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Queens of Comedy – Punch Newspapers

I’ve 11 characters in my head — Chigul

Actress and comedienne, Chioma Omeruah aka Chigul, speaks to BUKOLA BAKARE about her household, profession and different associated issues

What course did you main in?

I studied French training within the college and I labored for just a few years as a French instructor within the United States. I converse 5 languages however I’m a Lagos girl-born and bred in Lagos. I used to be born within the Yaba space of the state and thereafter,  I moved to Kaduna, Jos, and got here again to Lagos once more. Afterwards,  I went to the United States to check. I lived there for 12 years earlier than returning to Nigeria.

How did you come concerning the distinct voice that you’re recognized for?

I’m a really blessed human being and God has given me sure presents and typically, I actually don’t know which one to discover. I’ve all the time been very gifted at imitating folks since I used to be younger. Even when company got here to my home, as soon as they mentioned one thing, they knew that Chioma would catch it immediately and entertain the home afterwards. Till now, I nonetheless do some of this stuff. Then sooner or later, I recorded a voice observe with my blackberry cellphone and despatched it out to my mates. It was one thing that simply occurred; it wasn’t as if there was a plan. There are about 11 characters in my head and Chigul is only one of them-the others are there as properly. However, Chigul is the foremost one.

You had been beforehand married and talked about in some unspecified time in the future that you just married as a virgin. What classes did you study from that  union and the way has it formed you into the lady that you’re as we speak?

My marriage simply kind of fell aside – as you understand, dangerous issues occur however then, it’s important to study to select up the items and transfer on. Nobody envisages that his or her marriage goes to crash. You go in with the very best intentions and the very best of hopes however for no matter causes, issues occur, life occurs and it’s all the time higher once you construct from the dangerous issues which have occurred to you and transfer on.

What qualities would you be looking for in a person this time?

This time round, I believe that I’ve a extra mature eye and thoughts. I used to be 33 and I believe I had a special notion of what life was then in addition to totally different expectations. Now, I’m extra settled in my thoughts and I’m simply all about being with somebody who permits me to be at my greatest. As a person or lady, you wish to be with somebody that makes you complete and enhances you. For now, it is just me within the automobile and I’m on the wheels and driving solo however after I see a life passenger, I’ll positively take a shot.

How would you describe your character?

Something that has to with Chigul all the time slides into my character. I’ve realised that Chioma is that individual that was born by her dad and mom and Chigul simply grew to become half of her so, they’re one and the identical and one can’t do with out the opposite. Even after I’m offended, it’s nonetheless within the Chigul method so each characters are one and the identical.

What are your likes and dislikes?

I like honesty and dislike dishonesty . As an artiste, I like professionalism and one of my pet peeves is lateness. I don’t like maintaining folks ready and I don’t need them to do similar to me. I like having the ability to work with individuals who take others together with them and it’s good when you’ll be able to take somebody together with you-there is so much of mentorship happening for actors and comedians and in my expertise, I’ve been embraced by most individuals that I’ve come throughout and so much of folks have come my method. The likes of Alibaba, AY and all of these folks have taken me as their sister and I actually can’t say I’ve had it arduous as a result of God has simply been concerned and it’s extra like he mentioned, ‘‘I’ve bestowed a favour on you; wherever you go, you’ll be favoured.’’ In that very same vein, I all the time make a acutely aware effort to stay grounded and humble as a result of like I inform folks, typically, the attributes that you just show opens doorways for you earlier than your expertise does. Some folks will work with you simply because they like the way in which you behave; you may not even be good at what you do. For each work you do, you should just be sure you put your greatest foot ahead each single time and that’s what I attempt to do. I’m not good however I get by. Some attempt to make a headway of their day by day lives and it’s arduous as a result of it’s such a wrestle and that is the place the hustle will get actual. Sometimes, cash beclouds peoples’ sense of reasoning and makes them mindless.  Nonetheless, in struggling for our monetary freedom as human beings, we should perceive that there will be dangerous days as properly.

Your father, the late Air Commodore Emeka Omeruah was a former minister of youth and sports activities, what are some of the issues that you just keep in mind out of your interactions with him?

My father was form of strict as a result of he was an Air Force officer. He was proud to be one and all the time strived to blaze the path. I keep in mind after I informed him that I wished to be an entertainer, he requested what I meant by that. He mentioned that I used to be going to check regulation and find yourself within the courtroom. Until, I started to fail, then I made a decision to alter my main within the college to French and he finally bought over it. I believe if he was right here now, he could be tremendous proud of me and be completely happy.

How would you describe your trend sense?

Am I modern? If you ask me to explain my trend sense, I’d say comfort-casual as a result of I all the time prefer to be snug. When you costume up and all the time need to put on girdle, it’s very arduous. If your abdomen is displaying, it’s alright, simply float and be your self. Do you know the way arduous it’s to put on a girdle, particularly when you might want to use the comfort? Then, you’d be struggling to take away it. So, I prefer to be snug in no matter I put on. I’m not an enormous fan of revealing my physique so I cowl my chest and different areas. Even if I used to be a dimension one, I simply really feel like much less is extra and I all the time have that in my head and I don’t put on all these cut-outs that individuals put on.

How do you unwind and calm down if you find yourself not working?

 I like to sit back out and have my mates round me. I’m not one for going to golf equipment, so I’d reasonably entertain myself at dwelling. I don’t prefer to cook dinner although I’m a superb cook dinner. I’d favor to have  different folks do the cooking. I additionally like to gist.

What is your recommendation to individuals who look as much as you and doubtless wish to develop into comedians or take up appearing?

When folks ask me to mentor them, my query is normally this-how precisely would you like me to do this? If you wish to develop into an emcee, it’s important to study to be daring and navigate the group as a result of an emcee and a comic are two totally different folks, although there’s a skinny line between each of them. There are only a few of us that do these two jobs successfully collectively. People really feel that when they will do the work of an emcee, they’re positively comedians as properly and that isn’t true. You should additionally resolve on what style  of comedy you wish to do- are you going into singing, voice-over or telling jokes?  In doing that, you should be conscious of your viewers. Not all people desires to be talked to and made enjoyable of so you might want to bear in mind of your environment. I all the time inform those who their goals are legitimate so by no means dream small; dream large as a result of your goals are legitimate and as you dream, you should additionally work arduous You need to dream past what you see as a result of once you do this and add arduous work to it, you’ll succeed. More importantly, bear in mind that there’s a time and season for all the things. If a door opens for you, bear in mind that it’s important to stroll by that door as a result of as soon as it closes, that’s it.

I veered into comedy by mistake –Mandy

Mandy Uzonitsha, aka Mandy, is broadly regarded  as Nigeria’s first comedienne. She tells BUKOLA BAKARE about her profitable foray into comedy

 What stirred your curiosity in comedy?

Mandy

Was I actually desirous about comedy? I went into comedy by mistake. When we had the primary college strike again when General Ibrahim Babangida(retd.) was the pinnacle of state, I used to be very stressed as a pupil and I do not forget that a journalist noticed me in Warri, the Delta State capital at the moment and informed me that I used to be very humorous and urged me to attempt that includes on The Charly Boy Show. He gave me this little observe and I introduced it to all the way down to Lagos, took it to Mr. Charles Oputa (Charly Boy) and the remaining like they are saying is historical past.

Give a peep into your background…

 I’m the fourth and second daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Philomena Uzonitsha. My dad is from Asaba and my mum is from Okere in Warri, each in Delta State. I maintain a Bsc in Political Science from the Nnamdi Azikwe University, Awka. I’m a single mom to a good looking 13-year-old daughter known as April. I name her April as a result of we had been each born within the month of April.

Who was Mandy as a toddler?

I grew up in Benin City, so you possibly can say that almost all of my enjoyable reminiscences had been in Benin City. Hence, I like the folks and the city normally. Mandy as a toddler? You don’t wish to know her. I used to be a tomboy as a result of I used to struggle so much. I’m certain that individuals I attended main faculty with could be shocked that I’m all a girl now. I used to climb the moat behind my faculty and beat up bullies so once you bully anybody and I discover out, you might be completed. My mum jogged my memory some days again that I’ve an angel in my daughter as a result of again then, she needed to sew me a brand new faculty uniform  each Friday as a result of I’d all the time struggle and are available again dwelling with a torn uniform.

You are one of the pioneers of stand-up comedy in Nigeria, what does it take to achieve success in that space?

Being profitable is not only about having cash, however being related in a single’s chosen career. If after 25 years, you possibly can nonetheless maintain down two or three main gigs in a week-that’s success! Being profitable is listening to youthful colleagues crack the jokes that you just created, whether or not they provide you with credit score or not, Jehovah is aware of the reality. Success to me isn’t my home in Lekki wey flood don almost carry go (that has almost been washed away by flood) or the automobile wey no wan begin(that has refused to begin). To me, success is being true to myself.

In what methods have you ever been capable of pave the way in which for up-and-coming  abilities?

I believe the truth that I began as the primary feminine comic has stirred so much of younger girls to additionally veer into the world of comedy. I all the time refer folks to my colleagues so I immediately ship jobs their method and typically too, they do similar for me. I additionally attempt to attain out to comediennes in East Africa.

You not too long ago celebrated your 25th anniversary on stage as a comedienne, how would you assess your journey thus far?

When I look again now after 25 years, I can’t take the God issue out of my success story. Quite frankly, main shoppers received’t have something to do with a lady so I did most jobs free of cost for years simply to be accepted. Till date, you possibly can nonetheless rely the quantity of comediennes in Nigeria together with your fingers-not a handful of us. After all these years, it’s been nice. There have been tons of ups and downs however we’re nonetheless on our technique to Eldorado, that’s if we discover the placement.

How would you describe your character?

I fear so much. However, I’m additionally a storyteller-most instances, I can create tales dropping a punch line as I’m going on. Sometimes, I’m spontaneous-well, my fashion is in-between.

What are some of the challenges that you just’ve been confronted with ?

One of the foremost challenges that now we have is that almost all of the juicy jobs normally go to our male counterparts-even the roles which are tailored for females. Thank God that some model managers are females and lately, they now require the companies of comediennes.

What does trend imply to you and does your work dictate what you put on?

Sometimes, the occasions that I attend dictate what I put on. However, I’m not into manufacturers and labels since I sew and make most of my garments. My turn-offs are perfumes.

How do you deal with competitors given the truth that a brand new crop of youthful comediennes are arising?

I see most comediennes as sisters so there may be nothing to fret about in that regard. Do you understand that all of us have totally different types and that makes every one of us distinctive in several methods? Hence, the sky is broad for all of us to fly. In the primary place, you should perceive that as comediennes, we’re gladiators. It’s a person’s world so we’re continuously combating for positioning within the humour world.

Who are your position fashions and mentors and what have you ever learnt from them?

My position fashions and mentors embrace Onyeka Onwenu, Iyabo Lawani and my mum. Each of these girls have impacted my life in someway.

What is the expertise like elevating your daughter as a single dad or mum?

My daughter is my reward, my life and all and I even plan my day and jobs to suit into her timetable. I’m very free when she is on holidays however I have to say that it’s not simple to deliver her up; particularly on this economic system with faculty charges, medical payments, meals and the likes however God has been devoted. I attempt to deliver her up in the way in which of the Lord and I additionally clarify points to her when she desires one thing and I can’t present it at a selected time. I let her know that she wants to wish for me as a result of it’s solely mummy that’s shouldering the duties.

Do you stay up for marriage sometime and what qualities would you be searching for in a person?

I like a person who fears God and one who will love my daughter.

Looking again now, how fulfilled are you as a comedienne?

I’m very fulfilled as a comedienne however don’t neglect that I additionally act and sing too.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

From issues that occur round me, folks in church, films, animals…the listing is limitless. Honestly, you don’t wish to enter the thoughts of a comedienne.

How do you create a work-life steadiness?

Over the years, I’ve been capable of steadiness my position as a comedienne and mum in a great way. When my daughter was a lot youthful, she used to cry each time I needed to attend occasions and my coronary heart could be heavy Now, she goes together with me for reveals and I name her my private assistant.

People assume I’m joking when critical –Lolo

Popularly referred to as Lolo, Omotunde Adebowale-David, speaks to TOFARATI IGE about her profession and character

What spurred you to do comedy?

From the time that I used to be a toddler, I liked to make folks snort and do joyful issues. Also, I realised that comedy gave me the platform to do the issues that I liked. While working as a radio presenter, I used to be surrounded by comedians equivalent to Igos. When he had his first present, he invited me to be half of it and mentioned that he believed I might do it. That was how I had my first stand-up efficiency at a comedy present. That was how I bought into mainstream comedy, although I wouldn’t say that I’m actually mainstream however I’ve lower my enamel.

What fond reminiscences are you able to recall of your childhood?

I’ve so many enjoyable reminiscences from my childhood. I stayed within the hostel proper from after I was in elementary faculty, which implies that I’ve been unbiased for a very long time. However, I used to be the final little one and my sisters had been additionally within the hostel with me in some unspecified time in the future. Some washed my garments and I used to be fairly spoiled by them as they took care of me as a child. It was once they left that actuality hit me and I needed to study to do issues for myself. I liked writing brief tales as a toddler and literature in English was one of my greatest topics. I do not forget that my father, a fair-complexioned man with an enormous spherical tummy, used to go to me in class then. He used to permit us, his children, play along with his abdomen and I used to assume that was actually particular. I additionally received so much of competitions in class.

You’ve been within the trade for some time; together with your expertise, what are the qualities and people issues a comic has to do to achieve success?

You need to be artistic and unique. Personally, I hate to crack different folks’s jokes. To be a profitable comic, it’s important to provide you with your personal supplies and get inspiration from all the things taking place round you; music, tradition, politics and life experiences. You must also have your distinctive fashion and don’t leap on the bandwagon. You need to do issues that truly attraction to you. You additionally need to learn voraciously as a result of the extra you do this, the extra data you get. And the extra educated you might be, the extra supplies you possibly can deliver out.

What are some of the challenges you face as a comic?

I believe most comedians prefer to be taken critical typically. So much of folks may take it to imply you’re joking even once you’re critical and that may be actually exasperating. There are additionally instances that you just ask your self if you’re humorous sufficient and when you’ve got ample supplies. I believe all of us undergo that.

What is your relationship with different feminine comedians?

My relationship with different feminine comedians is cordial. Everybody can’t be your greatest pal however we’re all colleagues and when now we have to do issues collectively, we discover a frequent floor to work collectively. I’ve labored with a pair of them at totally different instances and we don’t have any points. We relate with one another frequently however there’s nothing out of the peculiar. Of course, some could be nearer to you than others, however that’s simply regular.

Is there any distinction between your character on display and off display?

I consider that I’m a particularly humorous particular person on and off set. I deliver leisure to a spot and I’m normally the life of the get together. On set, it will depend on what position I’m appearing. If it’s near my actual character, you’ll get that humour from me. Off display, I like being indoors and I will be quiet typically.

What do you get pleasure from about being on radio?

On radio, you get to do so much of issues together with your voice and that’s what I like most about it.

Have you ever been embarrassed on account of your jokes?

I wouldn’t name it outright embarrassment. In comedy parlance, we name it koboko, which is once you crack jokes and folks don’t discover it humorous. I’m certain each comic has gone by that in some unspecified time in the future. I’ve had such moments however I all the time discover my method round it.

How would you describe your fashion?

My fashion is straightforward. I like to decorate in a method that fits my physique. I don’t prefer to take pointless dangers and put on loud outfits. I prefer to be elegant; somewhat bit horny and edgy however positively not excessive.

What are crucial classes you’ve learnt within the course of your profession?

I’ve learnt to be respectful to folks. Everybody you come throughout will be instrumental to your development in several methods. Never despise folks and all the time worth everybody round you. I’ve additionally learnt that diligence pays. Some of the favored folks might not be probably the most gifted however they’re diligent, and that’s what bought them to the good heights they’ve attained.

How do you steadiness your profession and residential?

Setting priorities is the one method you possibly can steadiness your life. I’m a single mother with 4 children and that might be powerful however I ensure that I carry my kids alongside in all the things I’m doing. And that has been working for me for greater than 5 years; I believe I’m doing properly.

Are you continue to prepared to present marriage one other shot?

Yes, if the fitting man comes alongside.

What are the qualities you’d be looking for this time?

What is most essential and non-negotiable is that the person should know who he’s in God; he should have a detailed relationship with God. He should even be prepared to see life as an journey and revel in it, be artistic and have enjoyable with life.

How do you unwind?

I like water and I’m going to the seaside so much. I additionally like to observe films, learn books and journey.

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