Hilarious Tunde Adewale also known as Tee A is the founder of First Class Entertainment, an independent television production outfit, with emphasis on entertainment. The first Nigerian comedian to stage a one man stand up comedy concert 12 years back. He has performed at the world famous Hackney Empire Theatre in 2001 and he is the first Nigerian comedian to wax an album in comedy. Tee A is also the first African comedian to be invited for the California comedy conference. Senior Reporter, Anthonia Soyingbe, met with him recent at an event and the good-looking comedian opened up on many issues.
In the past your fans and celebrities always look forward to the annual Celebrity Old School party, how true is it that you rested it because of fund?
It is a product of my TV show – Showtime Africa. It is an entertainment news programme. We rested the programme to go and repackage it. So when the TV show come back on air, its baby Celebrity Old School Party will come back on air. The party can’t hold without the TV show.
How is life treating you now?
Life is good and rich. I can’t complain, rather I thank God for his mercies and provisions. I just finished shooting a new season of my TV show, and we are hoping to shoot some other segments of the show.
Most comedians now tend to have TV shows, what is the idea behind this?
It is just another way of promoting your brand and bringing your brand closer to your fans. It is really not about the money because sometimes you do those shows and you lose a lot of money, and sometimes you make profit. My TV show helps me to get closer to my fans on TV. It is all about building the brand and bringing the brand closer to a very large audience.
Are you one of those who delved into entertainment industry because of fame?
Comedy chose me; I didn’t choose comedy. I wanted to be a lawyer, but along the line I saw myself in comedy. I don’t know how I came about it, but at a very early age, I’m used to make people laugh effortlessly. Then I did it for free, but I enjoyed doing it then. Later it became big and it started paying bills. I have been doing comedy professionally long before I started my campus comedy show 16 years back.
Over 16 years as a humour merchant, what are some of the challenges you encountered then, and how were you able to surmount them?
Just like any other entrepreneur in Nigeria, power failure is a big challenge. I produce programmes and I spend lots of money on diesel because of epileptic power supply. To the glory of God we have been coping with the challenges.
What does it take for one to be ever relevant in the industry, considering the fact that there is stiff competition in Nigeria’s comedy industry?
It is not a joke to remain relevant in this industry. Competition has helped me to remain relevant in the industry. I add value to my brand from time to time that is why I am still relevant in the industry. My humour emanates from a well-informed mind with a lot of depth and richness in meaning. Embedded in my humour are lessons on life, etiquettes, morality as well as social and political commentaries, which I present in a satirical manner peculiar to me alone. I do my comedy with utmost professionalism and charisma.
We have so many new entrants in the comedy industry, who are there for many reasons. Some are there because they believe they have what it takes. Aside being funny, what are the other qualities one needs to be a comedian?
It takes a lot, and it is a total package. You need the talent, your vision, your drive, packaging, attitude, attention and the details you give what you do. It is much more than being funny.
Are you one of those comedians who don’t see it as a big deal in recycling their jokes?
There is nothing like recycling joke. You don’t expect me to create a joke and say it just once. I should be able to use my joke as many times as possible. A good joke can last you a lifetime. It is my intellectual property, so I can use it as many times as I want. Everybody recycles jokes even audience recycle comedians’ jokes. So it is not a crime to recycle jokes. What distinguishes and brings out the best in you as a comedian when recycling your jokes is the ability to say a joke in different ways as much as you want. You may change the punch line, the words and other things. There is nothing bad about recycling jokes especially when they are your own creation.
Fame intoxicates easily, as a comedian how do you manage fame?
I will thank my parents and my grandparents for instilling in me the right values at a very tender age. I am a bush boy, so fame can’t intoxicate me because I know where I am coming from. This I believe has also kept me going in the industry because my background taught me that humility is paramount in life. There are many virtues I hold in life more than fame and money. My upbringing has also helped me to relate with different people irrespective of their status.