A comedian and singer, Bashiru Adekunle, aka Bash D Cash, tells FAITH AJAYI about the comedy business, and his experience in the industry

In recent times, you have not been as active on the scene like you used to be. Have you diversified into another area other than comedy?

I have been working behind-the-scenes on projects to re-introduce my brand. Fans will be hearing from me very soon and I promise that I won’t let them down. I will be re-introducing my comedy show and music.

Quite a number of comedians, including established ones, have relocated from Nigeria. Would you embrace such opportunity if it comes?

A lot of us (comedians) are not relocating, though we go outside to handle one or two projects, then come back to Nigeria to do other things. I am not planning on relocating anytime soon, but anything can happen at any time. I could have a change of mind.

What is the most significant thing marriage and children have changed about you?

They have changed everything about me. Before marriage, I usually took decisions on my own. But now, I have a wife and children, and whenever I want to take any decision, I have to think about them. For entertainers, marriage and fatherhood touch every aspects of our lives.

These days, it seems social media comedians are more relevant than their stand-up counterparts. Does that put you under any form of pressure?

The only thing constant in life is change. Social media comedians are very talented and creative, but they cannot run down (replace) stand-up comedy. A lot of them don’t have their own comedy shows. Stand-up comedy is always very different. Online comedians became popular because of social media, but that does not affect stand-up comedy. Stand-up comedians, such as Basketmouth, AY, Ali Baba and Seyi Law don’t do a lot of skits, but that doesn’t mean the likes of Broda Shaggi are more popular or relevant than them.

Thankfully, we are all comedians. They are breaking new grounds and changing the face of the game so, it is a very healthy competition, and we love it. It gives us the drive to keep moving forward.

You grew up in Somolu, which is considered to be one of the ‘rough’ parts of Lagos. How did your upbringing there impact your comedy and life in general?

Growing up in the Somolu/Bariga area of Lagos has had a huge impact on my life, and that is why most of my contents are centred around social and realistic jokes. However, Somolu is not that rough. That axis— comprising of areas such as Bariga, Akoka, Fadeyi, Oniwaya, Abule Ijesha and Alago Meji— is like the bridge between the rich and the masses.

Some people are of the opinion that comedians should not make jokes about people who pay their hard-earned money to attend their shows. What’s your take on that?

Anyone who is attending a comedy show in any part of the world knows that there are times comedians hit below the belt, which I personally don’t support, but it is a part of the job. There are times the comedians would want to play around and pick on people, but I don’t do that. Meanwhile, there are also times that members of the audience would ‘yab’ the comedian on stage. If I am on stage, and someone ‘yabs’ me, I would ‘yab’ the person too.

I often advise fans that if they are going to a comedy show, they should just sit down and enjoy the content. If the comedian is doing a good job, they should applaud him. And, if the comedian is not doing well, it is not necessary to ‘yab’ the person; after all, all dogs have their day.

Have you ever had an experience when you made jokes about someone in the audience, and the person did not take it well?

If you watch my performances, you will realise that I don’t do that, because I am a very sensitive and private person. I don’t ‘yab’ people. Even if I am ‘attacked’ by someone in the audience, I would just reply the person and move on.

I recall that I once had a show in Kenya, and I while I was performing, a Nigerian guy with a thick accent, was trying to say something negative, so I had to cut him down to size. After the show, I realised that he was outside saying that I shouldn’t have done that. But, I told him that I had to defend myself. Since then, we have become friends. The fact that we are stand-up comedians does not mean we are unserious people.

Have you ever had a moment when you froze up on stage and did not know what to say?

I think it is a normal thing, which happens to almost everyone. There are times that even experienced comedians have stage fright. I remember being on stage at a show three years ago, and I was actually not prepared. Ali Baba said he wanted me on the stage, but I was keeping a lot of new content to myself because I was planning a show that year. So, I had to go on stage to do one or two things. For the first 30 minutes that I was on stage, people were asking what happened to me. It was not until did some slapstick jokes that people started laughing, and I took it off from there.

When you make mistakes or forget what you wanted to say on stage, how do you ‘control’ such moments and make sure the audience does not know what is happening?

That is the secret. I don’t pick on people, but I always get out of such situations one way or the other. I have been doing this for almost 20 years. I have some jokes in reserve, including old ones, that are original to me, which I know would make the audience laugh.

What were the sacrifices you made for your career, especially in the early days?

When I started comedy, there was a lot of competition (and not many opportunities); unlike now that we have social media and many platforms for comedians to showcase their talents.

We (comedians) went through a lot to make it, and that even affected my marriage in the early stage, because I was not always around. However, I thank God that it is now paying off.

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