A global streaming platform, Amazon Prime Videos, is set to crack the ribs of many when it releases its first unscripted comedy show tagged, ‘LOL: Last One Laughing’, on Friday, July 14, 2023.

Hosted by Bright Okpocha, aka Basketmouth, 10 comedians and content creators— Sabinus, I Go Save, Dat Warri Girl, Senator, Buchi, KieKie, Acapella, Taaoma, Okey Bakassi and Gandoki— would do their utmost not to laugh in order to win the N40m prize money. However, the catch is that the eventual winner of the show will not go home with the cash. Rather, it would be given to a charity of their choice.

At a media screening of some parts of the six-episode show held in Lekki Phase One, Lagos, during the week, the compere, Ali Baba, described it as ‘funny, unique, unpredictable and a showcase of raw talents’. He added, “The rule is simple— do not laugh.

The show, which is an international franchise, had previously been shown in countries such as Japan, Canada, Australia, India, Brazil and Sweden.

The 10 comedians had to spend six hours locked up in a room without laughing, even though their fellow contestants and other unexpected guests constantly made attempts to get them to laugh, smile, chuckle or giggle.

From singing off-key, wearing clown costumes and even refraining from speaking pidgin English, they all brought out their ‘arsenals’ to get others laughing.

Speaking at the screening, the Head of Originals, Africa and Middle East, Prime Video, Ned Mitchell, stated that the project was an important one. He said, “It is a big deal for comedy everywhere, especially in Nigeria. We are excited to take Nigerian comedy to the world. For us, it is about being authentic and raw.”

Mitchell also gave kudos to the Nigerian producers of the show— Darey Art-Alade and wife, Deola’s Livespot 360 Productions. He said, “The show’s format looks simple but it was a complex show to produce. The set had to be built from scratch, and the producers did a good job. People often say it is hard to shoot in Nigeria, but that does not make it impossible. The producers really delivered.”

On her part, the Head of Nigerian Originals for the company, Wangi Mba-Uzoukwu, noted that the service was ready to support Nigerian comedians to take their contents to the world.

Speaking on the production of the show, she said, “Any shoot in any country of the world comes with challenges. One can only prepare so well. There were different factors to consider but I wouldn’t describe them as challenges. There is no obstacle that cannot be surmounted. There is a saying that ‘Naija no dey carry last’. There will always be a way to get things done.

“Everybody came with their A-games, and we were able to produce a good show.”

Meanwhile, the host of the show, Basketmouth stated that. He said, “Afrobeats music is doing so well all over the world. However, Nigerian comedy has yet to get its own spot. When I was approached it with this idea, I embraced it because it seemed like the best thing to do. The streaming platform is in over 200 countries, and it is the right platform to project Nigerian comedy to the rest of the globe.”

One of the featured comedians, I Go Save, noted that he had always wished for a show like that. Speaking about the tactics he employed in the house in order not to laugh, He added, “It was a great experience seeing the other contestants in different forms. I tried to avoid some of the contestants, who I knew could make me laugh.”

Asked to name his most challenging part of the show, Senator, said, “I think it took me some time to come to terms with the fact that the people I would be in the space with are funny people. I actually asked myself how I would survive.”

Though some of the contestants were of the opinion that her strategy was to avoid people who could make her laugh, Taaoma claimed that she did not employ any tactics. She said, “I did not think I had one, until people are saying it now. However, the time when I felt I would burst out in laughter was when actors, Chinedu Ikedieze (Aki) and Osita Iheme (Pawpaw) came to the show. I had never seen them in person before then. Immediately I saw them, I almost started laughing. But at the end, I was able to pull through.”

Unsurprisingly, Dat Warri Girl said that one of her toughest times in the house was when the contestants were ‘banned’ from speaking pidgin English for five minutes. Prior to that time, she had practically only communicated in pidgin. On how she handled the challenge, she said, “I just kept quiet the whole time. Whenever I want to express myself well, I speak in pidgin English.”

Asked if she could do without speaking pidgin English for days, the skit maker stated that only if she was paid. She added, “Pidgin English also has to go international.”



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