Broda Shaggi: I Wasn’t Born With a Silver Spoon

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Animashaun Samuel Perry, popularly known as Broda Shaggi broke the internet early this year with his unique style of comedy. He coined the character of a Fine Boy Agbero which has been widely accepted. In this interview with Tosin Clegg, he talks about starting out from UNILAG, his career build up, what makes his craft exceptional, and more

Comedy has always been part of me

I  have always known that I would act, and since I was young I have always been funny and people have always told me that I am funny. What brought me into comedy fully was me trying to make a difference in the comedy industry, because I have always wanted to do something special that somebody hasn’t seen before. I have been doing comedy skits for more than five years now, but I have been doing the normal drama comedy people do. However, I have been looking for a way to break out of the regular, which is why I decided to go with this Agbero style.

Basically, I create characters as an actor

But basically what I do as an actor is that I create characters. So, I used to have this character, Inspector Perry that I created when I was in UNILAG and was using it on Instagram before this came. I also started Akanni Ibadan and this was before Broda Shaggi, but it didn’t gain enough recognition like this, which was why I stuck to this.

Before social media, I’ve been acting

I have worked with Rok Studios, African Magic, and I have been in Nollywood before fame came. I was in Dear Mummy, Unfinished Business, Ghetto Bred by Eniola Badmus, and these are all comical roles. So, I have done a couple of films so far.

I can switch to any role

Just like I used to do in school; I did stage play while I was in UNILAG, as acting basically was all I was doing to survive. I read Visual Arts in school and studied Painting but just to survive, as painting wasn’t really selling in school, I came up with a group and we performed at shows. We performed for the Governor of Lagos State and for former President, Goodluck Jonathan. So, it was a means for me to survive then, and I paid people from it as well.

I’m planning my own series

And that would be out soon. Basically, I have noticed that what most of these comedians do is for the gram but I don’t do mine for the gram. I’m planning on my own movies and series just like Funke Akindele’s. So, I have something coming which won’t make it look like it’s always about the gram.

Social media is very important

Social media basically has made this character to be recognised right now and I have been on social media for more than five years, but the fact that I keep on doing what I like doing made all these to happen. I could have backed out, because I feel bad sometimes when I see people whose jokes are not as funny as mine get more likes than mine. So, social media is a market and a big platform. I see social media as an office I always have to go to everyday.

My social media presence is turning to real money

As it has changed from when I started, because then it was by advertising for musicians who wanted to put their songs under my skit for a low price, but right now I charge more. That’s because I put in more work, more creativity, and I use people around me and I have to pay them. So, it’s helping me to pay bills and almost all my locations are on the island but I also shoot when I travel.

I am not an activist

If you take your time to watch my skits very well, although it’s comical, but there is always a message. What inspired my skits was literally to be different, to make a living out of it, as I know my background, I know how my parents lived and I have always wanted to put a smile on my mother’s face- my father’s late. So, my background really challenged me into making it.

My mum didn’t remarry

I didn’t come from a rich home, as I wasn’t born with a silver spoon. We are three sons and I’m the first.

The first skit that made me popular was shot with a phone

And it was an HTC phone. The name Broda Shaggi came last year December during the Christmas period and I was actually fixing my car. And at the mechanic workshop the guys there were talking and a dialogue between two people ensued, which I found funny. The guy was just talking and he was free, and everybody laughed about it. So, I felt since I create characters let me go for this and the guy’s name was Ahmed but I felt it wouldn’t suit the character. So, I considered Mushiliu and then Shaggi Don, but I added Broda Shaggi Don which I felt was too long, and I cut it short to Broda Shaggi.

I met Aunty Shaggi on a stage play set

She is an actor and she read Theatre Arts as well in school. So, I saw her acting and how good she was. Another thing I like is good acting, and I learn from good actors. So, I was like she is good but can be better. Then I told her about my skit and asked her if she was going to be the presenter and that was how we started.

I was very popular in school

And people always said ‘this guy go make am’. So, I have always thought of what I would do after school, as the market for visual arts isn’t really moving in this country. I only see the road side artists and I knew I was not going to end up like that as I need to feed my family and take care of my mother. I was supposed to read Theatre Arts but I didn’t have the required subjects but then I realised acting is in me, as my father was an actor and he lectured too. I knew this was the way I could survive and I am doing it.