A stand up comedian, an event compere, a theatre enthusiast and a dynamite on and off stage, Segun Ogundipe aka Lafup is a thorough professional in every sense of the word. Throughout this interview he struck me as a man who knew his stuff and that can be mostly credited to his educational background – he is a theatre arts alumnus from the University of Ibadan. He is the organizer for LafUp Live, the annual rib cracking comedy event that takes place every December in Ibadan. The multi-talented comedian in this interview talks about himself and what the funny business means to him.


Of all the routes you could have taken, why stand up comedy?


I have always been interested in things that are 'happy' and funny. I love comedy because it’s the one place where I feel most comfortable even when I’m naked. I've tried dance, I've tried music but stand up comedy was the only thing that really set me up. It was what sold me to the entire university of Ibadan and outside the shores of the country.


What was the first event you handled?


First time I tried my hand at being an MC was in 1999. My sister and I are both December born so we decided to throw a birthday party on Boxing Day since both our parents were not around. I was very excited mostly because I had this pair of FUBU shoes I've been wanting to show off but the only problem was the MC we got didn't look the part. I mean he was wearing slippers which basically turned me off and everyone from our street was there. So I said no, you can't wear slippers, I'm wearing FUBU. I asked for the microphone and that was it.


How did that turn out?


Retrospectively speaking, I said some very boring jokes that day. People didn't laugh and if they did, they probably did because I had home advantage. Funny thing was that someone from the next street who heard what I did later approached me and asked me to anchor his event so maybe it wasn't that bad.



What would you say you have done right in your career that has gotten you to where you are today?


Firstly, I believe a 100% in the grace of God and that everything is preordained. My drive has always been my passion to deliver and my willingness to go all the way, so much that I have spent a lot of my own money just to make sure things go as they should. Even when things aren't looking up, I keep pushing.


Who is your biggest inspiration when you come up with your material?


My mum. Growing up, she told me a lot of funny stories that I incorporated into my jokes early on in my career. When I got into comedy, I realized that you must have an original source where you dig from, a place that is originally you and for me, that place is my mum.


Before the advent of social media, you were the protagonist for the 'Ibadan Jokes' genre of comedy that is today a mainstay in Nigerian comedy. What inspired you towards that direction?


Getting into this line of work, I realized that the only way to break through was to do things nobody else was doing. I noticed back then that most people were doing Warri jokes even though most were not from there. I love Ibadan and I consider myself very much an Ibadan boy which was why I decided to explore that area and it turned out to be a resounding hit.


What is the place of comedy in our society today compared to when you started?


Comedy affects every strata of our life. From stand up comedy to sketches or skits, comedy has become the only surviving platform for theatre lovers in 21st century Nigeria. There is so much hurt in the world right now, so much terrorism that some people always want to lighter part of it. Brands also recognize this so much they leverage on comedy to promote sales and products which is one of the reasons why there are many comedian brand ambassadors in the country right now.



Do you think comedians and artists in the entertainment industry are using their voice in the right way?


It is unfortunate that the country no longer has true artists like the Wole Soyinkas and the Fela Anikulapos. George Carlin said that it is the job of the comedian to see where the line is drawn and then deliberately cross it. Comedians have always been lucky as we can subtly address controversial issues without any backlash and that is what we need to keep doing.


Favourite book?


If there was ever any book that has helped me shape my life it'll be The Principle of Power & Vision by Myles Monroe.

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