Home Lifestyle ENTERTAINMENT 10 QUESTIONS:  Baba De Baba



When I Crack Jokes and People Don’t Laugh, I Feel Like the Ground Should Open up and Swallow Me

He was born Chidi Uzoma but popularly known as Baba De Baba. He entered into the entertainment industry in 2004 as a protégé of Alam Bloo. In 2006, he tried acting by registering with Harris Motion Picture, producers of Arise Africa and Papaz House. He became a recognizable face in the country through his rib-cracking exploits in ‘Stand up Nigeria,’ a television comedy show. At present Baba De Baba has two works to his credit-“Baba De Baba in Stand up Nigeria,” a VCD collection of his performances in one of the biggest comedy shows in Nigeria called Stand up Nigeria, and “Comedy Quake with Baba De Baba,” an audio comedy CD. 

How has the journey been so far?

The journey so far has been interesting and God has been faithful. What brought me to Lagos was houseboy work and now ‘am a celebrity. Before I became a recognised comedian, there were challenges. The major challenge was that of acceptance; people would not believe you are funny. Like me, I looked very handsome when I started comedy; I looked very clean. Back then people didn’t believe you can be handsome and funny, they believe comedians look dirty and unkempt. As time went on, comedians changed from being clowns to being professionals. Comedians started dressing well. Comedians are some of the best-dressed people right now. So when comedy changed, it favoured me because I was already there.

How do you feel when people don’t laugh at your jokes?
A very good comedian that is called by God will not feel happy when he cracks a joke and people don’t laugh. When I crack jokes and people don’t laugh, I feel like the ground should open up and swallow me. It is embarrassing not to get the desired effect after cracking a joke. Although, I have not experienced it in a long time, but I had that experience in the early days when I just started out. It’s a bad experience.

How has comedy influenced you in any way?

Comedy is a talent; when comedy started for me, I did not know it was a profession. I grew up in the village. In the village we did not know anything called comedy. So people see me as a funny person, they call me a jester, people will call me to come and fool myself. People see you as never-do-well, unserious, when you are funny. Yet they enjoy your unseriousness, but they just call you an unserious person. So, as at that time, I have always wanted to be funny, but I didn’t know of the profession called comedy. As a young person, all I wanted to do was acting, because I see people do funny dramas. So I wanted to do comedy movies, but it didn’t work for me. I tried going for auditions when I came to Lagos but I ended up becoming a stand up comedian.

Has your plan worked out as you want?

I wouldn’t say everything is working out as planned. When I went into comedy, I didn’t know comedians suffer for a time. When you see a comedian driving a car, the belief is that once you become a comedian, in a week you get a car and a house the next week. I did comedy for like four years before I started getting paid for a show. My first pay was about N700. Living in a house where everybody has a regular job and you tell them you have a talent. And by month end, everyone brings home salary and you are not bringing anything, for many years, it’s very embarrassing. The idea didn’t work out as planned, at first, but as time went on, things got better. By the grace of God, today, I can say ‘am a comedian and I inspire people to become comedians. 

The idea of Comedy Quake, how did you come about it?

The idea of “Comedy Quake” came when comedians were stealing my jokes and telling same on the big platforms. Then I had the opportunity to perform on those same big platforms, so I decided to produce “Comedy Quake” for people to know the owner of the jokes and as well make some money from it. Comedy Quake was never in Alaba Market because I got frustrated by marketers. I couldn’t give up, I mobilised people to sell it for me and I also took them to events. 

Stand up Nigeria and Comedy Quake CDs, what is the difference between them?  

There are three CDs right now, not two. I have “Baba de Baba on Stand Up Nigeria”, which is a video CD of my performances on Stand Up Nigeria. It’s a collection of my first four auditions. Comedy Quake is an audio comedy CD, where I say the truth. There are things a comedian can’t say, maybe on National TV, you don’t want to talk against the government, so they don’t ban the show. Comedy Quake is my show; I say my mind on it. The Part 2 is just out, and it’s very controversial because I talked about the government, churches, how we are having more of fake churches now. I talked about the greed of politicians. So people should go and get it.

How do you feel when comedians repeat jokes?

There is a difference between repeating jokes and recycling jokes. Repeating jokes: it is my joke and not everyone has heard it. Even musicians sing the same songs at different shows, and radio stations play these same songs. Why can’t a comedian repeat jokes? I don’t see anything bad in repeating jokes. The only problem I have is when you are not creative with your jokes. The real problem is comedians stealing other comedians’ jokes. For me, I repeat my jokes, but not to the same audience. Like Stand Up Nigeria, I don’t repeat the same joke, even if it is a different audience. So year after year, it’s new jokes because it’s someone’s show. I don’t repeat jokes in a particular crowd.

What are your plans in the entertainment industry?

I can’t say my plans now. You know say Mammy Water fit buy this newspaper (laughs). But I would talk of what I have done. Comedy Quake Part 2 is out, so go and get it. It talks about serious situations in a humorous way. 

You are a trained journalist, will there ever be a complete switch?

Comedy is my passion, not journalism. I wanted to do a course in production, but registration for that was over, so I was stuck with journalism. It wasn’t my first choice. I’ll be going into journalism very soon, but I won’t drop comedy. Rather than drop comedy, I would forget about journalism.

Did you have any problem with your parents over being a comedian as a village boy?
Yes. The major problem I had was my daddy had never seen a comedian driving a car before or dressing well. You know how parents want you to do a job where they have seen someone else do well or use a car. When I said I wanted to be a comedian, he said “aah aah, which kindyeye work be that?” So they didn’t allow me, but I was stubborn and stuck to it. When I started and would beg for transport fare to a show, they would say, “aah aah, I thought you said you wanted to do this, why are you begging for fare”. Today, my daddy is happy I was stubborn because if I listened to him, he wouldn’t be celebrating me today.

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