Thursday, 16 April 2015

EXCLUSIVE: There Are No Cabals In Comedy Industry—Koffi

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One of Nigeria’s most versatile comedians, Koffi Idowu Nuel, is not ready to give up on entertainment anytime soon or has plans to venture into other businesses.
Rather, Koffi is making serious efforts to spread his tentacles in the versatile entertainment industry with the introduction of his magazine programme, which will soon hit the airwaves anytime soon.



So, what has Koffi been up to?
I have been up to work as usual. Set to release my new album on May 15. I have been on set of my new TV sitcom called ‘Pidgin Street’, which will be hitting the airwaves by July. My annual comedy event, ‘Koffi Out Of Control’ is also set for November 8 at MUSON Centre. Plans are underway for a new movie as well. Since ‘The Nanny’ got awarded as the best comedy movie of the year in 2013, we decided to chill for a bit. Comedy sketch/Magazine programme 'Funny Moments with Koffi Tha guru' also will be airing soon.
How do you balance your busy schedule?
None interferes with the other. Album drops in May, sitcom premieres July, movie shoot is August, my show is November. Music video shoots are in April and June. I run a production company, 'Workerman Entertainment’. So, it goes beyond the Koffi brand as a comedian, the company and my team (Splufik Team) run a lot of activations. My staff work like everyone else resumes to their offices daily. So, different departments handle different projects. It also helps me keep the brand alive, rather than get stuck with a prototype brand identity. I am known as Nigeria's most versatile entertainer so why dull my fans and audience?
Do you think most comedians today don’t deserve to be in the industry?
Not so many are talented enough to carry that tag but as it is every blooming profession attracts quacks. That's the dilemma we are facing right now coupled with the rate of unemployment in the country, young people will always look for a way out. Better this than armed robbery or thuggery anyway.
What do you think the government can do to help the industry?
The government doesn't need to help the entertainment industry; the industry can help the government alleviate the burden of unemployment on the country. The government just needs to see what they are losingn. Without the government, the showbiz industry got global recognition. The government should just bring in distribution structures and legit means for entertainers to get revenue for their hard work and in the process, get their own commissions through tax. If government fails to see the power and push and take advantage like America revolutionised the world through television and hip hop, then entertainers will just continuously barrage our public space with junk and juice.
Do you support the call for the government to put the entertainment industry under the Culture and Tourism ministry?
Someone advised him wrongly.
How do you mean?
Culture is too huge to even be considered as sharing functions. These mergers are the reason some ministries don't function properly. Entertainment is huge, very huge. If you look into the different spheres of entertainment, then disciplines within that sphere, then genres you will realise that it needs not be merged. More so, even if merged, what precisely would they be doing with entertainment? What are the principles in place? What is their modus operandi? What do they plan to achieve? What is the immediate and long term goal? For a ministry of entertainment to even work, you first have to empower the present practitioners, then initiate an academic angle to it. Nollywood is churning out junk movies because there’s no curriculum vitae in any higher institution that encourages any young person to go to school and study script writing. There is no school offering disc jockeying, there is no citadel where you learn music video directing. Until there is structure, entertainment will stay the same.
Don’t you think piracy is the cause of that?
No Sir. People see what you continuously make available to them to see. Nollywood is not making what everyone wants to see. People love quality but in the process of managing costs, most of them churn out junks. My complain is not in picture quality rather the content and writing. If you say that junk is what people want to see, how come the cinemas are full when ‘Fast and Furious 7’ premieres yet, Nigerian movies don't sell out. ‘30 days in Atlanta’ sold out without compromising on quality, which means some elements in their ‘die hard greedy and make money quick schemes’ are not ready to sacrifice and take the necessary steps for a movie to be done properly. Once there is structure and learned people are at the helms of affairs, such people will withdraw into the background for progress to take the front seat
What is your stand on comedians using their audience for jokes rather than entertain them?
Only a lazy comedian will do that. I totally snub the habit. It’s quite unhealthy to the trade.
Do you mean you have never done that before?
No, I don't. I even ignore hecklers who throw jibes just to get attention. It’s not my flow and pattern. I go with a purpose to serve at functions not to inconvenience my client.
Have you ever been embarrassed on stage before?
Never, and I pray not to be thus embarrassed.
What is your take about the electoral process and which party do support?
I am not involved in or discuss politics. It adds no value to my brand.
But some of you colleagues have been campaigning for different candidate and their bank accounts being credited?
And how do you think a brand should be, driven by political exploits or integrity? I don't believe in parties rather in individuals. I supported Buhari and Osinbajo all the way but that does not mean I should move into camp with them. Most of those entertainers right now cannot buy back their pedigree and integrity from a disappointed fan base.
What other business are you into apart from entertainment?
Entertainment is a job I do as an entertainer just like an average person does their work. I feel fulfilled with all I do. Till date, I have produced three movies, released 10 music albums, hosted my annual comedy shows for six years, travelled in the line of duty, met people, impacted in lives and generation. Nothing more brings me joy above these exploits. I don't do any other thing but to entertain.
Why are you rarely seen at comedy shows, or is it about a cabal?
If I am invited, I attend shows. I was on all of AY's shows for his first three editions. This does not have cabal implications. Close affiliations naturally carry into professional outlook. Basketmouth is closer to Bovi and Buchi so most naturally he would work closely with them more. Same with myself and Owen Gee and others. We all collaborate with one another at one point or the other.
Why go into music after being a successful comedian?
It is about brand extension. I have always done music alongside my humour. My 10th album drops in May. It is my other medium of expression, not choice. Value added to reach my fans farther than comedy can reach.