years old. I am the second of five children – three girls and two boys —
of my dad, Ali Baba, and my mum. I am currently doing my A levels and
will be going to the university next year.
My parents are really close and they are
literally best friends. It’s a family joke, it’s so funny, but maybe
people outside might not necessarily do. We go to our parents when they
lovey-dovey and we ask them, ‘oh, do you want to go out with me, do you
want to take me here, do you want to do this or that, etc,’ and my mum
just turns and says, “Don’t spoil a happy home.” She says it in a funny
age I was then, but I didn’t realise my dad was actually a comedian
until much later. Now that I know what he does for a living, I am really
proud and I feel extremely privileged. He is my mentor and role model.
It’s a privilege to have someone like him so close to look up to. I see
the things he and mum have done and achieved, and it makes me want to
surpass what they have done. They’ve set the standard and raised the
best friend than a father. He doesn’t just tell me to read my books, do
this and do that, he is always there for me. In school, when something
is bugging me, I could just pick up the phone and call him up, knowing
he is going to be at the other end. He is a devoted father and is one of
the most pleasant and creative minds I know. He is always there every
single time I’m stuck or have some sort of block; he is always there to
give me that little push, that motivation. He inspires me.
probably thinks he is 25 or 26, but he is not. At times, when I greet
him in English, or in our local dialect, he could reply with,
“Whattagwan, daughter, what’s good, how’re you doing?” The kind of
things you don’t expect to hear from a 51-year-old father. It’s funny.
jokes for several hours. I can’t remember how many hours but I think he
broke his own record. I was watching the Youtube videos when someone
pointed it out to me. But I remember attending one of his shows that
really stood out for me — his January 1 show. It is so different from
others, I have never been to such a show; the concept is unique. There
is this thing he started, where he gets some people from a certain
industry; they sit round and talk about recent events or people. I
noticed it in the first edition, and people from other comedy shows
started picking up on it. Nowadays in comedy shows, one would notice
that a photo or someone that has been in the news recently, say
President Buhari, is projected and they talk about it; then they project
another one and so on and talk about it spontaneously. I think he’s the
one that started that at his January 1 shows.
to discipline someone just because he is in a bad mood, no. He is a
reasonable person. If he is going to discipline you, he would explain it
to you and give you reasons why what you did was wrong, and you are
convinced about it.
the past now. Back in the day, he was not that type. But then, he has a
belt collection, probably close to a 100 belts. And the thickness of the
belt depended on the severity of one’s punishment (laughs). Back then,
sometimes one would be like, “Oh, I haven’t seen this particular belt
about. But it is not something he holds a grudge about. He would easily
forgive the person, and with some sort of humour. But if it is something
he needs to be stern about, he would be and then sort it out.
the value of gratitude. He always reminds us of where he is coming from.
He comes from a humble beginnings and he worked hard to get to where he
remember him telling me at a time when I was worried about work and
what I wanted to be in the future, and he said to me, “I studied law, I
have a law degree, but I am a comedian.” He was really saying to me,
that “you don’t know where you are going to be tomorrow, so just make
the most of it, do what you love, do what will make you happy, not what
will appease everyone around you.”
general, of course comedy, dance, music, art sketches – he is really
good with pencil and pen sketches/drawings; he loves reading a lot. In
his library, he has all the collections of National Geographic. I don’t
know anyone else that has the full collection. He also has the full
collection of Readers Digest. He has so many books in his library.
pioneers of stand-up comedy as an industry in Nigeria, and has mentored
several other comedians in their journeys. What does he say about this?
see, it shows the kind of person he is, he wants the growth of the
industry and to help people with so much potential. He loves sharing
ideas with great minds. He is very creative, innovative and spontaneous;
he even has a show called spontaneity. So, when he sees someone that is
also creative, he just has this drive to help them grow.
family. For example, he has a radio show between 2pm to 4pm. Just
recently, he called me up after his show at the radio station and asked
me to come join him. Yes, he is a social person and hangs out with his
friends, people, but he always gets us involved. So, sometimes, I would
hang out with him and his friends and we would just drive around Lagos.
movies. He loves watching movies. He is a movie critic. He watches a
very wide range of movie genres; from comedy, action, adventure, romance
and so on.
was a serious athlete when he was in secondary school and the
university. He used to run the 100m and 200m events. I think he stopped
when he had a knee injury. Nowadays, every year during the school sports
days, he is out to get the first place medal in the 100m for the dads. I
think he uses that to remind himself that he’s capable. During these
sports days, while other dads were just chilling and flexing, one would see him by himself at a corner stretching and warming up getting ready for the race!
morning, he walks and jogs around. The other day, he walked from Lekki
to Ikoyi and back. I was surprised. Sometimes, he does the most random
industry. I think his legacy is that he opened the door and made the way
for others to jump in and follow. I believe the incredible growth of
the industry is as a result of how he went about his work.
you have rice, groundnut, pepper soup, or beans or something, he would
mix everything together and eat it. He could just decide to eat a funny
mixture of food.
consideration and think about how he would go about it in a different
way. But if he realises that the person is obviously overreacting, he
would just go his way. He is a comedian, it is his job.
house was always full and I loved it. There was always something
exciting happening at home. One could just wake up in the house and find
everyone arguing or discussing about something which is funny.
the family, but that is really not always the case. Yes, he could be
funny; everyone finds him much funnier than we do, but my mum is the
funny one in the family. With us, dad is more like the intellectual man.
The things he says to us are more intellectual than being funny or just
joking around. He has some of the most incredible ideas; he is
extremely spontaneous. But, I wouldn’t call him the ‘comedian’ in the
family; I would say it is my mum.
friend’,’ and that is exactly what they did. One just watches them
sometimes and they never have a dull moment. They still have fire in
them. When my dad and mum come back from work, one could see them all
lovey-dovey. It’s literally still young love. They are still very much
in love and spend much time together. They never run out of things to
talk about, whether politics, economics, their respective work, they are
so connected and support each other well.
yet. But I will one day. Oh, I have serious plans for that name
(laughs). But of course, he and my mum use to tell us that the name is
really just to get one’s foot through the door, and the rest of the way
is up to me. My dad has a lot of contacts. I’m trying to go into the
design industry and I have mentors already that I have met in person,
like Yomi Casual. He helps me out. Now, I wouldn’t have had this
opportunity if not for my father. I’ve also met other designers like
Mudi and Uche Nnaji through my father. This Christmas I am going to get
some work experience in design. I wouldn’t have had this opportunity if
not for my dad. I have met a lot of famous personalities through my dad.
Most of the famous comedians are basically like my second fathers or
Doyle, P Square, Patoranking and so on. My dad sometimes hosts people in
the house, and he introduces me to some of them.
Sometimes, at some shows where the tickets are sold out, someone I know
– a famous person – could just come and take me in and put me on a