Comedian and presenter on Wazobia FM, Kingsley Ndubuokwu, popularly known as Babah Kay, and his wife, Jessica, tell ARUKAINO UMUKORO about their two-year marriage
How did you meet?
Babah Kay: We first met in the university (Delta State University). It was a brief meeting because she later changed university and relocated to Lagos. That was around 2004/2005. We didn’t meet again until in 2013, in church. It happened that both of us attended the same church. After that meeting, we kept communicating with each other and the friendship was rekindled. I later invited her to a couple of my comedy shows. Around October, 2013, we started dating officially. And we got married in January last year (2015).
Jessica: I had only spoken to him once or twice before. So, when I saw him again, I thought the face looked familiar. He invited me to a couple of his events but I couldn’t go because of work. Before then, he was at an event my younger siblings attended, and he referred to me as someone that was ‘posting’ him. I ignored that. But eventually we got to see again.
What attracted you to each other?
Babah Kay: She is a very detailed person. She expresses herself on the spot, and she is natural. A lot of ladies these days pretend and don’t show their real selves and are materialistic. But she is not. I met her when I was practically nobody in the comedy industry. She loved me for who I am.
Jessica: I realised he could do many things that every other guy could do, despite being physically challenged and he showed a lot of good qualities. I had not dated any guy like him before, but he was unique. Also, I didn’t see that inferiority complex one sees in guys with a physical challenge like he had.
When did you decide that you were going to get married to each other?
Babah Kay: Before I met her, I was in a relationship that was almost heading to the altar, but it didn’t work out. I wasn’t thinking marriage at the time, especially as one was still trying to make a name for oneself. But when she came into my life, she put me on a reality check.
Jessica: There was a time that his physical challenge bothered me when we had just started dating. But I later saw beyond that and realised that he had great qualities I desired in a man. Also, I felt at peace with him. Now, I am not bothered about it, it is part of him. I love him the way he is.
How did you propose to her?
Babah Kay: I proposed twice. The first time, she felt it was a joke, because it was a tiny, worthless ring. There was no single gold, diamond or anything ‘plated’ on it. My friends were there and told her I’d planned to propose. I didn’t have the money to buy her an expensive ring. The second time, I got her the ring I had wanted to buy and I made a better proposal. This time, it was more dramatic than the first time.
Jessica: It was funny the first time. The first ring was not even my exact size. We were just kidding him about it being Lord of the Rings, but he said it wasn’t the ring he had planned to give me. The ring was so tight, but I was excited nonetheless. I wore it for some time. When he made the second proposal, he did it with a much more expensive and fitting ring and it was a surprise.
How would you describe your journey as a married couple?
Babah Kay: It has been fun and adventurous. No marriage is perfect; every marriage, like ours, has its peculiar challenges. But the good thing is that for every challenge, we’ve learnt to face and overcome it together. We don’t look at other people’s marriage to define how we would work out ours. From the onset, there was no pretence between us; it was real from the beginning. So, we understood ourselves and our flaws from the start and decided if we were going to proceed with the relationship or not.
Jessica: Our marriage has been interesting, exciting and adventurous. I am a drama queen, but he is calm and also funny. There is no dull moment when we are together. It has been fun.
How did her family react to your plans to marry her?
Babah Kay: Her dad had reservations initially. But from a young age, I had learnt to control myself and ignore what people felt or said about my physical challenge. So, I wasn’t worried, although she was at the time. I told her her father was right to ask questions why his daughter wanted to marry someone that was physically challenged. I told myself I was going to walk my way into his life and leave him with no choice. I kept going to their house for visits. Somehow, we later clicked. I was happy when he finally accepted. My wife had a big role to play in that. Now, we have a wonderful relationship. My in-laws and family are the best one could have wished for.
Jessica: Before we got married, one of our major challenges was my dad’s initial refusal to give his consent. My dad wondered why I wanted to marry him, despite his physical challenge. But my husband was calm about it and was confident that my dad would accept him eventually. My dad is also a fun person and was usually receptive whenever we had visitors in our home. But when I first brought him home, he wasn’t happy. He asked in my language how my husband came to our place, because he didn’t have a car then. I now replied him in Pidgin English that, “He fly come.” I told him that if it was because of his legs he didn’t want me to marry him, then I would also not marry him if his legs eventually became straight and he stopped using crutches. My dad was shocked. After giving him the cold shoulder for a couple of months, he finally accepted him.
Whenever there is a disagreement, who is the first to apologise?
Babah Kay: I apologise first. I have no choice.
Jessica: He apologises first eight out of 10 times.
Do you operate a joint account?
Babah Kay: Yes we do. It is something we agreed on.
Jessica: Yes we do.
What pet names do you call each other?
Babah Kay: I call her ‘babe.’
Jessica: I call him ‘babe’ or ‘Bobo.’
How does it feel like to be married to a comedian?
Jessica: It is fun. He taught me how to relate better with people. He is friends with almost everybody. Whenever we went out, I always saw this people-friendly nature of him. So, I had to teach myself over time. Some people started calling me Mamah Kay before we got married and it has stuck ever since.
What is the most annoying thing she/he has done to you?
Babah Kay: I don’t like it when she withdraws into her shell. My wife, like most women, has mood swings sometimes, and it was hectic for me to deal with it initially, especially when she just switches into one of those moods for no particular reason. Then, I would wonder if I had offended her or if it was something else.
Jessica: I don’t like it when one is talking to him and he just wants to be by himself and does not respond. I am guilty of that at times, but I don’t like it when he does the same. He could also disturb one a lot especially when one would rather be alone.
Do you help with the domestic chores?
Babah Kay: Yes I do, you can ask her (laughs)
Jessica: He does everything, including domestic chores, and he also cooks meals for me once in a while. He knows how to cook spaghetti and stew.
Do you allow third party to help settle your disagreements?
Babah Kay: Yes, that was before our wedding. But in marriage, we don’t allow that. We have learnt to avoid that.
Jessica: No, we don’t.
Why do you think celebrity marriages crash?
Babah Kay: I think it is basically the lack of understanding, patience and endurance. Ali Baba is my role model in the comedy industry, and I have learnt a lot from him, including about marriage. He respects his wife, they have a close friendship and also relate like siblings.
Jessica: Maybe they don’t understand each other enough and pray together. Praying together has helped us.