Stand-up comedy is dying in Nigeria, Basketmouth cries out
By Ayo Onikoyi
A-list comedian and actor, Bright Okpocha, popularly known as Basketmouth, has raised alarm on the dwindling status of stand-up comedy in Nigeria, observing that the entertainment craft is gradually dying.
The humour merchant was a member of the panel of communication experts at Viacom International Media Networks Africa’s (VIMN Africa) forum at Social Media Week, Lagos, to discuss the future of content in Africa. Speaking about the comedy scene in Nigeria, Basketmouth appreciated the efforts of Comedy Central, a property of Viacom, in creating a platform not only for traditional stand-up comedians but also trendy one-minute skits comedians.
Basketmouth, however, noted that while he has no problem with the new generation of Instagram comedians, he still does not see enough comedians taking time to hone the craft of stand-up comedy. Expressing his displeasure with comedians who take the easy route of only creating skits, Basketmouth said: “There’s nothing like a good joke. A joke can always be improved and even I often share some of my jokes with fellow comedians and they tell me it’s okay but tell me how to make it better. Doing skits on social media is very different from performing on stage. There is no filter on stage.”
Basketmouth also urged upcoming acts to work on their content and create a fan base for themselves before approaching brands and demanding showcase opportunities. In addition to honing their craft and building their engagement, Basketmouth also encouraged consistency because opportunity for the next big gig might just be a view away. “Create content that is buyable. All you need is good content and it will sell by itself.”
The captivating discussion, which was themed ‘Music, Content and Consumer Experiences…Changing The African Narrative’, was moderated by MTV Base VJ, Folu Storms and featured MTV Base Africa (ROA) Senior Channel Manager, Viacom International Media Networks Africa, Solafunmi Oyeneye; Founder and Principal Consultant, Peaceville Entertainment Group, Ernest Audu; CEO and Chief Creative Officer at X3M Ideas Limited and X3M Music, Steve Babaeko and Publisher of Nigerian Entertainment Today, founder of BlackHouse Media and ID Africa, Ayeni Adekunle. With over 20,000 attendees during the week and an online social reach of 646 million, Social Media Week Lagos is now considered Africa’s largest digital media and tech event.