male and female characters evenly.
I noticed people preferred my female characters because they were always extra and people found them more relatable. I then naturally tilted to playing more of female characters.
I studied English and Literary Studies. We had about 90 percent girls in my department. I was the course representative for the entire four years so I saw a lot of female characters. I naturally just adapt some of those attributes to my comics.
So, who do you draw your motivation from?
I draw motivation from comics like Nedu Wazobia FM, Funke Akindele, Josh- 2funny, Maraji, Madam Princess a n d m a n y more. I followed, observed and understudied these guys for years before knowing I would even venture into comedy.
How’s the acting life going? Any movies on the way?
Yes. I have been approached by several producers. I would be featuring in my first movie in January 2021. I have my script already.
I also have been featured in Funke Akindele’s ‘Jennifer’s Diary’ – a popular comic series. Many more producers have approached me to be in their TV series too. In as much as I would love to be in series, I do not want to stop making my audience laugh, so I’m careful on how I accept roles but I would certainly be working with some producers.
So, are there other talents that are getting overshadowed by the ones people know you for?
I’m a very good sports man – athletics, volleyball player. I also used to dance. I was previously in a dance crew. In the academic field, I am a gifted creative writer – drama, poetry and prose.
What should the music and movie industry look into for more growth?
I think the movie and music industry needs to promote raw talents and not just promoting artistes because they’re family or are from the same village. Talent should be prioritized if we want to grow.
What tips do you have for creatives who are just starting out?
For those just starting out, you need to be persistent, consistent, excellent and outstanding.
There are a lot of people doing what you are doing and being excellent and outstanding distinguishes you.
People often come with the mentality that ‘I want to start creating content: I should be popular in six months’. It does not always work like that. People with such mentality often give up on time because they would easily get weary and try something else. Entertainment often needs time and dedication.
You should also ensure you keep developing your content. I often tell people who approach me for advice, ‘If you see yourself on Instagram, would you follow yourself because of your content?’ If you are a comedian, would you laugh at your jokes and follow yourself? Creatives often need to give their art time to develop. Most figures you know did not just start and become popular.
Creatives need to encourage themselves by following success stories of some popular figures.