His stagger is uncharacteristic of a gentleman. He manages to get on the stage nevertheless and the audience thunders in applause for him. Dressed in a white shirt revealing his slightly chiseled chest and trousers that only reach his ankles, he staggers further as he tucks his hands between the suspenders that hold his trousers to his shirt. With a face that caricatures a man in stupor, he bends over as if he wants to vomit; staggering further still and the crowd erupts in further excitement, wondering what he is up to. He stands still and silence falls on the hall. He stands still. And further still until the audience can no longer contain the suspense and begins to shout, ‘Klint Da Drunk!’ Klint Da Drunk!’ Klint Da Drunk!’ The show has just begun for one of Nigeria’s famous and indefatigable comedian, Afamefuna Klint (Da Drunk) Igwemba. In his stupor-like performance Klint Da Drunk has continued to mesmerize his audience both in live shows and on TV. Despised by parents and deserted by friends, nobody gave Klint a chance to excel as a comedian. Finding solace under tutelage of Ali Baba, his comical wizardry has continued to blossom. In this interview with Oge Ezeliora, Klint Da Drunk talks about his dreams, his business, singing and acting and how he met his wife
• My Friends Abandoned Me Because I Chose to be a Comedian
• First Time I Met My Wife I Knew She is the One for Me
How did you become a comedian?
Idid not choose comedy but comedy chose me. The whole story started when I was young. I love anything entertainment; from music, down to drama and other things that make one happy. Seeing people dance gives me joy. Back then when my friends were joining the Boy Scout and other paramilitary groups, I refused because I wanted to help people; so I joined the Red Cross instead. I felt this is a group that would encourage me to put a smile on people’s face. I just love seeing people happy; apart from that, I am naturally a very funny people. I joke a lot. It takes time for me to get angry and that is why people like me a lot even as a child.
Are you from Delta State?
My grandma is from Delta State – Ebede in Ndokwa Local Government Area. I am from Anambra State – Aguukwu-Nri in Aniocha Local Government Area. I am from a family of five with my parents. I am the last child. My elder brother lives in Lagos, while my sister lives in United State of America. My father is still alive and kicking, same for my mother; she is doing well by the special grace of God. They are both retired now so we are paying them salary. Though my mum still owns a clothing outfit in Enugu State where she sells unique fabrics and I often visit.
Apart from your comic character, who exactly are you?
Well, I am a normal person. I am a loving father with three wonderful children. I am also a comedian at home because I answer all the questions that come from my children. You know these days, children always ask parents questions. I equally ask them too just to balance the various questions that come from them. My first son is seven, the second one is four and by December this year, my daughter will be one. I am a loving and caring father to my children. We always play together.
People know you as Klint da drunk. What is your real name and why do they call you a drunk?
(Laughs) My real name is Afametuna Klint Igwemma, but people started calling me a drunk because I do stagger anytime I want to crack jokes. It all started in one movie I acted some years ago. I think the name is Ikuku and I played the role of a drunk. And the movie was everywhere. Before I knew it people started calling me ‘Klint the drunk’ just because of the role I played in that movie. That was how the name spread and I cannot stop it because I am a comedian and the name stands me out from other comedians.
So the drunk character you displayed most times on stage is part of comedy?
Yes; after the movie, people started calling me a drunk. So I have no choice than to display the character of a drunk as part of my comic tactic and it has now become my unique selling point.
Do you drink alcohol to get into that character?
No. I don’t drink. You will not believe me. I don’t taste alcohol.
Even when you attend parties with your friends, you still don’t drink?
No. Most of my friends know I don’t drink. They don’t even offer me drinks that contain alcohol because their comment will be, ‘Bros you are intoxicated naturally; so you no need am.’
Aside comedy what other business do you do?
Aside comedy, I do comedy. Let me tell you something about comedy that people don’t know: as a comedian you are not limited to stage alone. I am a stand-up comedian presently. I also have a comedy magazine I am working on that will soon be published and launched in a big way this year. I have a comedy movie that is in the market and all the ones I have acted in which you know; I also have a comedy programme on TV. Comedy is a full-time business, so all the business I am doing presently has to do with comedy. I dance to entertain people, I misbehave to make money. I walk as a drunk while I am cracking jokes on stage as a comedian. So everything I do today is for comedy same to all my business and investments.
Being among the first of modern-day comedians, what was it like starting up?
It was not easy at all considering our country and how people feel when they hear you are a comedian. Nobody will take you seriously. Many people will look at you as an unserious person, as someone that is not focused in life. I remember someone telling me that my mates are working in the banking sector while I am wasting my time with comedy but I was not discouraged at all. Rather I worked towards making myself great in the comedy world. And it took a long time before people stated to believe that one can make money through comedy. It wasn’t easy at all. My parents never supported me. They were just complaining here and there. My friends abandoned me because they felt I was not doing the normal thing. Most of them just believed I am not normal and I am making mockery of myself claiming to be a comedian. But one thing that kept me moving forward was because I believed in myself. I knew I would make it in life. I believe what I was doing is right and there is nothing wrong with my career. It is not like I was committing crime nor doing anything negative. It was a positive thing I was doing. I also saw people like Eddy Murphy and Bill Cosby doing great in comedy, so I continued working hard. They are the set of comedians in America I was looking up to then not minding what people are saying about comedy.
Have you met Bill Cosby and Eddie Murphy before?
Well I have travelled severally to the US but I have never met them. All I know is that they are my role models and I so much believe in them. But I believe that one day we will meet.
What about in Nigeria do you have a role model or mentor?
Yes; I respect Ali Baba a lot. He has done so well for so many comedians in our industry. He trained so many upcoming comedians and today they are already making money from by being comedians. The first time I came to Lagos, I stayed with Ali Baba. Almost everyone stayed with Ali Baba. He is a father to all of us. He is an icon. In fact, his name is number one when you think of comedy in Nigeria. I must give it to him because he is the one who gave us the vision to pursue comedy as a career. He really taught me a lot of what I know in the business today. I don’t think he knows the value of the things he taught me. He is a great achiever because a key trait of an achiever is carrying others along. It is always good to help a lot of people on your way up so that you will not be neglected on your way down.
You started with acting and music; you even did a collabo with one of Nigeria’s famous rapper, Mr. Raw. Why did you stop singing and did you release any album before veering into comedy full-time?
I am working on my album, and by the time my album comes out, it’s going to be a blast. I am a comedian but that does not mean that I cannot do other things. I am an adventurous person. I believe both music and acting parts of me are part of the adventure. But with acting, the type-casting discouraged me. Must I act the drunk in all movies? If I had continued, that was the way it was heading. So I changed my mind about acting because anytime they are looking for someone who will play the role of a drunk they will contact me. So I stopped for sometime but later changed my mind to return to the movie world.
How do you view Nigeria’s music industry?
We are really growing. Entertainment is not what it used to be. Right now there are so many changes in the entertainment industry. It’s only those that can survive the struggle that are into the showbiz today and they are doing so well. Do you know that people no longer listen to foreign music like they used to do? Just listen to most of the songs our musicians are releasing. Heavy blast I must confess. I love Nigerian music. Our artistes are doing wonderfully great. Even the upcoming musicians their delivery of music is unique. The greatest thing about our musicians is that no two singers sing alike. When someone tries to sound like another person, that person’s music dies. If you try to sound like Flavour your music will die and Flavour will continue; everyone has his style in a unique way. I love Asa; she is simply in a world of hers. She cuts across the international music level and her videos are unique. Sincerely, Nigerian musicians have made everyone proud. The truth is that we are no longer where we used to be. The industry has developed so fast; the Nigerian music industry is growing at an astronomical rate, just like the comedy industry. I love Nigerian music. And I am so proud of them.
Where did you meet your wife?
I met my wife in Jos. I went to visit a friend in Plateau State and I just saw her and I knew she was my wife. I also did a follow-up to monitor her character to see if there was anything about her that would put me off, but she qualified and today we are happily married.
Was it love at first sight?
Not really, but immediately I set my eyes on her I knew I would marry her. I just knew she is my wife and we have been together for over eight years. She is a wonderful woman I must confess to you. She is the best part of me.
Is she from the North?
No. She is from my state. When we met I thought she is a Hausa lady because she was in the North but she spoke Ibo language to me and I was delighted.
At what point did you decide to take her to altar?
You know when you met someone your spirit agrees with nothing will hold you back. The relationship will be flowing like milk and honey. Many people fall in love and at the end of the day they are separated. They just found out they are not compatible. No matter how much love you have for someone the day you will meet your wife you will know that she is the one. You don’t need a preacher to convince you. Wife are very scarce but girlfriends are everywhere especially for those men that like night clubs. You will find hundred girls searching for men to hook up to but you cannot find your wife in the wrong place; that is the reason why people take their time to search for the woman of their dreams.
How do you relax?
I relax by sitting down. Anywhere I found a good seat I relax there. But at home I relax with my wife. Then sometime we travel on vacation and I over relax because white people hate stress. My sister, Nigerians, like stress. Na Oyibo man I see say person go stay for house dey make money. I always make out time to enjoy myself with my family.
What turns you off?
I detest dishonesty and cheating, especially when people try to cheat me. I hate cheats. I hate when people are negative. I mean negativity turns me off.