How Ali Baba Came To Be Regarded As The King Of Nigeria Comedy…
Ever sat down to watch a standup comedy show or even a comical event only to see the host of that event and even other fellow top-notch comedians giving tribute and acknowledging Ali Baba as the King of comedy and you begin to question yourself and all the laughter you’ve had for your favorite comedian and skit makers…
I was once in your position and I was like ha ha shey all the ‘’e shock you’’ of broad shaggi is a joke to you ni, abi the ‘’Nike, hammer my nipple’’ of Mc Lively, or that of even Akpororo, Kenny Blaq, Ay comedian and all other notable prestigious comedians we’ve ever known.
“Why you go rate someone I barely see on my screens than those I can’t but help watch their skits every day because of their highly professional and humorous acts?”
So, I couldn’t really just sit there and that’s what prompted me to do my research. Hence, why you are reading this piece of writing.
SO, WHO ON EARTH IS ALI BABA AND IS HOW ON EARTH IS HE FUNNIER THAN OUR MAINSTREAM FAVOURITE COMEDIANS ON INSTAGRAM AND EVENT SHOWS?
Well, you’d be getting your answers in few mins, at least 4 mins of read. SO, take a breath and read along amigo.
Ali Baba goes by the name Atunyota Alleluya Akpobome, he was born in Warri, Delta State, Nigeria born on 24 June 1965 into the royal family of Agbarha Otor. He’s the first son of several children and he spent his first 8 years in Warri.
His Secondary education was at Ibru College, Agbarho-Otor and he acquired his University degree at the former Bendel State University now known as the Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma. Alli Baba read Religious Studies & Philosophy.
So, I guess I should cut it shut with the historical background yen yen yen story and go straight to the point. I know you didn’t come here solely for that so no vex comrade. So, let’s get on to unveiling the easter eggs.
Ali baba unlike most individuals didn’t grow up wanting to be the Nigeria don of Nigeria comedy in fact he had pluralities of career he wanted to pursue as a youngling; a Formula 1 speed racer, teacher, story teller and even a broadcaster. To even burst your bubbles, he didn’t think of himself as being funny or having thoughts of pursuing comedy while growing up but as fate would have it, the storyline changed.
It is worthy to know that although being recognized and referred as the King of Nigeria comedy he didn’t introduce the profession in Nigeria however he was the first to make It work, standard and a prospect of profession to forever be reckoned with.
In the 1980s, the late MC John Chukwu (JC Class) attempted to make comedy a viable business, but he failed and died impoverished. Because he never realized his dream, many people thought of the late Mc as a clown.
But then, comedy did not become serious business until Alleluia Atunyota Akporobomeriere, came on the scene. He had done his first show in 1988, at the pavilion of then Bendel State University, Ekpoma, for a paltry fee of fifty naira only. Ali Baba dared the odds of negative public perceptions to have a breakthrough in comedy.
Alibaba Hicuppuray 3rd was the name of the company he founded in 1993. The firm’s initial goal was to improve comedians’ image as a profession and a respectable way of life. He hired billboards on major Lagos streets with the tagline “Being Funny is Serious Business” five years later in 1998 as part of this work. This later went a long way toward raising the bar for Nigerian comedians and paving the way for others.
He narrated his ordeal that it was hard making Nigerians see Stand Up comedy as a busines rather than a trivial thing of periphery acts. Ali Baba recalled that, “the appreciation level then was very low or non-existent because, a comedian was last on the list of an event planner and the first to go if they decided to cut cost.
But with the situations of things now, it is unarguable one of the activities that makes Nigeria, at least a worthy place to live amidst all the tensions and upheavals in the country because of the cruise and humorous acts of comedians all over our social platforms. All of us sha want to laugh, atleast our Number 1 citizen can’t ban that.
It is widely believed that Ali Baba ushered a new order in Nigeria where Comedians began to be taken seriously. Today’s comedians are revered because they are raking in billions of dollars while fulfilling their dreams. They are now wealthy, well-known, and live in extravagance, just like their Western counterparts.
Hence, it of sheer importance of notice to know that Ali Baba is the forerunner of standup comedy in Nigeria as well as the richest comedian in Africa. Yes, he’s the richest comedian in Africa, charging about 10 million naira plus for a cooperate comedy performance and have a net worth estimated around 6 -10 Billion naira
The Nigerian populace and show organizers both endorsed standup comedy as a result of his efforts. People who previously would not have spent a dime now pay millions of naira to have their events spiced up with hilarious comedy.
Ali Baba has been a professional standup comedian for the past 30 years and has received several awards. The following are some of his numerous awards;
• Outstanding Performance of laughter Awards 2001
• Immense contribution to the comedy Industry 2002
• Achievers Merit Award 2003 skills
• Icon of comedy, Pendulum Awards Lasu NAPS 2004
• Icon of Comedy, First Nigeria Entertainment Awards 2004
• Comedy Enterprise, National Comedy Awards 2005
• Recognition of solid support to young entrepreneurs, Lasu 2006
• Contribution to the entertainment industry at the City People Entertainment 2006
• Enablers Merit Award 2007
• Diamond Award for Comedy 2008
• Comedian of the Decade, National Duty Awards 2009
• Contribution to the entertainment industry at the City People Entertainment 2009
• Comedy for Change, In commemoration with his 20years on stage 2010
In 2009, he was inducted into the Johnnie Walker “Striding Man” club, which honors men who have made significant progress in their chosen industries.
Also, He was the first comedian to ring the Nigerian Stock Exchange’s year-end closing bell in 2012.
Although not present and active in the mainstream comedy shows and activities, he has made sure to supports, mentors and presents several comedians helping to ensure that standards are maintained and professionalism encouraged.
Most of his comedy acts are now coperate, where he gets invited personally to entertain the big dons in all other spheres of the economy and all over the world in their private spaces.
Hence, it no longer a thing of amusement to recognize Ali Baba as the King of Nigeria Comedy, for he had set the path for comedy to be accepted and considered as a paid business show. Most shows today, now want a skit maker or comedian to be part of their course of activities, so as to keep the audience riled up and fully entertained. All these could happen because of Ali Baba.
And yes, maybe someone else could have done if he hadn’t made his move in the 1990s but whichever the case maybe, comedy in Nigeria is where it is today in this part of the world because of Ali baba as well as the immense contribution of other comedians in evolving with what they were given to make better of the profession.
I guess after it all, we’d no longer be fused with sheer shock or unbelief whenever is given much recognition and credence to in all other comedy shows.
Thanks to me for not wasting 5mins of your time. Oh! that’s a slip of thought, I meant thanks for being an amazing reader on this beautiful day!