How to Repackage Nigerian Comedy for Export


By Akinlolu Jekins

With over 100 widely-acclaimed events to his credit, Akinlolu “Jekins” Jikiemi has an unassailable credential as one of UK’s biggest showbiz promoters and a force to reckon with in the UK-Africa entertainment industry. Fondly called Akinlolu Jekins, he has been the brain behind some of the biggest UK events of Nigerian comedians. His name is whispered with reverence in the industry as an event consultant and talent manager with the Midas touch.

When confronted with the accolades lavished on him by those in the industry, he gave a modest answer, saying: “The primary aim and purpose of Akinlolu Jekins & Co. Ltd is to trigger the increase in the recognition of African comedians in the UK market. I am happy that we are on course.”

For over nine years, he has planned, promoted and managed Julius Agwu’s Crack Ya Ribs show in the UK and also handled sold-out shows for other Nigerian comedians including Mr Patrick, Seyilaw, Acapella, Akpororo, Gordons, Funnybone, Princess and South African Chris Mapane, among others.

In a recent interview, he spoke on ways to reinvent Nigerian comedy in order to make it a money-spinning export for the country.
“We need proper structures and the right education. In terms of structures, there is need for enabling environment vis-à-vis venues with theatrical stages and that could be made more effective with the expansion and integration of comedy clubs in every state in Nigeria. In terms of education, we should be having masterclass in comedy to teach various aspects of the art including how to write a script and delivery styles. There should be an intellectual context for the analysis of contents and the study of language barriers, the do’s and don’ts of comedy, because some jokes are offensive and sometimes, there is a thin line between what is acceptable and what is offensive.”

Jekins also emphasized the importance of stage plays especially satires and open mic contests as useful tools “to train, shape and engage up and coming comedians.” The man who has been one of the biggest promoters of Nigerian entertainers in the UK shared his experience with working and managing those in the funny business. “I manage and work with lots of comedians, but I discovered that each creative person is unique in his own way and there’s a breath of fresh air around each client I work with.” he reflected.

For greenhorn aiming to reach the superstar stratosphere of comedy, Akinlolu Jekins advised: “Do more research, document your jokes, learn more about the delivery of jokes, use social media platforms at your disposal to showcase your crafts. Don’t stagnate; try to perfect what you have, and from time to time, revamp yourself. One day, the spotlight would definitely be on you.”

Akinlolu Jekins, UK showbiz promoter