INTERVIEW: I would have been a footballer –Bovi

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 Stand-up comedian, Bovi Ugboma, is an actor, a writer and producer. He discusses his career and competition in the industry

You are one of the multi-talented few in the industry…

When people ask me what I do, I say I am an entertainer. I am an actor, writer and a comedian. I produce my own TV show as well and I am going into films soon. Everything I have been writing, I keep for myself except for a few.

Does this have anything to do with your background?

Bovi

Possibly. I studied Theatre Arts at the Delta State University. After graduation in 2002, I headed to the Nigerian Television Authority, Lokoja for the one-year compulsory National Youth Service Corps.

You were once the personal assistant to Richard Mofe-Damijo

Interestingly, I met him in a rather unusual way. I wanted to sell a movie script and I went to his office. I was trying to convince him to buy when he showed me more than 30 scripts lying fallow in his office.  Somehow, we bonded and he offered me the job of a personal assistant, which I accepted on the spot. He taught me the business side of entertainment. It was in his office I learnt how to write proposals, meet clients and branding. We are still very close and he is more or less my father.

Why did you host a one –man show?

I think every comedian deserves an opportunity to entertain his audience at a full stretch. The norm in the industry now is that people host shows and feature so many artistes. In as much as it is a good thing, a comedian should be able to hold the attention of his audience for as long as possible.  One-man shows are not common in this part of the world but I pulled it off successfully.

How do you get inspiration for your jokes?

I draw content from social happenings, both past and present. I do a lot of satire. I pick on a particular issue and try to make light of it while still passing a very strong message.

Comedians are known to steal jokes from their colleagues. Do you do that?

There is a lot of recycling going on in the industry. There are jokes that are famous and we have seen up to eight people, tell the same joke. As a result, in most cases, people cannot tell who the originator of the joke is and comedians hide under that guise to repeat the joke during their performances. It is a matter of time before the practice is curbed but luckily, people hardly tell my jokes. I do not have an issue with people telling my jokes at private gigs, but it becomes an issue is when it is recorded to be broadcast.

So who are your role models?

I learn one or two things from different comedians including the up and coming. Basketmouth is my very good friend and he is one of the few people who saw what I was capable of before the world saw it. He gave me a lot of gigs and we think alike. We have our differences, we argue but our connection is very brotherly.

Alibaba is another person I respect; he was the one who told me I had the talent to do stand-up comedy.

Who do you consider your competitors in the industry?

I am my greatest competitor and I have always held my own. I am not even threatened by emerging competition because I think its better we have these people come on board instead of engaging in some illegal venture. Even if stand-up comedy does not work for them, they might through trial and error discover something else that will work for them. Almost everything in Nigeria has a bandwagon effect but the industry will filter itself.

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