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I cannot throw myself on stage like P Square ' Koffi

Published by Nigerian Compass on Fri, 10 Feb 2012

Koffi Idowu Nuel is popular in the Nigerian comedy industry. Apart from being a stand-up comedian, he is also an actor, musician.He is also the head of the Workerman Movement (aka Workerholiks) a music group made up of Koffi, Affroholik, Outshine, Yeankeyz, and Boomerang. In this interview with MOSES KADIRI, the Chemistry graduate from University of Lagos (UNILAG), Akoka, speaks on his love for comedy, his project and how he would not perform on stage just like some of his colleagues, and among other issues. Excerpt:Many people know you as a stand-up comedian, an actor, and you are also into music, why do you have to do all these'Basically, I must be open to you. It is only in this part of the world that entertainers are usually put in a particular place. They are not allowed certain expressions whether or not it is their main profession. If you check the global picture, you will see that the likes of Jimmy Fox, they started as sitcom actors before they become full blown comedians.It is when they became popular that people know that their first love was music. Bill Cosby won three Oscars and three Grammy for music album, Chris Rock has an album, Jackie Chan has an album since 1986 and he has won several awards as a musician in his country. The difference here is that once we picture someone as this act, you feel that it is all that they can do. I personally do music as a passion to further enlarge my coast and reach certain places that I cannot reach. That is why I do music. However there are certain things that I cannot say as a comedian and there are certain places I cannot go physically as a comedian. For instance my Togolese people, they like the brand Koffi, but I cannot speak humour in Togo, but anytime I sing and they buy my songs, they feel connected. Few months ago someone had a wedding in Canada, and they said they played one of my songs, Aroma. This person I am talking about is a white man. He came to Nigeria, heard Aroma and took it back to Canada and played it at his wedding reception. He said that it is the song he wants. That is one of the reasons why I cannot let the music side of me go away. I keep pushing that brand. Apart from that, music refreshes me. When new sounds come, I update it, I move on with the time.I personally do not do music like P Square, D'Banj, when they will come on the stage take the microphone and throw themselves allover the stage. No, comedy is the main brand, but music is a form of expression. That does not mean that I should disregard the air ticket or take it for granted and I should not give it the right package and status it needs. I should not abuse it, because some people live by it, but if I make it look like child's play, their profession will look like child's play. My album, Root & Roll has strong content; the video has the funny part of it, if you listen to the content; I did it the other way. Many comedians might want to sing funny, but on this whole album, there is only one funny song. If you listen from track one to the end, you will hear serious ideology. Serious mentality, that is one other way we can reach to the society. I am not supposed to be a funny person that will just talk all the time, we are suppose to be a role model.So would you say no when you are asked to perform as a musician'I am not a musician. I keep saying it, I would say no. It has been going on for a long time. Even DJ Jimmy Jat has continuously for years begged me to perform the song Aroma on stage. I did not perform on stage musically until I and Workerman Movement started doing the songs on that album, and that is you to perform, that is when you will see me perform music. It is not an everyday thing. Maybe once in a while. Some insist that Koffi when you come to my function, you must perform that your song that I like, that is one in a million. For instance I go to social function and it is someone's 50th birthday and he says I like this your Happy Birthday song, please sing it for me, I would sing it, but not that they will gather all of us for a concert and I am representing as the musician of the day, no, I am not that confused. I would not confuse my audience. I will never do that. Comedy is the brand, the music part of me is a passion. As we speak four albums are in line, they are ready. I just took some time off not to push them out together. I have one as a special Marshal, Moto Music, because I am Road Safety Marshal. I have Gospel Truth to thank God for all that He has done for me. All of this projects are in the cooler. It is not that I cannot bring them out, I just want to give them the necessary touch, invite the right people, tell them what is going down. No matter what happens, I will never confuse myself and my audience. A lot of videos will come out, all is just to be relevance.You must have spent lots of money in this project, do you get pay back'The pay back just like I said is putting your face in people's face, that is enough pay back. It is like advertising for free, if I have to pay to do a promotion on TV, I have to go to every TV stations and pay to run that advertisement, but with a musical video, I am in your face. I do not need to pay for that, basically the pay back for me is that I am still relevant; I am still there; I am fulfilled that I am passing a message through music. I am reaching out to an audience, a teeming fan base that I cannot physically reach, people that wish they would come across me in their life time. I have met people that say, in my life time I could meet you, I love this, I love that. So for those people, you need to keep doing this; you do not need to kill it. There are people who have really idolised me; they really love what I am doing. Some people let their act fell off, somewhere along the line they just let it go, and till today, their fans will never forgive them. I have a long list of such people. I do not think, no matter how successful I become, I should let my success in one area make me throw up other elements that someone from day one really like. Some people still come to me and say that your funny song I am looking for the album. That is the passion they have for me. If they see that one has something new, they knew the fire that comes with it, they will introduce a newer generation to it, by saying look, this man has been doing this thing for years, he's original, he is the must multi-talented comedian. I know, he does it and he still does it. Basically that is why I will keep doing it. Pay back for me is being fulfilled, doing all of this and following it to the end.Nowadays every comedian wants their works to be on TV, to the extent that a whole channel is dedicated to comedy, even Mnet has a programme called Comedy Club. Is it a good thing that comedy is on the rise'When we were young, there were only three or four TV stations and this stations ran the same programmes everyday. At a point because you are a child, you cannot complain, but we have grown, we now have more TV stations. We need more content, we are complaining that content on TV is not good enough, but comedy is one content that one can keep running and get away with it because it is real. It cuts across everybody and it is direct. It brings issues directly to your face. Again it is less expensive to package certain comedy concept for programme, but what it takes to really shoot a sitcom, I am not sure you want to know half of it. That is why lots of sitcoms die on Nigeria Television Authority (NTA). What it takes to shoot a full fledged TV programme if I tell you, you will not believe. Since we shot Sense and the Silly, we have been struggling for funds to bring it out. We shot it March last year, by March this year, it will be a whole year we shot one season, yet it has not come out. It is only when a major corporation is putting money into it that it will be very easy. The Tinsel you watch now has been shot almost two years ago before it came down to local TV. That is because they had to make their money on the international scene first before they can bring it to local level. And that is because they got a local buyer to partner into it. If Etisalat had not bought into it, they probably would not run it on TV. So it takes a lot to bring content on TV, and for a lot of independent producers like myself, AY, Bunmi Davies who are trying to put comedy stuff for TV. It takes a lot, it is because we can still manage to put comedy stuff together; it is because we are working amongst ourselves, we are working with colleagues who understand what is on ground, that is why we can still manage what is going on in the industry. If they say we should put a cost to it, one would not even see anything on TV, what one would be seeing is only musical videos, and after a while one would get tired. So it is good that comedy is given right attention, and it is a welcome development that comedy is on the rise. In fact we need more comedy content so that we can have a choice and officially criticise good content. After a while we would say it is not as good as this one, and others will now sit up. Just like when we were complaining about Nollywood movies, you see that people are beginning to sit up. There has been some improvement in that sector and things are beginning to change. It is the same in the music sector, sound is improving, content would gradually shift very soon, people will wake up when there is a lot of options.
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