By Ayo Alonge
Mark Angel and Emmanuella are hilarious duo making waves in the entertainment industry. The young, online comedians open up to TS Weekend about their career, challenges and future expectations.
Could you tell us your names?
Emmanuella: My name is Samuel Emmanuella
Mark: My name is Mark Angel. That is my real name, not just a stage name even though I used to bear Ebere. Mark Angel is my real name.
Okay, Mark Angel, tell us about your family background?
Mark: The background of my family is bush, bush, bush…
How do you mean?
Mark: I grew up in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. I come from a small family of three kids, with my parents.
How did you start up in the entertainment industry?
Mark: I dropped out of school and went to learn photography.
Why did you drop out?
Mark: I dropped out due to financial issues, and moreover, I didn’t want to study Medicine because my aunt wanted me to be a medical doctor. So, I left for photography, and from there, I went into Nollywood business, working as an MC at events. Soon, I started shooting movies with Denilson Igwe. That was how we started.
How did Emmanuella come into the scene?
Mark: Emmanuella happened to be one of the kids I was always with. There was this day we wanted to do a comedy which would require kids. So, we thought of using kids and it wasn’t playing out well. We were trying to play Mr Bee’s characters because I used to act as a clown at events. One day, we were rehearsing for a stage drama when Emmanuella, who usually came around to watch and sometimes joined in the voice training for laughter, suddenly picked interest. Someone was acting and she (Emmanuella) said she could do it. It was like she could do it better and we allowed her to do it, and when she did it, we saw that she is good and only needed training, but then, she was still very small.
How old are you Emmanuella?
Emmanuella: I am six-years-old.
Can you tell us why you like acting?
Emmanuella: I like to make people laugh and make them forget their sorrows.
Has there ever been a time someone came to you and talked about what you are doing?
Emmanuella: Yes, there was this day my friend in school told me that she likes the way I act. Her name is Love. I felt happy when she told me that.
How have you been coping with school and comedy? Is acting not affecting your studies?
Emmanuella: It is not affecting my studies. I try to cope and I am doing well in both.
What do you want to be in future?
Emmanuella: I want to be an actress and also a fashion designer.
How was the experience when you had your first stand-up comedy?
Emmanuella: I felt excited and happy. I wasn’t shy because that is not possible. I can never be shy.
How are your siblings?
Emmanuella: They are doing fine.
What your position in the family?
Emmanuella: I am the last born of the family.
Since you dropped out of school, have you ever felt like going back?
Mark: I want to go back to school to study Business or anything related to security.
Now that we know your brand as skits, what should your fans expect from you in the nearest future?
Mark: It depends on what you want. Skits may stop for a while and we are working on our movie. Apart from that, there are so many things we have been doing. It is a happy industry.
Emmanuella, how did you feel when the Igbinedion family hosted you to an in-house party in Abuja?
Emmanuella: I felt very happy.
Do you hope to meet with President Buhari one day?
Emmanuella: Yes, I will be happy to meet him because I have been eager to talk to him to reduce the price of fuel.
You said you want to be an actress, who is your role model, I mean the actress you want to be like?
Emmanuella: I like aunty Mercy Johnson that acted Dumebi and aunty Chioma Chukwuka. I like the way they act.
In the comedy industry, who do you like most?
Emmanuella: I like uncle AY and uncle Basket Mouth.
What is your best subject in school?
Emmanuella: I like Mathematics and English.
Since you came to Lagos, what challenges have you been facing?
Mark: We are a brand coming from the digital background. It has not been easy digging into the industrial environment. It is the challenge of how to do a bigger production because we need money to get results. It has also been difficult convincing people to invest in us and have confidence in us. Another challenge is that, we usually stay in our house, make a no-budget video and send it on-air, and it gains acceptance. But now, we are moving to budget-based projects. You have to make the right connection and move from your house. We need money to do bigger productions. Even as I speak, Denilson is about to quit his job because the game has gone too far, and for him to devote more time.
Will it be right to quote you that you are broke and need sponsors?
Mark: Yes, we need sponsors, basically partnership. A lot of projects are just lying there wasting. It is hard to convince people.
When last did you see your mummy?
Emmanuella: A day to my birthday and that was July 21. I am missing her.
Tell us about one naughty thing you did that made your mummy beat you?
Emmanuella: Ask my uncle (Mark Angel). I can’t remember.
Mark: I can only tell the day I beat her. That was not too long ago. She poured popcorn all over the room, and I had warned her about that.
What is your overall assessment of the Nigerian entertainment industry?
Mark: It is growing too fast; so fast that if you are not awake, you will be left behind, and one morning, you’ll wake up and see that it is not beside you anymore. It is a proactive industry and so unpredictable that we have to always be at the edge and guide against being pushed off. Again, it is a competitive industry but we aren’t out to compete with anybody. We are just on our own line to make people happy and do our thing. They want us to dress as celebrities, come out of a big car, if not, they won’t talk to you. Anyway, we are learning.
What do you want to tell your fans?
Emmanuella: I want to say a big thank you for loving, watching me and also loving and accepting Mark Angel.