Famous Nigerian comedian and actor, Bright Okpocha, a.k.a. Basketmouth, has urged stand-up comedians in the continent to home their crafts and build fans base before seeking endorsements from brands and corporate bodies.
He was among a panel of communication experts who spoke on the theme: ‘Music, Content and Consumer Experiences Changing The African Narrative’ at Viacom International Media Networks Africa’s (VIMN Africa) forum at the Social Media Week in Lagos.
The panellists include MTV Base Africa (ROA) Senior Channel Manager, VIMN Africa, Solafunmi Oyeneye; Founder and Principal Consultant, Peaceville Entertainment Group, Ernest Audu; CEO and Chief Creative Officer at X3M Ideas Limited/X3M Music, Steve Babaeko and Publisher of Nigerian Entertainment Today/founder of BlackHouse Media and ID Africa, Ayeni Adekunle. The panel was moderated by MTV Base VJ, Folu Storms.
While sharing his inspirational ‘grass-to-grace’ story with participants, Basketmouth said there is need for Nigerian content creators to create content that not only strikes a chord with their target audience but also outlives the creator.
“While it is good for us to evolve, we have to remember to make content that has substance. We need to understand our target audience and what they need,” he said.
Speaking about the comedy industry in Nigeria, Basketmouth lauded Comedy Central, a property of Viacom, for creating a platform not only for traditional stand-up comedians but also trendy one-minute skits comedians.
He added that while he has no problem with the new generation of Instagram comedians, he still does not see enough comedians taking time to hone the craft of stand-up comedy.
He expressed his displeasure with comedians who take the easy route of only creating skits.
Basketmouth said: “There’s nothing like a good joke. A joke can always be improved and even I often share some of my jokes with fellow comedians and they tell me it’s okay but tell me how to make it better.
“Doing skits on social media is very different from performing on stage. There is no filter on stage.”
Basketmouth also urged upcoming acts to work on their contents and create a fans base for themselves before approaching brands and demanding showcase opportunities.
In addition to honing their crafts and building their engagements, he also encouraged consistency because opportunity for the next big gig might just be a view away.
“Create content that is buyable. All you need is good content and it will sell by itself,” he admonished.
With about 100 participants in attendance, the panellists discuss issues ranging from content creation in the changing music industry to how content creators can position themselves to make profit from their crafts.
It will be recalled that Basketmouth is one of the few Nigerian stand-up comedians who had worked on two VIMN Africa platforms.
In 2011, he was approached by MTV Base to host his own TV show “The Big Friday Show,” which later won the best TV show. In 2013, he also collaborated with Comedy Central as host of Live at Parker’s.
With over 20,000 attendees across the week and an online social reach of 646 million, Social Media Week Lagos is now considered Africa’s largest digital media and tech event.