Ogechi Nwanevu Cyril, aka Pencil Comedian, is one of Nigeria’s finest comedy brands at home and abroad. Since he won Ay’s Open Mic challenge in 2010, Pencil has gone ahead to carve a niche for himself in the ever booming comedy industry. He runs an annual comedy show tagged, “Pencil Unbroken” which has proven his stance and durability over the years. Pencil talks to Tosin Clegg about his career, upcoming shows, the comedy industry at large and many more
By all standards, 2019 moving well for me
We thank God for his infinite mercies, things are getting better. I’ve been improving myself and my craft, because I learn every day; that is why I will refer to myself as a student of life. We are just in the middle of the year and it will be too soon to conclude. The year still has a lot in stock for me, so it will be too soon to start counting my blessings. I will want you to ask me this same question at the end of the year and I will give you a comprehensive list of my achievements.
The Pencil brand is ever dynamic
Each opportunity on stage is a learning experience, and it just keeps getting better. There have been positive changes over the years in all ramifications; the style of jokes and delivery have changed over time, and the brand will keep growing.
Challenges faced growing my brand
Some of the challenges are how to remain fresh, coming up with jokes to entertain your audience and, most importantly, not repeating your jokes. It requires lots of hard work, especially for my kind of jokes that come with moral lessons. So, keeping up with trends and making sure that my jokes speak about the ills in the society and possible solutions to them, is a major challenge. I have gone past the stage of telling fictitious tales, which people can not relate with; this is because my jokes are now inspired from my day to day activities.
About ‘Pencil Unbroken’
Expect fresh jokes, new acts and the packaging and execution this time will be flawless. We are making sure that everything that happens will be planned. For every year, we are always raising the bar and this year won’t be an exception, it will be pure entertainment and fun all the way. Every show I do comes with its unique theme, and the theme determines the dynamics of the show. This year, we will raise the bar in the comedy industry. This year, comedians like the legendary AY, Seyilaw, Gandoki, Kenny blaq, Lasisi Elenu, Destalker, Frank Onero and many more will be cracking the ribs of the audience.
Winning AY open mic challenge in 2010
It opened lots of doors. I can’t stop thanking AY for the platform. It also sharpened my craft and added more value to me. Right from inception, I have always had a burning desire to be successful. I knew I would make it but na the date I no know. I won’t regard myself as big yet because my best is yet to come.
Reforms I think the comedy industry needs right now
New people coming into the industry should try as much as possible to be original. If you don’t have anything new to offer, then, don’t take from the existing. Also, government and corporate bodies should buy into our shows more. I am someone that knows little things about so many things, I am multi-talented. I have featured in some movies already and some are yet to be released. If I am offered movie roles, why not, it’s all entertainment and it’s interwoven.
Comedy puts food on my table
Comedy business is paying for me. At least, it puts food on my table and sustains the life style. So, comedy for me has been very rewarding even beyond my wildest imagination. Initially, it was just for the passion. I never envisaged that it will be this rewarding, but above all, we thank God for his grace. Just like every other profession, I’ve had down moments but never for one day have I had the thoughts of quitting comedy. I have always had an inexplicable conviction that I am in the right profession, I have a strong passion for my profession, so the few times I had down times I had to evaluate it and know the reason why and worked hard to prevent a recurrence.
I am in a relationship with my God
I am in a relationship with my God at the moment, but if it is having a woman in my life, then I will say not at the moment. I have a list of things I have set to achieve and their time frames, when it gets to the time to start a relationship you will be the first to know, I promise you but for now I am ‘babeless’. When it’s time to look for a wife surely I will create a standard, but for now, it hasn’t crossed my mind. I don’t want to make a categorical statement now; all I know is that my wife will be fine sha.
My sense of style
In the words of Jidenna, ‘I am a classic man’. I love dressing in a way that will create an indelible impression in the minds of people.