Comedy has helped me understand people more – Gbenga Adeyinka

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He is one comedian who gets you cracking. He was just Gbenga Adeyinkabut today he is Gbenga Adeyinka 1st GCON. He chats about critics, challenges, what it takes to be a good comedian, why being an MC is more appealing to him than being a comedian, why he left a full time job for comedy and many more.

Can you give us a brief about your person?
Gbenga Adeyinka: Honestly, I don’t know how to start this, but I would simply put it this way. I was born Gbenga Adeyinka.  I’m a typical Abeokuta man from Ogun State and studied English on the   campus of University of Lagos. I worked briefly with my uncle’s engineering firm before I rediscovered myself in the world of arts. Thus, I rechristened myself and became Gbenga Adeyinka 1st, afterwards, I became Gbenga Adeyinka 1st CFR and now Gbenga Adeyinka 1st GCON. I guess that sums it all up.
Describe yourself in three words
That I would say again is a hard task but if there were three words to sum myself up, I would say, charismatic, God fearing and eloquent.
Tell us about your experience on your first performance on stage?
My first performance would actually be on the campus of University of Lagos as a student but then it was simply just one of those things and outside the campus, I would say my appearance on TV, where I had to make an impressive statement and you won’t believe it but some of those I made an impression on still call me for jobs till date.
How did comedy start for you?
Comedy for me is more like an everyday thing; I only discovered it on the campus of University of Lagos after which I went professional. It’s something that comes naturally to me, I try not to force it because you don’t make a lasting impression. When it comes naturally,  it’s always a sterling performance.
When did you know it was something you wanted to do in life professionally?
I worked in my uncle’s engineering firm after I left UNILAG, but after a while, I felt I wasn’t enjoying my job. It was the regular 9-5 for me and I wanted more and that was when I met Akin Akindele and later Tee A, the rest as they say is history.
You have been in the industry for years now; what is the best thing about your job?
The ability to make different individuals from different tribes and walks of life listen to you, make you their focus, and get their attention and at the end getting paid and commendation for it.
As a comedian, what do you struggle for most in your profession?
I doubt if there is a particular thing I struggle for. I’m talking for and on behalf of Gbenga Adeyinka 1st GCON. I think if there is, it would be the kingdom of God like everybody else. People have the impression we struggle to be noticed in the industry, but it is not true. We are as important and relevant as any other segment in the industry.
Do you think   performing comedy over the years has helped you to better understand human nature, behavior, or the way people work and think?
You have just asked a question that captures my experiences since I started the art of comedy and majorly MC. I understand people more, I know when someone wants to get noticed, I know when people get over-zealous, I understand government officials, politicians, elites, regular man on the street, a housewife, a maid and quite a lot. I can tell you that it is a topic I can discuss for over three hours and give various examples from my experiences.
You are also a producer, special commentator and more. So truly, you are a renaissance man. Which of these ¬interests means the most to you?
Renaissance you say…hmmm, okay oooh, na una talk am oooh but you missed out one big part of me, MC. And I would tell you for free that being MC interests me more because as an MC, you can be a comedian, social and special commentator all in one, but as a comedian, you can only be asked to keep people laughing for few minutes.
After all these years in the limelight, how do you deal with critics who always see comedians as no good?
Are they still individuals who see comedians and MC as no do good people? I doubt if there is and if there is then they are still living in the Stone Age. I mean in this era when people urge their kids to sing, act, play football and do comedy because such kids now bring glory to the family, someone now comes out to say comedians are no good? Like I said, I doubt if such people exist and if they do, it’s only a pity.
What do you think is the most important  challenge facing comedians today in the society, especially Nigeria?
Lack of depth and inability to research and redefine your art always. I’m not saying I’m the funniest in Nigeria, but I can tell you an experience or an opportunity to see me in my elements would sure leave an interesting and sweetened taste in your memory. That said, I have also noticed that almost anybody and everybody wants to be a comedian and that is fine by me, but some of these young boys don’t even have good command of   English. They so much depend on delivering in pidgin, I’m not so against that either, but how do you thrill guests in Soweto, Burkina Faso or Islington or New York or Holland? To make a mark as a comedian in the industry, you have to have strong command of English Language.
Do you feel you have got your due in the industry?
All I would say is I’m happy and content with where and what God has done for me, I know he’s taking me further.
If you were to advice those who aspire to develop their comic acts either through writing or performing, what would you say to them?
Get basic education first, it’s important and paramount because it would at the long run help you even if you become the biggest in Nigeria. Be sure you are gifted, try out your talent with audiences that range from your family members, friends, school gathering, then you can pursue your dream to the zenith.
We all know the importance of mentors and people whose greatness inspires us. Who were your great motivators?
My mother, late Mrs. Adunni Adeyinka, Martin Luther King, Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
You have so many wonderful things on your plate; what’s next for you? What comedy adventures do you plan for in the near future?
I like bringing out things from the pack like a typical magician, thus I like keeping things under wraps so it comes as a surprise but one thing I’ve done over the years is my popular annual comedy, arts and music festival jamboree tagged, Laffmattazz with Gbenga Adeyinka 1st and friends always expect that plus I’m coming to hit TV soon with an unprecedented sitcom.
Tell us something we don’t know about you.
I bet you don’t know I fart…seriously, I bet you don’t know two of my children are in the University as we speak.
Who is your favorite comedian?
My greatest comedian of all time is Bill Cosby; he does it so effortlessly you don’t even differentiate his act from his art or his real person.
Best piece of advice have you gotten?
Never give up on anything you do because if you have the power to think it, you can achieve it and that was from my late mum.
 What is your motto in life?
Live and Let’s live because In God we all trust.
Tell us about your most embarrassing moment on the job?
I have had quite a number but the most recent was in the United Kingdom for the Nigerian Corner of the Nottinghill Carnival and one of the performers, a female was dressed in such attire that left me bewildered. While pondering what convinced her to dress in such attire, a photographer caught my gaze and many people wondered if I was actually looking at something else.
What questions are you always asked and are tired of answering?
Are you the Gbenga Adeyinka on TV?
Seriously!
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