Emeka Adigwe, aka Emeka Smith, is one of the fastest rising comedians in Nigeria. The huge and handsome rib cracker had a chat with YES INTERNATIONAL! Magazine’s GBENGA SHABA on Sunday, March 22, 2015, at Rockview Hotel, Festac Town, Lagos, during his Comedy Infusion show, which he co-hosted with Ambassador Chibuzo Patrick, aka Buzopat…
What is the motive behind Comedy Infusion?
I woke up one morning and I thought about giving back to the society as a comedian. So, I thought what can I do in my own little way to help these children and people living with down syndrome, to make them happy, feel they belong and also make people aware that there exists such people among us, who need our presence and to make them feel loved. So, a friend of mine, Buzopat, who is a Public Relations expert and the publicist for this set of people. She bought into the idea, we went to Down Syndrome Foundation to intimate the owner of the foundation and he liked the idea and since then, the response has been massive. As you can see, a whole lot of my colleagues, out of their busy schedules, still find time to come around here to cheer these people up. It’s a thing of joy and that is why we are calling on corporate organisations and other government agencies to come on board, so as to make it bigger.
Was it that you had any personal experience with a down syndrome victim or what inspired you to do this?
I never had anybody. It was just borne out of my passion, because these are children that I see around and I wonder if they have any friend. I always do ask myself if anyone comes around them to make the happy. So, it was not as if I had any personal experience or anybody in my family is suffering from this syndrome, it was just passion.
You are one of the brightest comedians in Nigeria. How does this make you feel?
Well, it is not by my power or by how funny I am, but it’s God. I used to tell people that no matter…I’ve been in this industry for a while, but I started gaining relevance about six to seven years ago. So, just keep doing what you are doing and you will surely get there. I’m happy that I’m where I am and I’m happy that God is still taking me to places. So, it’s a thing of joy and I keep giving glory to God because as a comedian, I’ve achieved and I’m still achieving. So, all I have to say is thanks to God.
How would you describe the journey?
It’s not been smooth. It’s not been that smooth, but like I said, God is still my benefactor. He is still my everything. But it’s not been smooth. Creating jokes in Nigeria has been very difficult because if you create classic jokes, there is no board, organization that protects your joke. So, if you have a classic joke, it is never a guarantee that you might use that joke to eat because of the way people take other people’s jokes. But if you are able to survive all these and you have a name, become a brand in Africa or Nigeria as a comedian, then it means you have really tried as a comedian and has put in a whole lot of hard work. I know a whole lot of my classic jokes that have gone viral and I was not the one that made it so; other comedians did. But for the fact that I’ve been able to come this far, it means a lot of hard work is involved and I’m still working.
What was your plan when you started out as a comedian?
Actually, I wanted to be an actor and as a matter of fact, a comic actor. I only stumbled into comedy. I never wanted to be a comedian, but a comic actor like the likes of Mr. Ibu, Victor Osuagwu and Chiwetalu Agu. I went to locations, but I didn’t get a role so I formed a comedy group and we started acting and from there, I started anchoring youth conferences, programmes, concerts in churches and other places and before I knew it, people started seeing me as a funny person and said I would do well as a stand up comedian. So, I picked it up and started gaining grounds within my neighborhood and that was how I met my friend, Seyi Law, who also sharpened me as a stand up comedian. We started working together and we met Jedi, who discovered us, brought us out and introduced us to AY, who gave us the platform to perform at his shows.
What would you say makes you unique from the other comedians?
Humility. This has kept me going and aside this, I’m also creative and consistent. These are the things that separate me from others. I’m neither a worldly or a Christian comedian, but a comedian that has clean and educative jokes. If you call me to come and perform in a mosque, I will make them laugh and the same thing applies to a church as well. So, I can say I’m an Islamic, Christian or a worldly comedian. I know what to say at the right time because of clean materials and jokes. A lot of comedians don’t know how to differentiate their environment while performing, which invariably gives them a bad day. But over the years, I’ve built myself up to be able to meet all these demands.
How do you handle situations whereby your classic jokes are stolen?
In Nigeria, it has become a normal routine. So, it’s not something that gets me bothered anymore. But when my jokes are stolen, it shows that I’m doing very well and needs to work harder.
What are some of your aspirations as you are almost a decade old in the industry?
I want to have my on TV shows that will cut across the whole of Africa. I also want to have my own yearly comedy show that won’t only be in Nigeria, but outside the shores of the country. I want to be an international caring brand and not just a brand, but a caring one. I want to do more of Comedy Infusion all over the world and not only in Nigeria.