Catch Kunta Williams have a sit down with “The Lekki Comedian”, as they discuss his career, ambitions and his upcoming event – “Funny Not Funny”
Beyond GeeJokes; who exactly is Gbolahan?
Adejobi Omogbolahan Kerry is a 500 level student of Food Technology, University of Ibadan. Born and bred in the city of Ibadan, I am into comedy, showbiz, entertaimment and I compere events. Basically, the Geejokes brand is just about putting smiles on people’s faces. So far, I have been doing that with different events and hosting my own events, from Jokes Apart 1 to Jokes Apart 3. To the glory of God, I have an upcoming show tagged “Funny Not Funny”. It promises to be epic.
Speaking of that, can you relate to us the interesting transition from the Jokes Apart series to Funny Not Funny?
Jokes Apart is meant to be the “big” show while “Funny Not Funny” is meant to be a “small” show. Allow me explain. Jokes Apart is a louder spectacle for the pleasure of audiences numbering up to two thousand. “Funny Not Funny” on the other hand is a show dedicated to the spectacle of a lesser number of people. It is more like a cinema kind of setting, something sellable and designed for the core fans of GeeJokes. The concept for Jokes Apart is the comedy stuff for everybody, from everybody; while “Funny Not funny” is a one-man comedy show. Its concept was birthed from the perception people have about me. No matter how good you are, there would always be people who find you funny. While to some, you not even an inch close to hilarious. Thus, the tag, “Funny Not Funny”.
Interesting! What inspired you to want to do a one-man comedy show? Plus, we have intel that it was co-signed by and is being supported by Netflix and Comedy Central, which is clearly a big deal. How did that come to be?
First, I wanted to test my strength. Basically, the more you push, you are open to making mistakes and you are also learning. I have never done a one-man comedy show. In fact, the most time I have spent on stage is below one hour. The funny thing is, you cannot go beyond that because at shows, there are so many other acts billed to perform. You just have to make the most use of your platform while you can.
Secondly, I was glancing through Netflix’ platform one time, and I saw that there are not too many Nigerian comedians that have had one-man comedy shows. Nigeria is one of the most blessed and comedy-oriented countries. Nigerian comedy is a huge export. I decided to do something that is sellable, something that Netflix would want to buy. So, I sent them a mail; got a positive response but the only issue I had was meeting up to their set standards of production. So, I mailed Comedy Central, got a response from my Jokes Apart showpiece, and they told me they were looking for young African comedians to sign up and support. Therefore, I am using “Funny Not Funny” as a leverage to launch myself out there. Big brands often want to see young African comedians do comedy comfortably in various languages and dimensions for one hour. Versatility is also key, whereby you can be invited to perform abroad and make people laugh. I don’t just want to be a local champion comedian, I am trying to put myself out there and polish myself internationally too.
With the several honorific titles you earned for yourself like “Starboy of Comedy”, “Africa’s Youngest Comedian”, “The Lekki Comedian”; it is apparent you are always in the public glare. How do you cope with this, with the prevailing reality that you are still a student and you have parents watching you?
I believe in passion, talents, education. Besides, if you know what you’re doing; you can manage them effectively. I would not be the first to be in school and making impact, and would definitely not be the last. My parents are in support. I’m from a cultured background, and as long as I am not doing drugs, cracking inappropriate jokes about sensitive subjects like rape, or promoting indecency, I think I am good. At the same time, I am not doing terribly academically, I’ve not dropped out (laughs). Secondly, it is my talent. That’s what I love doing. Even when I’m not in character, I still make people laugh. Happiness drives me, which is enough. I just believe I can juggle it all. Because one thing is certain. One of them would pay off in the long run; whether it is education, talent or passion.
Two basic questions; do you ever blank out? And have you ever felt restrained about some of your jokes or routines?
So basically, I’m a young comedian and I have been in the industry for four (4) years as a student. I think I’ve blanked out once or twice. My worst performance was during the “Miss Ideal Nigeria 2017”. What happened that day was that I was the only comedian and about twenty upcoming and young musicians billed to perform. The crowd was there for pageantry, but for over one hour, it was performace after performance by various music acts. At some point, the crowd grew bored. And two artistes were booed off stage. I was then called to perform. I had not uttered a single word, and they kept shouting, “We want pageantry!”. That was in Lagos, 2017. Reminiscing on such experience appears to be funny now. But, it is all history. And I thank God for how far I have come.
You have a huge following on social media. Do you consider yourself an influencer?
Actually, I don’t see myself as an influencer. Maybe naturally, people just subscribe to my brand. However, I would like to utilize my level of influence with big brands by promoting their products and services. Also, I am very passionate about the finance market; I am a digital marketing enthusiast. In short, I love easy money (laughs).
Are you emotionally attached to anybody right now?
No. I don’t do love for now (laughs).
What are the things you feel we should know about your upcoming show? Why should people attend?
It is happening on February 14th, 2020. It is a gig for you and your lover to laugh and chill. There is nothing that boosts love better than laughter and happiness. Secondly, it is the whole GeeJokes’ experience with limited seats. No hosts, no breaks. And also we are bringing contemporary acts as well as clowns and jogglers to add colour to the event. Things you don’t normally see in modern comedy shows. The event is slated for 4:00PM – 8:00PM. Tickets are out selling fast. Regular is 1,000 naira, VIP or Kings’ Men is 5,000 naira, then Royalty is 10,000 naira. The difference is the package and the sitting arrangements. One thing is that there’s a surprise guest coming that day. And I have amazing opening acts. I made sure I listed comedians from different states. They will be opening the show. Trust me; if it is laughter you want; you will find. And if your looking for your missing rib too, you will find. Just make yourself available. The venue is the Wole Soyinka Arts Lecture Theatre, University of Ibadan (formerly called The Arts Theatre). Dress code is a touch of red.
Aside making people laugh, what are your hobbies and what do you do with your leisure time?
Basically, I’m a gamer. That’s probably why I’m not on a first class (laughs). Sport games, I hardly go a week without them. I like meeting people and networking, because talent is never just enough. Also, I love travelling.
Who are your role models in the comedy industry and why?
I’m a crazy big fan of David Chapelle. He holds the rare distinction of being an intellectual and a comedian at the same time. There’s nobody like him. Robin Peters; his spontaneity is out of this world. In Nigeria, it has to be Kenny Blaq. He made the “music comedy” a thing. He is incredibly gifted. I admire his branding too.
What is your evaluation of success?
Mine is whatever you do, make sure is profitable to you, your family, friends, the society and generations to come. If you are successful, it has to extend to everyone around you. Let even people who don’t know you benefit from you. There are so many people Dangote doesn’t know, but they became millionaires through him. And there’s no one that sporting the name “Awolowo”, that would not be immediately linked to the late Obafemi Awolowo. Basically, if your success can extend to people, then you are truly successful. Success is the extra value added to your name and all that is yours
What is next for GeeJokes?.
I would really love to continue with the whole comedy thing and make sure I excel exceptionally at it. And I’m trying to relocate to Abuja and do one or two shows and expand. Trying out other ventures apart from comedy is also a plan on ground. I have a flair for digital marketing and real estate. Also, I am seeking to advance in my education and learn more.
Parting words to every youth out there?.
All I just want to say is “Stay focused and believe in yourself”. A successful man sees in himself what an ordinary man sees in other people. If you are successful; you seek in yourself what you want. Look inwards and have a draft of what you desire to be in the next five to ten years. Don’t live to impress! Be open to opinions from people and never give room for distractions.