Ameh Suleiman Sule, popularly known by his stage name Mc Grandpapa, is an award-winning comedian from Kogi State. His comedy addresses societal ills, he also speaks on why he does original skits.
Weekend Magazine: How did your comedy career begin?
Ameh Suleiman Sule: I began my comedy career through watching ‘Night of a Thousand Laugh’ which happened to be a great comedy show on screen. I was enticed by the performance of senior comedians at the show. I decided to venture into it, and I started trying it at club meetings in my secondary school days. I was getting it right little by little. I then gathered other like minds and colleagues, and we began writing to schools and colleges to come and entertain them.
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I came up with the idea because we needed to build ourselves, and surprisingly it worked. From there I started creating more contents I am very funny on stage and on set, but in real life I am very humble and quiet.
WM: How do you get your comedy ideas?
Sule: I get ideas sometimes from situations/events happening around me. Other times, I get content through imagination. That is, I just think of some imaginable or unimaginable things and try to make a joke out of it. Trending news is also a hub for new content, and all that. So, ideas keep coming from different angles. Again, whenever I watch my role model(s) perform, I usually develop new content and navigate my own angle from the performance. Above all, I look up to God to keep giving me new ideas.
WM: Did you originally plan on becoming a comedian or were you compelled by some factors to become one?
Sule: I was not compelled by any factor. I have a BSc in Accounting from the Kogi State University, and often joke with the following statement – “I am an accountant by profession but became a comedian due to lack of job”. But that is a joke. I have always loved comedy and nothing could divert me from it. I have a passion for it and I’m doing it with all I have. Comedy then became a serious business for me and not just a jamboree. Moreover, since I put smile on peoples’ faces through it, it gives me satisfaction. Hence, making a living through comedy is seen as a great achievement to me because this is who and what I want to be.
WM: Why did you choose skit comedy over stand-up comedy since your motivation was ‘Night of a Thousand Laugh’, which is a stand-up comedy show?
Sule: No, I am not just a skit comedian. I started as a stand-up comedian and combined it with being a compere which we popularly call Master of Ceremony (MC). I was doing that many years before I began comedy videos. I began shooting comedy videos in 2015, that was after my graduation from the university. I was doing English comedy videos until 2019 when I used Igala language in my video for the first time which was tagged ‘ÓLA XENOPHOBIA’. That practically changed the narrative for me. It became another considerable breakthrough and I have developed more ideas after that. So, in a nutshell I am a stand-up comedian as well, and I have had good deliveries over the years at any event I perform as a comedian.
WM: Apart from comedy, what other aspect of entertainment are you into?
Sule: Apart from comedy, I can dance and sing. I even started entertainment with music, until a friend of mine told me my comedy was better than the music I was doing. So, I decided to drop music and continue with comedy. I still dance to entertain audience during my stage performances. I am a complete entertainer since I do almost everything in entertainment, apart from DJ work.
WM: What are the challenges you face in your comedy career/production?
Sule: Talking about challenges, they do not stop coming. Most of the challenges in comedy career is platforms. My career as a comedian has faced many challenges like limited platforms. I need to be frequently attending events and entertaining people. But it is limited because I need to get wider recognition. Another one is lack of financial support. If individuals and group/government can invest in me, I will do better than I have done. Again, sophisticated equipment to shoot videos is another challenge. Nonetheless, I have been working with some group of friends who are very supportive in their own little way. By and large, I have good set of friends in the entertainment industry, and it is always a great experience working with them. Permit me to say I have the best crew for now.
WM: What message do you pass across through your comedy, and what do you intend to address in the society?
Sule: I try to use my comedy to address vices in the society. Though my videos are to entertain, inform and educate people, yet they still address some societal ills. That is why my content attracts people and large followership and it has been multiplying. Any time someone posts or shares my video, their followers will automatically begin to follow me too.Thanks to friends and fans who constandly posts and share my videos.
WM: Many people believe that making a breakthrough in comedy today is not as easy as it used to be due to proliferation. How do you cope with this and how did you overcome?
Sule: I remain afloat due to my believe and positive focus. Uniqueness has been the major hub for me. I always think of things that no one has done before and do it. Originality is thus one good factor for my breakthrough in comedy. My works are free from plagiarism. So, my audience always have something new to enjoy. Overcoming the negative thinking is the number one priority and I am always positive about my comedy career.
WM: What have you been doing to develop comedy in your home state of Kogi and your Igala extraction?
Sule: I have inspired many younger comedians in several ways. I always feature my fellow ‘Kogites’ in videos and in my live events. If I invite 15 guest comedians, 13 of them are from Kogi. I also do my best to project the Igala tribe by shooting some videos in Igala language. I also code mix the language in my stage performances. In the comedy industry, I have tried to project my state of origin and my tribe. My state Kogi and my tribe Igala have a lot of influence on me as a person. So, I can’t do without them. I can only extend my tentacles when I have a strong root. That is why I have never hidden my identity as a Kogi origin.
WM: How do you communicate or connect with your fans?
Sule: I communicate with my fans by mostly doing live chat on my social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. I also connect with them during my live events. I see a lot of them when going to public places like banks, schools, communities, etc. But I cannot reach out to all of them. I have one message for them, which is ‘I love them and I am glad to have them all as fans’.
WM: How will you compare the pioneer Nigerian comedians with the present-day comedians?
Sule: Let me say the pioneer comedians were very few then, so there was no much competition. But it is more competitive now. If you check social media, new comedians are being discovered on a daily basis. Due to social media and availability of electronic devices, someone can just wake up today and say he wants to become a comedian. I know how many people have called me to seek advice. So, it was very easy for them then but not as lucrative as it is now. There are lots of differences between us. The older comedians still have mind-blowing contents that new ones wish to have.
WM: How do you place comedy in the entertainment industry in Nigeria?
Sule: I think comedy is indispensable as far as the entertainment industry in Nigeria is concern. For example, for a movie to be livelier, the writer will add comic scenes. For music videos to gain attention and trend, the director will need to add comic scenes/lines. For dance performance to be fascinating, there is need to add funny moves in the dance. Therefore, I place comedy as number one in the entertainment industry. Comedy is the most important sector in the entertainment industry; I am proud to be a comedian.
WM: Who is your role model in comedy and why?
Sule: My role model is Basket Mouth. He is very intelligent and I love intelligent jokes. He can create something out of nothing. For example, his jokes that really got me was the one he tagged ‘Two things are involved’ and ‘The Adam and Eve adventure’, and so on. He has won many awards home and abroad. I like him a lot.