How I made my first million naira –Alibaba

Nigerian stand – up comedian , Alibaba , has shared a story of how he made his first N 1 m in the industry.Alibaba , whose real name is Atunyota Alleluya Akpobome , recently marked his 30 th anniversary on stage .

In a press briefing recently , the ace comedian reflected on his journey into the entertainment industry, saying he had to convince his family to embrace his craft in the early years of his career .

“ Since I discovered my talent , I have worked to see that a lot more could be done with it . My growth in the last 30 years has been in phases . The first phase was when I discovered my talent in Ekpoma ( in Edo State ) in 1998 . Between that time and 1993 , I had to convince my family that comedy what was what I wanted to do .

“ I figured I had to build awareness and embrace opportunities; I had to promote my talent through television stations , night clubs, universities and newspaper houses . After so much promotion , by 1998 , I had built some momentum , and the commercialisation of my comedy took place .

“ In 1996 , I joined Guinness to promote a brand and that was when I made my first N 1 m . It gave me the strength to continue and I realised that there was more to my talent . Between 1998 and 2003 , I started commercialising comedy ; I had to get an office , register my business, brand and network.

“ In the fourth phase, I started diversifying by writing and speaking . I used to do stage plays as well , but I figured I wasn ’ t going to make as much money as I wanted ( from it ) , so I devoted my time to stand – up comedy alone.

“ Between 2008 and 2013 , I realised it was time to consolidate my career . We had to build institutions, create structures and also work towards having a media empire . Within that time , I started organising my comedy shows . There was a need to reposition myself as the frontline comedian. In 2016 , I performed comedy for six hours because I wanted something that would spread around the social media space , ” he said .

The comedian also spoke about the memorable lessons life had taught him in the last 30 years . He also explained why many people refer to him as the father of stand – up comedy .

“ It taught me that whatever I do to be successful , there was a need for me to also make others successful by opening doors for people . When I started doing stand – up comedy , there were no one doing it at the time ; however , there were masters of ceremonies who dabbled into comedy like Bisi Olatilo, and Tunji Shotimirin . These people were plying the trade a bit but they were not fully into stand – up comedy .

“ When I came on the scene , I devoted my time fully to stand – up comedy . I continued to struggle in the career path because I knew I would make it a commercial success. And because of this , I had a head start . This could justify why people call me the father of stand – up comedy , ” he said .

When asked about his jokes about former President Olusegun Obasanjo and how the ex – President used to laugh over them ; he noted that he had been hosting events for bigwigs in the Nigerian military before making jokes about him .

“ The ex – President , Obasanjo , wasn ’ t just promoting me; he recognised stand – up comedy and gave it a boost. After a while , he got used to me and started recommending me for events he attended . A lot of state governors , who used to attend those presidential dinners , used to invite me to their events . For him to have the thick skin to accommodate my jokes about him made them feel comfortable with me.

“ I felt comfortable performing in front of military men because I had done events for military chiefs like Sani Abacha , Ibrahim Babangida and Tunde Idiagbon . When I performed at military barracks , I could get away with some things because I knew the ropes . I studied the origin of stand – up comedy and I knew it started with the blacks . I knew how to tell jokes without offending anybody . I knew there was a thin line between being funny and being offensive, ” he said .

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