“I had done Laffmattaz in Lagos, I’d done about three editions but I told myself you know what, after you’re dead and gone what would you be remembered for? So I sat down and said let’s do a tour of the southwest. Let’s do what they call banking the unbanked in banking.”

Gbenga Adeyinka

Gbenga Adeyinka, the man of the people, was born in Lagos grew up in Ibadan and is currently one of the biggest names in Nigerian comedy. With his very successful Laffmattaz show, he keeps crusading for Yoruba comedians and comedians in general because the passion for the art of making people laugh cannot die, neither can it be taken for granted.

Tell us a little bit about your background and your evolution in comedy?

I was born in Lagos, but at a very important stage in my life, I came to Ibadan. I came for ‘A’ levels at the International School in Ibadan and that kind of forged my interest in comedy because all the while I was home, I watched the greats like Baba Sala and Baba Mero. For a long time, I didn’t know I was going to do comedy anyway. I got back to Lagos, went to UNILAG to study English and luckily, I was in a theatre troop called Theatre 15 and all I got to do were comic roles. Upon graduation, I was posted to Makurdi, Benue State and in camp, I had a show; we had some youth corpers who were musicians; I just came and anchored and told jokes and all that. Getting back to Lagos I realized that the comedy industry was growing. Eventually, I bumped into Akin Akindele and years later I bumped into Ali Baba, got a big event from him and the rest like they say, is history.

Why did you decide to do Laffmattaz and what moved you to extend the show to Ibadan?

I had done Laffmattaz in Lagos, I had done about three editions but I told myself, "you know what? after you’re dead and gone what would you be remembered for?" So I sat down and said, let’s do a tour of the southwest. Let’s do what they call ‘banking the unbanked in banking’.  Let’s take premium comedy to where it’s ordinarily not available. Let’s replicate a Lagos in Ibadan, let’s do it in Osogbo, let’s do it in Abeokuta, and let’s do it in Ijebu, etc. There was a year I said I was not going to come back to Ibadan because somebody went online and was just mouthing off, funny enough the guy is now…

It’s an attempt to build a name, and an attempt to build new comedy icons and not just in Lagos.

What will be different about your show this time?

The ambiance is going to be mad; the pre-show in itself is a show.  Let me give you something that might happen. There is going to be a money booth, people will go in and pick up paper equivalents of the Naira. There is a VVIP lounge, where you get VVIP experience even before the show. I also have a surprise that will happen; one of my role models is going to make a cameo and I’m over excited about the show.

What do you want people to know about comedy and your passion for your work as a comedian?

I‘m not being tribalistic when I say this but I would love to see a lot more Yoruba comedians do well.  I anchored an event in Lagos yesterday, Oduaga was the chairman and he said, “Dis tin whey dem dey do na Warri e start” and I said, “Your Excellency, I’m sorry o! It didn’t start in Warri o; Baba Sala is not a Warri man! We went back and forth on it. The misconception is that comedy is not Yoruba and that’s a lie.

What is your vision after Laffmataz? You’ve conquered comedy. So what are you conquering next?

There’s still so much to be done. You’ve heard of Brila 88.9FM the sports radio? They use comedy to push it. We’ve not done an original comedy film in Nigeria by comedians - not by actors and actresses. We don’t have comedy radio, we don’t have comedy TV, and everybody uses comedy to push things. Maybe that’s what I might be thinking about.

I know you’re a Lagosian but we’re just going to claim you as an Ibadan man at heart. I’m assuming you like amala, so what’s your favorite amala joint when you visit?

For the sake of all you ‘toosh’ people, I like Skye lolo.

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