Saturday, September 26, 2015

The Desire To Continue Feeding My Family Has Kept Me Going- Gbenga Adeyinka

Gbenga Adeyinka 1st is an ace Comedian in Nigeria, who ventured into comedy right from his Unilag days. In this recent interview with LEADERSHIP Newspaper, Adeyinka talks about life as a comedian and sundry issues incluuding various hilarious embarrassing moments.
He reveals that beneath the facade of humour and playfulness, he is a very shy, private and reserved person.

Read an excerpt from the chat:

How do you unwind?

I love to watch movies, football matches and read. I also hang out a lot with a close circle of friends. I play hard because I work very hard.

What was your best and worst moment?

My best moment was when I held my son for the first time. That was when I realized I had become a man. I have had three other most embarrassing moments. The first one was back then when I was in the university. I was sleeping on the bed with my legs wide open. I didn’t know my trousers were torn and my ‘Mandela’ was free. My roommate’s girlfriend knocked and I was feeling too lazy to open the door so I shouted and told her to come in. She came in with two of her friends, all females. My roommate came in about five minutes later to tell me to ‘park’ well because my ‘Mandela’ was free in the open. The most recent was in the United Kingdom for the Nigerian Corner of the Nottinghill Carnival and one of the performers; a female was dressed in such attire that left me bewildered. While pondering what convinced her to dress in such attire, a photographer caught my gaze and many people wondered if I was actually looking at something else. Professionally, I have been embarrassed as well. I had a concert for Star   in Ejigbo, Lagos and I drove to Ejigbo in Oyo State and started looking for the venue of the concert only to realise that the event was actually in Lagos.

How have you been able to sustain your brand, that despite the competition in the comedy industry today, you are still relevant?

What has kept me going is the fear of failure. Unfortunately for me, I’ve been thrown into the ocean of relative success and not sustaining it would be a sign of career failure. So, that keeps me going, the desire to forge ahead and break new grounds. The desire to prove people wrong, because a lot of people have said that Gbenga Adeyinka is not funny; he’s not supposed to be doing this. So, the desire to prove a lot of people wrong has kept me going; the desire to build a career also. But most importantly, the desire to continue to feed my family. It’s a hunger-inspired project. I have to continue feeding them and if I fail, then that is going to stop. That’s it basically.

I also believe that every day is a new challenge, not resting on my oars, the fear of failure and preparation. For me preparation is key. If I have an event and you see me preparing, you will wonder ah, shebi na to just go tell dem jokes there? Why are you doing all this wahala? Try out the materials you are going to use on people before you go and say them. If you gauge people’s reactions, you will know that ‘dis one no go work, dis one go work’. Once in a while, when you are working, try some jokes. Preparation does not mean that you should not be spontaneous. There are some times you try some spontaneous things and it works. That is your work as a comedian but by and large, ninety percent and all the greats do it. If anybody tells you they don’t do it; it’s a lie. All the greats do it. If you are going for an event that has to do with doctors, you have to write down at least four jokes that have to do with medicine that you are going to do when you get there. Eventually as you go on, other things come to you. But if you get there and you don’t have any material to start with, and nothing comes to you, then you are messed up.

At what point did you decide you want to do comedy and what was the reaction from your family?

Comedy for me is more like an everyday thing. I only discovered it on the campus of University of Lagos after which I went professional. It’s something that comes naturally to me I try not to force it. When it comes naturally, it’s always a sterling performance. I worked in my uncle’s engineering firm after I left UNILAG but after a while, I felt I wasn’t enjoying my job. It was the regular 9-5 for me and I wanted more and that was when I met Ali Baba, Akin Akindele and later Tee A, the rest as they say is history. I was brought up by a lot of uncles and aunties and as a community project, they were not very happy but I had made up my mind and the fear of failure made me push on. I’m glad I followed my heart and passion. Comedy has opened doors and opportunities that I couldn’t have been able to do. It has also opened me up for other areas in entertainment. I’ve done a couple of movies and God willing I will do more in future.

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