Nothing wins the heart faster than a soul with effortless doses of good humour, crowd cheering, others falling off their chairs laughing and crying uncontrollably, as they lose themselves to the magic of good old humour, which in the end gets topped up with a standing ovation from an overwhelmed audience, impressive as it sounds not all self acclaimed comedians can beat their chest bragging about this kind of influence.
However we present one of the very few comedy guru’s who can boast of attaining that feat, he is undoubtedly one of Nigeria’s reckonable force in the comedy zone and beyond, Ladies and Gentlemen Bright Okpocha aka Basketmouth.
– Has Basketmouth always been extroverted?
I have always been a private person, very shy and an introvert, however due to the life and career I chose, it had to be traded, I am not complaining as this new me and life is beautiful.
– Is the persona “Basketmouth” and Bright as an individual intertwined or
do you switch consciously when you want to tell your jokes?
Bright created Basketmouth, they are one and the same, although they display different characters and behavior, when I am on stage I am Basketmouth and when I am at home with my friends and family I am Bright.
Although once in a while Basketmouth pops out as we are both being controlled by the same brain, most times I just want to be Bright, sometimes I forget I am Basketmouth, I get called back to reality by a scream of my trade name, that’s when I realize that it’s not cool for Basketmouth to be buying roasted plantain and groundnut on the road side……but the who cares? It’s the life I was born into.
– What was your childhood like?
My childhood was the normal and typical childhood of any kid that was born in Ajegunle and schooled in Apapa, then later lived in Kirikiri town. My parents were amazing, they made this happen, everything I am and will ever be was given to me my God through them.
– Do you ever struggle with creativity when trying to come up with a
Everyone struggles with creativity, it’s not like manufacturing soda or biscuit, those items can be produced with 20million looking and tasting the same. [but] with the art I am into, it can’t be the same, it has to change on every deliver and appearance, we in Nigeria and Africa don’t have writers like in the western world, so here we are faced with building our brand ourselves, promoting it, sustaining it, keeping it relevant and continually coming up with creative ideas to make the brand relevant and accepted.
Luckily, some of us are blessed by God so we never run dry and even when we do which is natural, there is always reserve and after a while God comes in with another truck load of creativity.
– Does being funny come naturally to an individual or it’s something you develop?
It’s natural, it can only be developed when the talent is there, you can’t learn how to be funny, it’s a gift. it’s not like banking and all these other professions that all you need is to go to school, study hard and graduate with flying colors, here….there is no school, no exam….nothing.
I say this because with other profession when you are stuck with a hard situation on your desk, you can pick up a book or go online, with comedy, when you are on stage faced with the crowd, you are on your own, you are left with your wits, talent, spontaneity and timing, so you must have the gift inside you and build on it, develop it and master the craft.
– Do you get frustrated when people expect you to be always funny?
No I don’t, I am immune to such demands.
– What’s the biggest mistake any comedian can ever make?
To be dry on stage.
– What was your most embarrassing moment?
When I had a not to [good] performance on stage……about 8yrs ago – It was not a bad performance but I got distracted and I didn’t have a comeback. Lesson learned.
– What has been your most difficult performance?
Nothing good comes easy, besides….God has been very partial with me.
– Do you think the comedy industry is developing as it should, (If not, what are the challenges)?
It is improving quite well, so far so good we have been able to build it to where it is collectively, we have challenges, challenges that affect all art in Nigeria, from music, comedy, movies, poetry, dancing etc.
Piracy is one major factor, then we don’t have a proper structure, where people can go and display their talent; they have the Apollo in the UK and USA, in the states they have comedy clubs, from the Improve, comedy store, laugh factory, here what we have are bars and they use one of the nights as a comedy club. God de…..one day na one day.
– How do you draw the line between teasing and abusing so the person doesn’t get offended?
I don’t abuse people, I tease in a mild way, never below the belt, for me….I place myself and family as the joke, it’s a common fact that people prefer laughing at other people than laughing at themselves or have people laughing at them.
– What’s an actual day in Basketmouth’s world?
I am very random, it hardly rhythmical, sometimes I wake up, stay in bed and work from my room…in bed, sometimes I wake up..go to the office and end up having drinks with friends, now this doesn’t remove the morning prayers, exercise and all…..well not that I am religious with my exercise though, but I am easy.
– When did you have your first crush?
when I was in primary school, her name was Grace, our head mistress daughter, then I got another crush….Yinka, then it went on and on, never spoke to any of them though, i was just loving from far, when i am done i go home and sleep.
– What’s the most remarkable thing about your wife?
– Future for Basketmouth?
Doing what I do, keeping it strong, expanding the trade, branching off into other stuff other than entertainment, host concerts, comedy festivals etc. I just want to be successful.
– How has the reception been since getting back to the music scene?
I never went back into music, i just tried to finish a journey I started years ago, I am yet to complete that journey.
– What are you currently working on?
Lords of the ribs with Cedric the entertainer, African Kings of comedy tour, Basketmouth Uncensored ‘Dual Personality’, the Basketmouth show, a comedy movie and a reality comedy TV competition. I know it’s a lot, I am not planning on doing all at the same time, step by step. Stay tuned.