Ace Nigerian comedian, Bright Okpocha, popularly knows as Basketmouth, has said that the stand-up comedy trade in Nigeria is passing through hard times and might be phasing out.
According to the Abia State-born actor, unlike the music and movie industries, the Nigerian comedy sector is devoid of structure.
He spoke on the live magazine programme, The Morning Show, on AriseNews channels on Saturday, a day to his sold-out show, ‘Basketmouth Unprovoked’.
“My colleagues will agree with me that stand-up comedy in Nigeria is actually dying. The culture of stand-up comedy is bleeding terribly.
“You know, with music, they have their streaming platforms; they have a platform that supports what they do across the world. With movies, they have the same thing: they have the streaming platform. And Afrobeats broke into that space and made room for the movies. Unfortunately, for comedy, we don’t have any platforms. We don’t have comedy clubs; we don’t have any structure.
“In the United States, if comedians decide to go on tour, before they go on tour, they do comedy clubs across the states and try the materials repeatedly. But here in Nigeria, there’s no comedy club. There’s nowhere for you to practise your materials. Because this is an art, you can’t just create it and go on stage when you don’t know what the response is going to be like.
When musicians make their songs, they call different people, A&R, and ask for their feedback before feeding it to the rest of the world. But out here, you see a lot of comedians. It’s a risky game. And they’re the ones promoting the shows, looking for sponsors. The system is not built to support comedy. A lot of newbies don’t have the platform like we had,” he said.
The 45-year-old also added that he would be more involved in movies, television and music as he plans to quit active stand-up comedy business in five years to coincide with his 50th anniversary.