By Tosin Clegg 07062816737 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bayegun Oluwatoyin, popularly known as Woli Arole, is an MC, actor, stand-up comedian, brand analyst and prophet. He broke into the entertainment scene a few years ago with his comic Yoruba display of preachers, and signature smile, setting him apart and giving him a place. In this interview with Tosin Clegg, he talks about family, education, career and how he broke barriers to enter into the industry
My name is Bayegun Oluwatoyin, and I’m from Ikare Akoko, Ondo State. The third child in a family of three and I’m also very handsome.
Growing up and education
Growing up, for me, was very humble. I was raised by my parents and I enjoyed discipline with proverbs and beatings. My primary school was in Ibadan at Olapade Agoro, and from there I went to secondary school also in Ibadan. I then studied at the best University in the world, the one with the highest terabytes, Obafemi Awolowo University.
How I started acting
Then, I attended Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministry, where I used to act the devil and I acted it well. I also acted in my church fellowship at the university, and acting has been a part of me since then. I have acted in four movies now – 200 Million; Alakada Reloaded; In-laws; and Obun Part 2. Three of them are cinema works. I have acted alongside Basorge Tariah, Chris Attoh, Toyin Amaikhu, Saidi Balogun and more.
Becoming Woli Arole
It all started in September 2015, I was still going to church then, when I did a video of a funny prayer point and I kept working on it. I have a strong CAC background and my mum also is a prayerful woman. So, it inspired me to just create a character called Woli, meaning a funny prophet that conveys messages in a funny way. So, Woli Arole was inspired by God.
The experience has been awesome
One of my challenges in the industry is that people felt I was using a particular language, Yoruba, to do comedy, but that is what is paving way for me. First of all, it’s putting food on my table and on the table of my families and it has also helped me to reach out to more lives, with laughter, all across the world. My Selling point is my language, alongside my attitude, charisma and Grace of God.
I am a real prophet
I have a gift of prophecy in real life, as a spiritual gift from God. Being a prophet for me is in two ways; first of all, it is a character of a comical messenger of God that talks about people, places and events and also conveys his messages in a very hilarious way which is the Woli Arole personality. Also, there is the aspect of being a prophet that is a spiritual gift from God which gives the person the ability to see real visions and say words inspired by God to someone and it would be as if the person has met you before. So, for me, I operate as a comical character and also as a spiritual gift. So, you can say Woli Arole the comical prophet and Woli Arole a real prophet.
Role models and mentors
For me, they are people that are not comedians; they are Ministers of God; persons such as Pastor E.A Adeboye, Bishop David Oyedepo and Dr. D.K Olukoya. These are my mentors and role models, and I admire all comedians in Nigeria. I learn from them. I learn from all the comedians in and outside Nigeria, but I don’t have a mentor or role model among them. I just learn one thing or another from them all.
Goals for my career
My greatest goal as a comedian and as an actor is to raise so many comedians and actors as well. I want to raise a lot of mentees in this industry. That’s my greatest goal.
Working with big stars home and abroad
Yes very much, I would love to act at home and abroad. I would love to do something with Tyler Perry and other Hollywood stars. I would love to do something with them, and by God’s grace, I would love to do a world tour to different countries, and do comedy alongside other foreign comedians like Kevin Hart, Aries Spears, Trevor Noah and the like.
My plan for the next five years
It is to produce my own movies, have a TV series that is running well, doing a world tour and raising lots of mentees, and the Woli Arole brand would have been a household name that people can reckon with. Also, in five years, the brand would have more global appeal and people speaking different languages can also enjoy the humour.
Female fans are wonderful
They are so lovely; my fans are people that appreciate my works. So, I treat them with love and respect, including the male fans. I love them all and I treat them well.