By Lucy Nnaji
Fast rising actor and skit maker, Ekene Smith, who just returned from the United Kingdom, has introduced a new comedy series tagged: ‘The Comic Satire of a Bus Passenger’.
In this interview, he talked about the new show and his experiences performing comedy in the United Kingdom. Excerpts:
How did you come up with this concept?
The idea started during my last visit to the United Kingdom for a comedy show. During my stay there, I was opportune to tour the city through their transport system. Coming back to Nigeria was a different ball game, as we all know how our transport system is here. The drama between passengers and conductors, the challenge of missing your way and getting wrong direction from passersby, the frustration and the drama in general that we face on a daily basis, but you hardly have these challenges in the UK. So, I decided to pick out all those challenges to see how we can address them, and also see how we can help improve the system, in a comic way.
Tell us about your show in the UK.
I had a beautiful time on stage, distinctively sharing my experiences and cracking environmental and social friendly jokes. I also had a great time connecting with Nigerians living abroad. They were excited to see me, and more importantly, to listen to my jokes. Some went the extra mile in appreciating my performance with some gifts. However, being my first time, coping with the weather wasn’t that easy, but I later adjusted. At some point, I felt like being far away from home, but seeing Nigerians working hard and coming out to support what I do, was a big motivation. It was like a dream come true, connecting with great comics from different parts of the world.
Who influenced your choice of comedy as a career?
My elder brother, Emeka Smith, who is a popular comedian inspired me. He made me love comedy. I worked as his Personal Assistant when I completed my secondary school education. I learnt the craft, and through him I had the opportunity to mingle with lots of comedians. I chose to be a comedian because it gives me the opportunity to engage people with beautiful jokes.
What measures do you think should be put in place to make comedy more lucrative in Nigeria?
The measures should include creating better structures for content monetization, and creating platforms for talented youths to flourish.
There are thousands of talented youths out there, they need to be given the opportunity to be seen and heard.
Aside comedy, what else do you do?
Aside comedy, I work as a brand influencer to small and large-scale businesses. I also work as head of logistics for an entertainment company, Sea Grin Media. As a content provider, I write scripts for movies and television series. I recently got an endorsement deal with a company, Onpoint Sales.
Are you in a relationship?
No, I’m not ready yet.
What’s your vision for the future?
My Positive Youth Foundation is all about creating awareness for self-discovery through technology. There is a whole lot of talent in Nigeria. There is one thing for God to bless you with talent; there is another thing for you to give back with that same talent. I feel it is time for me to give back through this Foundation. Also, I see myself hosting my own comedy shows in Nigeria and abroad. I want to extend my online comedy series to cable channels and other bigger platforms. I want to continue to create new jokes that will cut across.