Warri-born fast rising comedian, Bowoto Jephta, a.k.a Akpororo has been tipped as the next thing in the comedy business in Nigeria. His own brand of comedy is infectious; his humour hits you hard as intended. He does not require any script as he manufactures his humour on the spot, from the objects and people around him. In this interview with Entertainment Rave Newspapers (www.eraveng.com), he talks about his career, life and his past experience caring for lunatics.
How will you describe the state of your career at the moment?
I won’t say I’m at the top right now because I still have a lot to offer but I thank God for everything. Things have really changed compared to when I started.What are the things working for your brand?
I will say it is the grace of God upon my life, the gift of life, the gift to sing , dance and make people laugh.
What is the greatest thing you’ve achieved so far in your career?
My career has opened a lot of doors for me. At the moment, I get access easily into areas I couldn’t before now and easy access to top influential personalities too.
What are your winning principles?
Like I said earlier, it’s the grace of God. When I started comedy, I just prayed to God to give me the anointing most of these men of God have. I know some men of God that do preach during the weekly services and Sundays as well and you enjoy their messages in all. So I told God I want to be like these anointed people and he just said I should keep praising him and I kept praising him and he did it for me.
As a young comedian, what are the things you are looking forward to?
As a young comedian, one of the things I’m looking forward to is to win souls and also to see myself on top. Anytime they call my name anywhere around the world, people should easily recognize who I am.
How would you define a real comedian?
You define real comedians by their personalities, what they have to offer and the content of their jokes. In the industry, what they look out for is your second line of jokes. If you come out with five new jokes and people like it, they will wait for your second line which is the next five jokes. That’s when they will know your quality. Same thing happen with some musicians too. They will drop singles and then drop an album but after that, you might not hear from them again. So, a real comedian is known by what you have to offer, the content of your jokes, how you create and deliver them.
So far in your career, what has been the greatest challenge you have faced?
My greatest challenge bothers on payment. Some of our clients just need to increase the money because we are really trying especially those old clients who keep telling you not to forget how they encouraged you in the early days. They need to understand that as you grow, the money should also increase.
What is the greatest discouragement when you started comedy?
I started music before I ventured into comedy actually. My greatest challenge then was how I would get the platform to showcase my talent. It got to a point where I said I need to go for comedy competitions which I don’t really like in the first place. So I went into the National Comedy Challenge by Opa Williams and I won the Calabar zone. We came to Lagos for the final but I wasn’t picked as the overall winner. Later, I heard about the AY Open Mic, I went there the first time and I came second. I tried my luck the second time and I won. I got my breakthrough last two years at Basket Mouth’s Laff and Jam in Ikoyi. I did a joke about a mad man who went to church to give a testimony, people liked it and it was then that most of my senior colleagues started inviting me to their own shows.
What inspires your jokes?
The word of God inspires my jokes because I’m a church boy. I’m in the choir and I have a mass choir like 80-90 people in Okokomaiko. I don’t joke with the word of God which explains why most of my jokes are about the men of God and church.
How do you come about your comic madness?
The mad man jokes actually came from mad men. There was a time my pastor do ask me to take mad men to bathroom and toilet and you know, to communicate to a mad man, you need to act like a mad man. So after some years when I started comedy, my mind just went back to that time and I started sharing my experiences with mad men. I have never been mad before and I don’t pray to be because it’s not a good thing. So people should stop thinking funny (laughs).
Why will your pastor ask you to look after mad men?
In my church, we do heal mad men. After the prayers, it gets to a point where they will call on someone to take care of them, like taking them to bathroom and all that. That was how I started interacting with them. So when I started comedy, I just said to myself, let me behave like a mad man and talk about them. Though some comedians do talk like a mad man but they don’t behave like them and that’s why I’m different from them.
What inform your looks?
I’m called the comedian with too much swagger and too much anointing. One of the things I want to bring out is that you can still serve God and have swag at the same time. I always wanted to do something new and different and that’s why I do dress like an artiste. I tell the musicians too that anything they wear, I will wear. If that’s what is bringing them money, then I will follow suit.
In comedy, who are those you are looking up to?
I will say the likes of Gordons, I Go Dye, AY, Basket Mouth and all my senior colleagues in the industry but my mentors are Gandoki and Gordons.
What should we expect from the album that you are working on?
I’m coming out with a 8-tracker album titled ‘Tight Am O’. I did 4 worship songs, one reggae, two traditional songs and one makossa. I have shot a video and by the grace of God, the album will be out before the end of October 2013.
How did you come about the stage name, Akpororo?
There was a day I was abusing a guy in the church and I said ‘you wey your head look like Akpororo’. My Bishop just looked at me and said why don’t you change your name from Holy Son to Akpororo? I didn’t argue and since then it has been Akpororo.
How emotional is Akpororo?
I’m very emotional like every normal person. For the fact that I’m doing mad man jokes doesn’t mean am not human. I’m a normal human being and I also get emotional.
How would you describe your love life?
I have a girlfriend and we are taking it step by step. I’m not searching.
Any plan to walk down the aisle soon?
I’m still young and I don’t need to rush into anything now. I will do that at the right time.
What should we expect from you in the nearest future?
My major show, ‘Akpororo Live’ will come up next year in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Benin, Ghana and London. Akpororo live on stage will be hundred percent comic madness.
Is there anything working against your brand at the moment?
Whatever that is, the grace of God upon my life raises me above them all. I don’t think about enemies and that’s why I tell people that they don’t need to talk about the devil too much because it will look as if you are glorifying him. Just forget about the devil and praise God. The Lord said I will prepare a table before you in the presence of your enemy. So if there is no enemy, in presence of who will He prepare the table