16 February 2019

Nigeria: Stand-Up Comedy is Dying in Nigeria - Basket Mouth

It was an engaging discourse at the Viacom International Media Networks Africa's (VIMN Africa) forum at recently concluded Social Media Week Lagos to discuss the future of content in Africa.

A-list comedian, Bright Okpocha, popularly known as Basketmouth, joined a panel of communication experts on the theme: 'Music, Content and Consumer Experiences: Changing The African Narrative'.

The comedian shared his inspirational story and touched on the need for Nigerian content creators to create content that not only strikes a chord with their target audience but also outlives the creator. Here's what he said: "While it is good for us to evolve, we have to remember to make content that has substance. We need to understand our target audience and what they need."

Speaking about the comedy scene in Nigeria, Basketmouth appreciated the efforts of Comedy Central, a property of Viacom, in creating a platform not only for traditional stand-up comedians but also trendy one minute skits comedians. Basketmouth, however, noted that while he has no problem with the new generation of Instagram comedians, he still does not see enough comedians taking time to hone the craft of stand-up comedy. Expressing his displeasure with comedians who take the easy route of only creating skits, Basketmouth said: "There's nothing like a good joke. A joke can always be improved and even I often share some of my jokes with fellow comedians and they tell me it's okay but tell me how to make it better. Doing skits on social media is very different from performing on stage. There is no filter on stage."

Basketmouth also urged upcoming acts to work on their content and create a fan base for themselves before approaching brands and demanding showcase opportunities. In addition to honing their craft and building their engagement, Basketmouth also encouraged consistency because opportunity for the next big gig might just be a view away. "Create content that is buyable. All you need is good content and it will sell by itself."

The riveting panel session had about 100 people in attendance and touched on everything from creating content in the evolving music industry to how content creators can position themselves to make profit from their craft.

With over 20,000 attendees across the week and an online social reach of 646 million, Social Media Week Lagos is now considered Africa's largest digital media and tech event.

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