22 December 2012

Nigeria: Hunger Drove Me Into Comedy - Omojesu

The name OmoJesu may not ring a bell to an average entertainment enthusiast but to those who follow the fast rising comedy industry, he is one of those that have carved a niche for himself as a gospel comedian. Recently, the self-acclaimed prophet of comedy, Daniel Isiwele from Edo State spoke to KAZEEM YEKEEN on how he got into comedy, the challenges and others issues.

Daniel Isiwele, aka OmoJesus. is a young man who could be said to have gone on a self discovery course on purpose. He has strived to make a name for himself in the comedy industry and it seems to be paying off at least for someone who has given ten undiluted years to doing comedy. He says, "I came into comedy through self-motivation.

Comedy began for me after I received a word 'discover to recover' by a motivational speaker and Daystar church pastor, Niyi Adesanya. This took me five years to get over with. I kept thinking, what is that thing that is in me that I can work with and I won't study for. Later I discovered that any time my friends were doing their birthdays, they always called me to act as the master of ceremony for them.

People will call me and won't pay me for the shows. I now packaged myself and took comedy as a career. I will boldly say that there is no born comedian; you can only see a born talker and any angle that you direct it to will now work for you. For me, I began to add varieties of comedy to my acts and from there I started doing comedy and the thing became part of me. If you see me now, you will think I was born with it."

Becoming a comedian was not rosy for Daniel Isiwele as he had to pass through frustrations and dissatisfactions here and there trying to make a living. "I discovered comedy as a result of hunger. If not for the frustrations I got in my office, I would not have been searching for knowledge here and there. Because of that hunger, I started searching for knowledge and through knowledge, I discovered myself. I worked as an electrical and technical engineer because I studied electrical engineering while I was in higher institution. After graduating, I went into secular jobs for about ten years.

While I was working, I discovered that I was living on borrowing. They were paying me N17, 500 and before the month ran out I would have borrowed up to N10, 000 and at the end of the month, they will give me the balance of N7, 500. I was just living a life of borrowing. These and many other frustrations from my job led me into being a comedian.

Now the story is different as the self-styled humorist has done a couple of gigs through the years and enjoying the trade. He said, Basically it's going up to ten years now that I have been into comedy professionally. I presented a program on a Lagos TV, Galaxy Television for three years called Caller Café. I was the producer as well. I have been able to register a company, Laughter Motives.

I have done Laughs and Holy Live with OmoJesu which is annually and also another show with a comedian, Koffi. I have released Laugh and Be Holy with OmoJesu in 2006 and in 2007, I dropped comedy explosion volume 1 and I have actually to my credits, a sixteen tracks musical album and two comedy audio Cds. I am grateful to God. Combining comedy with music is creativity.

In fact, I am working on a song title Mr. No Nonsense for the young generations because I discover that nowadays we have neglected the teens and most of our jokes are not addressing their challenges. What makes me different from other comedians is that I do reality jokes. I do jokes to regulate the irregularities in the Christendom because I am a gospel branded comedian. Though, I do musical and corporate events ,but I am a Christian comedian.

OmoJesu discloses why he is the self acclaimed prophet of comedy. "Yes, I acclaim myself as the prophet of comedy right now because comedy is a calling while to be an MC is a profession to me. I just discovered that the Lord was beginning to put in me prophetic inspired words and being a comedian, I have been working on it. There are so many things I say that you will think are jokes but at a point became a serious issue. So that was why I began to develop the idea that I have a prophetic calling. Since then, I have become a comedian by calling and profession."

With the array of contemporary comedian, a career popularized by the famed Allibaba, there is competition among the comic acts. In the midst of this Is OmoJesu fulfilled? "Yes and I am proud to be one of the comedians in Nigeria today. Comedy has put food in my mouth and money in my pocket. Now I am presently doing my house project. I have done things with comedy which I cannot mention. So, I don't have any regret on being a comedian.

With all humility, I have performed before the 36 State governors. The event was Compass Governor's Awards. Compass Newspapers organized the event at Hilton hotel in Abuja and Princess and I were the comedians who hosted the event. It was a live program on television. In the next few years, I want to break through international events and already they have started coming in gradually.

I have done several shows both in and outside Lagos and also performed with Ali Baba and so many top notch comedians. My advice for upcoming comedians is that they should be self-motivated and determined. They should be sure that they have the talent and also know that they are called to do what they are doing. If you are convinced, then you should keep doing it with passion", he averred.

Lastly, he speaks about his family and personality. "OmoJesu is married and blessed with two kids. I have a National Diploma in electrical engineering at Yaba College of Technology, and I am a B.SC holder in Marketing from the Lagos State University. My personality is simple. I am just a young corporate man that likes doing anything creative."

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