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Quick Q+A with: Basketmouth

AMBITION: Basketmouth has big plans

FANCY SPENDING Valentine’s Day laughing your butt off? Basketmouth is offering just that, with his new comedy show #Basketmouth- Valentine taking place on Valentine’s Day at the SSE Arena in Wembley.

The Nigerian comedian is known for his longevity in the game, and after 15 years of comedy success, Basketmouth is not stopping yet.

As a pioneer of Nigerian comedy bringing his hilarious material centre stage in February, Basketmouth spoke to Life & Style about the show and the future of African comedy.

L&S: What has the production process been like in preparation for your show at Wembley Arena?

B: The production process has been great; partially because I’ve been working with my team for 10 years and this is the project they’ve put the most into. Everything is going as planned, and I foresee a very successful show, as far as promotion, production and execution go.

L&S: You’re definitely popular amongst the African and Caribbean community. Do you have an interest in branching out into the ‘mainstream’?

B: Branching to the mainstream is the essence of the journey and struggle, but first I must learn how to crawl before I can run.

Right now, I am still crawling, and I want to continue to cater to my core audience, because they are the reason I am where I am. But going mainstream will only make my people proud.

L&S: As one of the comedians promoting Africa further on the international stage, where do you see African comedy progressing in the future?

B: As of right now, we’re doing quite well! We have an African comedian hosting the Daily Show [Trevor Noah] and some other African comedians writing on the show. It’s a gradual, organic growth, and I’m very proud. I see African comedy becoming accepted the world over, and it just means we have to continue pushing and working hard to get to that place.

L&S: Who are some of your favourite fellow African comedians? B:Ihaveaverylonglistofmy favourites! In no particular order, some of them include: Salvador, Mpho Popps, David Kau, Ndumiso Lindi, Bovi, Buchi, Kenny Blaq and there’s many more. African comedians are doing their thing right now, and I’m proud to be a part of that.

L&S: For people who have never attended a Basket- mouth show, what can they expect?

B: They should expect exactly what they would from a well- planned, well-executed comedy show: lots of humour, laughter and excitement. My style of comedy is highly eclectic, so expect anything and everything.

At the end of the day, there has been an extensive investment of time and effort to create amazing content in order to deliver a world-class event for the most important people in my life, my audience. So yes, it will be a very good event that I would say you don’t want to miss. It will be a lot of fun, so come along.

L&S: As you’ve been in the industry for more than 15 years, how do you feel comedy has changed for you in terms of the material you use?

B: My material is driven by information, especially as it is even more accessible in the digital age. This has made my mate- rial even more universal. I look to content globally, not just Africa. The way I see it, every single experience is possible material, so I keep my eyes open to everything. It’s been 19 years on this journey and there’s still a lot to learn,a lot to see and a lot of humour even in the strangest of places.

L&S: How has social media played a role in your personal growth as a comedian?

B: Social media has played a strong role in the entertainment industry in general, now that the connection between the artist and the fans is much more direct. As a public persona, exposing your art to the world is even more accessible than ever before, and it means that the world is at your fingertips and you can be seen and heard at your convenience. That naturally allows you to grow, because there’s nowhere to hide. It means great talent can’t be hidden behind prejudices – if you’ve got it, you’ve got it.

L&S: What other interests do you have alongside your career in comedy? B: All of my passions are linked to entertainment. One of the things I’m interested in doing is setting up a comedy club in Nigeria, owning a comedy TV station among many other things. The world is my oyster!

#BasketmouthValentine comedy show takes place February 14 at the SSE Arena, Wembley.

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