An exponent of Gandoki and his reality genre of jokes, extremely humorous and hilarious PH comedian, Baba Funky in this interview with Precious Werner Ahiakwo talks about his views on the comedy industry and his recent attempt to break into the music industry.
What is your name?
My name is Baba Funky, TPC, The people's comedian. The one and only man close to the suck away, where there is money.
What are your experiences on comic expedition?
Right from when I started, I was moved and motivated by people I see. I mean people like Basketmouth especially Gandoki, he's like a father to me in the world of comedy. I believe in him so much, especially from the aspect of reality jokes because I also do reality jokes
Before we talk about the reality dichotomy, how do you define jokes?
Jokes! It might be a word from someone that makes you happy. It is capable of changing your mood. Let's take it from the angle that we know it, which is comedy. Comedy is a motivating factor that facilitates ones mood from sadness to happiness. It is also capable of uplifting someone who's already in a joyful mood to another level where one begins to show-off his 94 teeth.
So what's with the reality jokes?
Reality jokes are jokes built from what one sees, everyday events that happens. For instance, in Rivers State the governor has banned motorcycles. He has also proceeded to ban other things. One can actually build a joke from that. Like if tomorrow, the governor says that nobody should put on trousers again, no matter the profession one is inclined to. Then imagine a Calabar Policeman on the highway attired on his traditional outfit, the george, hats with beads and is still carrying a machine gun. Also imagine that a Kalabari man is in the same shoe. There are endless things one can imagine. Like today, when you go to the police station, you rarely see Policemen again because they now have new stations which is now in every junction, its called,check point junction. You can go into the police station today to make a report, my brother; you would shout in and shout out.
So what actually endeared you to reality joking?
It started in 1997, when I was with my brother who went out to see a friend. They had gone to watch football. His friend got involved in a fight with two boys and my father was supposed to help his friend over power his attackers. Instead, he ran away because his friend was stabbed at the back. He boarded a vehicle from that location all the way to the house and then broke a bottle at sight and started looking for another bus that would convey him back to the venue of the fight. And everyone in the compound kept pleading with him to calm down even though even though we knew that the location was far and that he would almost do nothing. That was one occurrence that triggered me into doing reality comedy. Another typical example takes place in the family daily. You know that when our parents lie to us, we hardly challenge them. All we can do is to keep the truth in our heart if not they will kill us, especially those mothers that know how to beat very well. My father was scolding me once and exclaimed, You young boys of today are too lazy, when I was your age, I used to fetch water from Ughelli to Warri, I used to carry it on my head. I unknowingly screamed, Chou!. My mother asked what the problem was and I replied, People get mind oh. That was a very strong lie. Consider the distance between Ughelli and Warri, then talk of one carrying jerry can on the head through that distance because he wants to patch his knickers. These are natural things that happens everyday.
Are you still in school?
Yes. I am a final year student of the department of theatre arts in the University of Port Harcourt. I am supposed to be winding-up now, but for the incessant strike actions and militant attacks. No student would want to go and study at a location where his or her life would not be secured.
Speaking of violence and the latest militants attack to your school, what would advise the government to do in order to arrest the situation?
If they had an agreement with these boys, let them fulfil it, simple. When you offer a dog bones with flesh and while it is eating you then take it away, it chases you. I think that's exactly hat is happening. The government is doing those boys long throat. If the government should do what they promised them, they would at least be free from such wild life. Remember that they weren't always like this, they learnt it. They started it. Hence there is the possibility of them changing. It can be stopped.
I heard your music on radio recently, are you now also a musician?
My guy na hustling oh! Like if you listen to my name, Efe Nwabueze. Now, my father is from Delta State, Urhobo to be precise, while my mother is from Rivers. What I did is to mixed names from the two tribes because I do not know from which part, God will endow me with greatness. So I have this inspiration of singing. Sometimes I look for the inspiration for comic songs, but I rarely get them. What I get mostly is gospel songs for praising God. That's how came about the Ome nma song. So called my friends like Skallah wee to help me. Julius Agwu has called this genre of music, Musicom which means Music enriched with comedy. That I sing does not mean that I cannot continue with comedy.
How many songs have you done?
Three songs, though I want to re-do one. They are Ngozi mo, Time to hamar and the Ome nma song. The complete album should be out sometime next year. I want to re-do the time to hamar with Dem mama soldiers.
Aside from music and comedy with schooling, what else occupies your time?
I study theatre arts not just for study sake. I am into stage construction. I was in the Abuja carnival for construction and design. Even at last years carniriv, I did construction and also did some performance on stage.
Are you married or into any relationship?
I am not, but I am hoping to do so very soon.
Like in ten years time.
Wouldn't you have grown white hairs in 10 years time?
I do not think so.
Why get married in 10 years time?
I want to be quite comfortable be marrying. You that when one is married, he needs a lot of focus. It is not compulsory that one should rush into marriage. You could rush into it and rush out like one having a running stomach. Such person would rush back again. So I first want to garner the cash and fame.
How do you relate with your female fans?
Well some like to come around to tell you how much they like my performance and act. I usually thank them and tell them to call me when they have job for me. That's all.
Do you also aspire for political offices like some of your colleagues in the industry?
Like I told you earlier, it's all about hustling. Anyone that comes my way is God's favour. If it comes through that means, my, I will appreciate him.
The comedy industry in PH appears to be on an upward course in recent times, wha's the secret?
I think the prominent men and companies are just beginning to wake from their slumber. It is not that Lagos is better than PH. It's just that Lagos has prominent individuals who are concerned about entertainment. They like to open record studios. They like host shows and discovering talents. But in PH, it is very rare. Everyone is thinking about oil money and oil companies. They are just about waking up to their responsibilities