Interview With Nkem Awoh, About Character Preparation, His Music and more…

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Recently, the African Movie indus­try has seen a sig­nif­i­cant surge in the pop­u­lar­ity of African films  around the world. This is mainly due to the amaz­ing tal­ents of some of Nigeria’s finest actors. One notable Actor who has made an impact is Nkem Owoh. He has secured for him­self a mas­sive fan base from the liv­ing rooms of Lon­don to the countryside’s of Free­town.  Nkem Owoh is a Niger­ian come­dian and movie actor. His name, Nkem, means, My own. He starred in the 2003 film Osuofia in Lon­don.

In 2004 Owoh was one of sev­eral actors who was tem­porar­ily banned from
appear­ing in movies by Nigeria’s Asso­ci­a­tion of Movie Mar­keters and Pro­duc­ers, who argued that the actors demanded exces­sive fees and unrea­son­able con­tract demands.

There have been rumors of Nkem Owoh being paid 1.75 mil­lion Naira ($14,000 US Dol­lars) for this film, although in real­ity he may have earned sub­stan­tially more than that, con­sid­er­ing his pop­u­lar­ity and that the movie was filmed across two con­ti­nents.

He is also known for per­form­ing the song  “I Go Chop Your Dol­lar” about advance fee fraud. The song was fea­tured in the film The Mas­ter in which Owoh plays a scammer. The Eco­nomic and Finan­cial Crimes Com­mis­sion and the Niger­ian Broad­cast­ing Com­mis­sion banned the song. Below is an excerpts of an interview with the comedian.

How has it been so far?

There has been the neg­a­tive and the pos­i­tive sides. It’s like every other thing in life. I believe once you have the zeal and God gives you the health, you have to forge ahead. When­ever I meet the hill I believe I have to climb the hill and that’s life. So I just take this indus­try and what God has given me and I thank God for the spe­cial tal­ent which I never rec­og­nized, until peo­ple started rec­og­niz­ing in me. Now, when I look back­wards I always feel I have
some­thing that peo­ple love and I am happy and I thank God for that.

Com­edy in Nige­ria

Com­edy was intro­duced at the incep­tion of this branch of art as slap­stick. At that time, you would come across peo­ple putting on funny glasses, like the one I am putting on. I am the only per­son autho­rized to wear a sun­shade at night. You see peo­ple try­ing to whip up laugh­ter from dif­fer­ent sit­u­a­tions. But now we have grad­u­ated to a level that you can really make peo­ple laugh even if you are putting on suit. If God gives you a gift, it is not an easy thing. I talk, you laugh. I don’t know how I do it, some­times. I am embar­rassed.
A long time ago, I was asked to say the prayer at a func­tion and I said in Jesus name and peo­ple started laugh­ing. I take my prayers very seri­ously and I became very embar­rassed. You see there are good and bad sides to those things. Any­thing you say, you wouldn’t be taken seri­ous even when you are dis­cussing seri­ous issues. It hurts when such treat­ment is meted to you. But I think it is more on the pos­i­tive side.

Most paid comic actor

I haven’t said that I am the high­est paid. It depends on what you mean by pay­ment. I feel very happy as one of the high­est paid comic actors, and I am not com­plain­ing.

Embar­rass­ing moment

It depends on your def­i­n­i­tion of embar­rass­ment. What you might con­sider embar­rass­ing to you might not be embar­rass­ing to me. Except when you begin to go into my fail­ures in life that’s when I get embar­rassed. But if you are talk­ing about every­day life, I don’t get embar­rassed eas­ily. I might, I don’t know. May be along the line as some­body might do some­thing. I have not seen or heard before and be embar­rassed.

Stronger than pain

It went like any other movie. We are not act­ing for our­selves, but for the peo­ple. The crit­ics and view­ers’ opin­ions deter­mined the qual­ity of the film. Act­ing with Kate Hen­shaw was fan­tas­tic. Kate is some­one who has a mea­sure of the char­ac­ter­is­tics I have. So we blended, it was nice and the film came out fine.

Niger­ian movie indus­try

The indus­try is very big and heavy. The thing is that we stay here and do not know the weight of this indus­try because prob­a­bly every body knows the other per­son in the indus­try. But when you go out­side the shores of this coun­try even out­side your state, you could see the impact we have been mak­ing not only in Africa but around the world. I am talk­ing from expe­ri­ence.

Worst day

The worst day in my life is when I will make peo­ple laugh too much. I don’t like mak­ing peo­ple overdo things. I don’t think I have ever had a worse day. I am a per­son who believes that the world is like that. You go up and down. If I have some­thing peo­ple could describe as the worst, I have hope that I can always sur­mount it.

Between fam­ily life and act­ing

It’s very tough thing to do but by the grace of God we are try­ing to marry every­thing together.

The Hol­land expe­ri­ence

I was not arrested in Hol­land last year. It was a kind of expe­ri­ence that left a bit­ter taste in my mouth. For a bonafide cit­i­zen of a rec­og­nized coun­try to enter another coun­try and peo­ple saw him as a sec­ond class cit­i­zen. I was there and their police came in their num­bers about one hun­dred of them. They came in their ambu­lance, on air, police dogs and all that. They told me to end the show. I told the man it’s unfair. I told them that if I was the per­son they were look­ing for, they should take me, but should not embar­rass the audi­ence. The man said no and that caused my anger. After that, we arranged and staged a demon­stra­tion to relate my own side of the story. If that was the option left to us, I don’t think we were wrong in fol­low­ing it. Nobody arrested me the way it was reported.

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