The name Holy Mallam always rings a bell in the comedy scene but not many know the public figure as Ajibola Adebayo.
The ever young-looking father of two, last weekend at Civic Centre, Victoria Island, in Lagos, rolled out the drums to celebrate his 10th year of ethical comedy. Some, who may have a second thought before putting a face to the name, may argue his long existence in the entertainment but it has really been one decade since he made his entrance into the stand-up comedy scene.
He got into the industry when it was almost saturated with many young, up-coming comedians, who wanted to make a living from a talent people once disregarded. Ajibola realised that being a graduate in communication art from Lagos State University (LASU) and grounded in United States Agency for International Development (USAID) training does not present one with straight certificate to excel in comedy which he left his previous job for. Creativity needed more than a signed paper with a large logo and so in that quest to become a successful, popular comedian, he created the Holy Mallam character. With the new character, a wise semi- illiterate born again Christian who cracks biblical jokes, a little light appeared at the end of the tunnel of his comedy career for this new comic personality was well accepted with shows at his beck and call.
With his every joke having a simple and diluted scriptural meaning and happenings in everyday activity in society, he became a brand that is well respected in the entertainment and corporate world.
The anniversary was a very delightful one for it had the presence of many of his colleagues in the industry like Gordon, Teju Baby Face, J.D, T.A and other young comedians who are fresh in the industry. There were other notable guests and representatives from different corporate organisations that have supported his career over the years.
Also having a rare gift in music, he ushered himself to his guest by playing drums alongside Mike Aremu’s saxophone. A talent, he once stated, he humbly shows off at the church where he worships.
To represent what he is known for in the past 10 years, his welcome speech was humorous. He focused his jokes on his lifestyle transformation from when he started his comedy career till date. Holy Mallam was excited to show off some of his archival pictures when he was still struggling to make it in the industry stressing that the funny-looking images of him as he was poor in those days was part of what shaped him into the man he is today.
The photo slides showed pictures of Holy Mallam in suits which he outrightly regarded as ‘coat’ because they were bigger than his frame while he differentiated it with the tuxedo that he was wearing at the event.
The humble but very corporate comedian had a special recognition session where he personally gave out awards to individuals and organisations, who in every little form, supported him from the day he ventured into comedy and event compere. The award had simple categories from people who gave him his first office accommodation, his first phone down to people who just introduced him to reputable organisations and individuals that helped shoot him to the top. Many might see the kind gesture these people gave him as little but it meant the world to him especially at the starting point of his career. Some of the awardees are Pastor Seyi Durojaiye, Evangelist Darlington, who introduced him to Nestle Food where he got his first corporate event, Dr Livi Ajuonoma, Pastor Ituah Ighodalo, Soni Irabo, Alibaba to name a few.
In his closing speech, he expressed profound gratitude to God, his friends and family for making out time to be part of his memorable anniversary.
The event also had some music and dance performances from a popular teenage dance group known as Xplicit as the guest wined and dined.