Ace comedian, Gbenga Adeyinka, would love to see 2020 end in a jiffy. “2020 is a complete nightmare. Players including myself lost a lot of money planning shows that had to be cancelled,” remarks Adeyinka, while reviewing 2020 and his career with Festus Akanbi
How will you assess the Nigerian entertainment industry in 2020?
The year started off well for us but from the month of March when the COVID lockdown started, it became a complete nightmare. This, in my estimation, is the worst year ever. Everything grinded to a halt. Players including myself lost a lot of money planning shows that had to be cancelled. Sponsors pulled the plug on a lot of events due to no fault of theirs. People became creative online but it just wasn’t the same. Then came the protests and the nightmare started all over again. It is just year I personally wish will end tomorrow.
At what point in your life did you opt to be a stand-up comedian?
It was immediately after my Youth Service programme. I had come back to Lagos from Benue, gotten married, I was raising a young family and the bug just kept pulling me. I had worked in a construction firm as well as an advertising agency but people who knew me on campus as a comic and compere kept calling me to do events for them. It got to a point I couldn’t juggle anymore. I just dumped my 9 to 5 and took my destiny in my hands.
Nigeria is experiencing a generational shift. Where do you belong, Sorosoke or Gbenudake? What are the implications of this development?
My age makes me a gbenudake but my orientation and beliefs position me as a sorosoke. These are very interesting times and I commend the youth for the tenacity of purpose and vision. The world is changing and we cannot afford to continue to do things the same way and expect different results. It’s time to allow the youths have a bigger say in how they want to be governed
Unlike in the past, youths nowadays heap insults at their parents and elders especially on the social media. What is your opinion on this?
That’s one part that I disagree with. We can engage without being insulting. I believe it is just exuberance that will fizzle out with time. I hope I won’t get dragged online for this answer.
Do you have any reservations over the proposed social media bill? Won’t it affect people like you who use jokes to criticize the government?
Very large reservation. It is totally unacceptable. Nobody has a right to gag anybody. It’s a fundamental right.
What motivated you to become Baba oniburedi? I’m talking about your diversification to bread making
I am a fan of multiple stream of incomes, I have published a magazine, I do television and radio. I have promoted concerts events and much more so, starting the bread business was me activating my entrepreneurial skill and diversifying. On the back of this is the fact that I will be creating employment and creating economic value. I am also a firm believer that there is always space for entrepreneurship in foods, schools and the service industry
To what extent has fame opened doors for you in life?
Greatly. It has opened a lot of doors for me. It has taken me to places I never thought I would get to in my life. It has also allowed me to activate my entrepreneurial skills and helped me find fulfilment.
Why don’t we see more of you in acting these days? Should we take it to mean that acting isn’t profitable? We see female actresses flaunting their sudden wealth on the social media, what happened to their male counterparts?
Acting is a labour of love. I respect actors and actresses for the sacrifices that they put in day in and day out to make sure their fans get quality entertainment. The pay however is not as much as what an MC will make. When an MC can do a job for N1 million in two to three hours, the same amount is paid to an actor to shoot for two to three weeks. So a lot of comedians will rather do a quickie and move on. Regarding the Nollywood actresses flaunting their wealth, do not be fooled. A lot of them are into private business to sustain their careers as professional actors. I see a lot of them doing contracts, fashion business, interiors etc. We should however get set to see more flaunting on social media though things are changing for good as those who are venturing into producing their own movies for the cinemas are making a kill.
I am however open to very good opportunities as I miss acting.
Why are entertainers like you going into businesses?
The average entertainer is an entrepreneur; so, going into business is just an extension of his other talents.
Have you done any joke that landed you in trouble before?
Yes but the person the joke was about was not even offended. The hangers on however felt they needed to protect oga who told them off when he heard they were forming “Voltron” on his behalf.
When are you going to ‘unveil’ your wife to the public? We don’t know anything about her?
My wife is not a project to be unveiled. She is not an entertainer. She works in the Judiciary and as such, she is much more introverted than I am but I guess when she retires and decides to become an entertainer, we shall do the full reveal.
Which of the vices are you into? Some believe a man cannot do without at least one of them. Alcohol, cigarette and women?
I know people who do neither but as for me not cigarette, not women and not too much alcohol as even the Bible says a little wine make the heart merry. So, I drink responsibly and merrily.
Can you recall your first day on stage?
Yes, it was way back in secondary form three but professionally, it was an event I did for medical students in Unilag when I had just registered my company Laughter Incorporated
Tell us about your upbringing?
I grew up basically with my grandmother and as well as my aunt and uncle at different times. It was a middle-class upbringing. For me, I was a community project, because everybody in my family helped bring me up and this gave me the opportunity to learn about diversity at a very young age.
I was sent to some of the best schools in Nigeria from Government College, Eric Moore, Lagos to, International School Ibadan and then to the University of Lagos. My grandmother and guardians always impressed on me the values of hard work, perseverance, Christianly upbringing and education.