Before stardom with… Ogbuefi I Go Tuk
How did your journey into comedy begin?
I started in 2000 but professionally in 2010. I had my first comedy show in 2015 in the East and from there the journey began. Recently, I got into the Lagos market when I was invited to the AY Live Show after I met Yomi Casual at Funny Bone’s untamed show. He (Yomi) introduced me to Lanre Makun at the show who in turn introduced me to AY. I was billed for a show they hosted in Asaba, Delta State, in December 2021. After the show, AY invited me to Lagos for his ‘AY Live Easter Sunday show’; that was the turning point in my career. I have been going for several shows in Abuja, Warri, Port Harcourt, and to the United Kingdom. The journey has been good so far though there’s been ups and downs. But I don’t lose hope because I know what I want.
What kept you going all through the years?
My passion for the job kept me going. I started way back in 2000. Growing up, I wanted to be an actor but I never knew I could make people laugh through jokes. It gives me so much joy to see people around me happy. It was recently I realised that I could make money through comedy. If not for the passion I would have quit.
How did you earn the name ‘Ogbuefi I Go Tuk’?
Before my comedy skits went viral, my stage name was ‘I Go Tuk,’ I usually did skits as an Onitsha ‘main market man.’ People started calling me Ogbuefi because of that. Then I decided to add Ogbuefi to the name so that people who knew me as I Go Tuk would know it was the same person.
What would you do if you were not into comedy?
Well, as Igbo men, we don’t normally venture into things that won’t generate money. When I started comedy and I wasn’t making gains from it, I had to engage in professional fashion designing. I work in the fashion industry. We do only mass production coupled with other little businesses.
Has fame changed anything about you or deprived you of anything?
No, it has not changed anything about me except that I cannot move freely like before. I cannot just go anywhere I like, wear what I like to wear, eat in ‘mama put’ (which is my favourite thing to do), or drink palm wine at the bar anymore. This is because when people see me, they begin to beg me for money and I wonder if they know my financial status. I also don’t talk anyhow anymore, I pick my words and curtail the things I say because one doesn’t know what I will say and who will make a video of it. Before you know it, bloggers have preyed on it. Now I have to be extra conscious of what I do. Stardom has not changed my personality. I’m still the same happy, humble, and friendly guy and stardom cannot take that away from me.
What challenges did you face on your way to stardom?
People knew me quite well as Ogbuefi through my comedy skits which I do in Igbo. But the language barrier limited me; thank God for the stand-up comedy that has made everyone connect with what I do. Also, in the East, people don’t pay well for comedy like they do in Lagos State and Abuja. Igbo are more business-minded and won’t spend on something that wouldn’t bring monetary returns.
Finance is another one. Right now I’m planning my show, ‘Ogbuefi I Go Tuk Live in Lagos’ and it’s quite challenging getting sponsors. Some people love what I do but they keep ‘posting’ me when I seek sponsorship.
How do you get ideas for your comedy?
I do skits and stand-up comedy using life experiences. I don’t write jokes; I do them spontaneously based on activities that happen every day. I can make jokes out of anything I see around me. That’s how I get my inspiration. Also, the giver of all talents is God who gives one the ability to pull through. If it’s in you, it’s in you.
What’s your advice to up-and-coming comedians?
My advice to them is to first define themselves and identify their talent. One needs talent first before passion, then one must put in the work. One has to be patient even when one has not attained the height one wants. Stay humble and put God first if you want to thrive in this big market.