On Sunday, November 24, 2019, the annual Naija FM Comedy Jam and Award Night, an event aimed at celebrating the best and brightest of the Nigerian comedy industry, held in Lagos to quite a bit of fanfare. There aren’t any other dedicated comedy award shows on this scale in the country and I attended the event so I come bearing gist.
From standout performances to exciting award winners and new talent, there is a lot to unpack. Here is everything that happened at the Naija FM Comedy Jam and Award Night:
New venue: Now in its 7th year, the show moved venues for the first time, “switching up” from Muson Centre to Eko Hotels and Suites, according to the CEO, who presented an award with his wife.
Nigerian time: The event started very late. Almost two and a half hours late. This is almost a given with any Nigerian event so I don’t even know what to say here.
Skits from Buhari’s internet: The show started off with various skits from all manner of online comedians playing in rotation on the giant screens right in front of the audience. From House of Lafta to Broda Shaggi and some others, I do not remember their names now.
Show starter fail: The first performer of the day was a chap called KC. Unfortunately, his performance didn’t hit the audience and there were barely any laughs during his set. His jokes just didn’t connect.
Fire sets: After KC’s set came King Talker who delivered a great performance and had the crowding bawling with laughter. Next came Makana who’s set relied heavily on self-deprecation and he absolutely killed it. It was refreshing to see something other than the typical jokes.
Awards time: The first award of the night went to Kenny Blaq for “Best Dressed Comedian”. Up next was “Best Comedy Club” which was won by The Port Harcourt Comedy Club. Proceedings were punctuated with a very forgettable performance by a comedian named Funny Doctor before Broda Shaggi won the “Best Comedy Actor” Award. Comedian Forever, who would go on to deliver a stellar performance later that night, took home the “Most Promising Comedian” award – his first-ever. Basketmouth’s My Flatmates won the award for “Best Comedy Sitcom” ahead of Funke Akindele’s “Jenifa’s Diary”.
Lacklustre performances from upcoming musical acts: None of the upcoming acts who performed on the night had a halfway decent performance. In my opinion, the organizers should consider adding one or two big-name artists/comedians to the roster for the next edition.
More great sets: The next set of comedians to perform all delivered very well with the standout performer being Efe Warri Boy, whose performance left the crowd wanting for more. Not to take anything away from Princewill and Forever though, they delivered stellar performances as well.
More awards: The next set of awards were “Most Promising Online Comedian” and “Comedy Show of the Year” which went to Broda Shaggi and Basketmouth’s Lord of the Ribs, respectively.
Women are under-represented in comedy: We are well into the event before a female comic performs. Before that, the only women that had been on the stage had been those who co-presented awards. Not a good look.
Behind the scenes hosting: This was a very interesting part of the show that I liked. Throughout, none of the hosts came on stage, sort of like it was a live radio show except real people appeared in front of you and did stuff. That was cool.
Hall of Fame award: This award is aimed at honouring veterans of the industry who have contributed incredible legacies to the growth of the space. On the night, the recipient was Sunday Omobolanle aka Papi Luwe, a true legend and icon of comedy in Nigeria. If you don’t know him, please do your googles – this man had one of the first-ever comedy sitcoms to air on Nigerian TV.
Decent show, not-so-decent execution: All in all,the idea was right – something like this is needed in the comedy industry. More so now as other forms of entertainment seem to be leapfrogging it. However, the execution was just not there. Still, I have to give props to the organizers because it is not easy to do anything in Nigeria.
There you have it, premium gist from a one-of-a-kind event which is dedicated to celebrating the genre of entertainment we all turn to when Nigeria’s woes start biting us – comedy. Stay tuned for more updates from other events we’ll be attending!
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