Politics

Looking good boosts my career as social media comedian — Lasisi Elenu



Nosa Afolabi, popularly known as Lasisi Elenu tells BLESSING ENENAITE about his experience as a skit maker, what makes him distinct from his peers, and other issues

Tell us about your background.

I am from a family of six—father, mother, and four kids. I have one sister. I was practically born into a military family. I grew up in Lagos and spent most of my life there, although I was born in Kano State. My dad was in the Air Force but he is retired now. Basically, I spent life inside and outside the barracks.

Why did you choose to become a skit maker/social media comedian?

Growth has happened over the years. There was a time when we looked up to radio and television. Then, social media became the in-thing. Social media has been in existence since the early 2010s but it became more prominent later on. That was how I saw an avenue to express myself. The primary objective when I started was not actually to make money. I just saw it as an opportunity for me to be out there (in the public glare). It felt good but I was pursuing a career in music alongside and it was a struggle. I felt the best way to become famous, aside from my music, was to create skits. I tried and it paid off eventually. I became popular and I no longer saw the need to pursue a career in music. Hence, I decided to continue creating content and be in the entertainment space.

What makes you different from other skit makers?

A lot of things. First, I see my brand as a family brand. I like to know that kids of any age can watch my videos, and know that I would deliver things that families can watch as a whole. I enjoy my ability to create characters and I have a strong ability to do that. I see myself as one who was nurtured by many experiences from Hollywood. I saw that characters are a very big tool and that is why Halloween can be celebrated in the US today and people can dress up as several people. But here in Nigeria, we are pretty limited. So, I decided to enjoy that space. I express my characters differently and they are still interesting. My ability to play different personalities is the edge (I have) over other skit makers.

How do you intend to sustain your fame?

There is so much to be done in the entertainment industry. I did a web series last year titled, Papa and Mama Godspower, which I co-produced with Nonso Adika. I also did the Razz Guy, which was my first feature film. I had done other films but I was not the lead character. If I can do something within the space of about five minutes and it is enjoyable, I can still do it in an hour or two for movies. There is so much to explore— from TV shows to comedy, movies, and production.

What are the lessons life has taught you so far?

Life has taught me to ‘hustle’. I have learnt that in anything one does, consistency is key. In the journey of life, being successful is not the most important thing but sustaining that success is everything. Therefore, I will keep putting in the work that would make me continually successful.

If you were not a skit maker what would you have been doing?

I would have become a fantastic radio presenter, actor, or voice-over artist. Before I became a comedian, I used to be a voice-over artist and I also worked at a radio station.

Also, I can cook. This means that I could have become a great cook too.

Do you think skit makers can overshadow stand-up comedians in the coming years?

Not really. They have different markets. Stand-up comedians have their fans.  They have the capacity to pull their crowd and those who love them. They (stand-up comedians) do not necessarily need to have a million followers on social media before they can have successful shows. One should not affect the other.

Skit makers have been getting a lot of attention in recent times. What do you think is responsible for that?

People still listen to the radio and other forms of traditional media but this generation is more social media inclined. It is rare to find a child who understands lifestyle being glued to the radio or television. They may not know the recent shows on TV but they are conversant with what is happening on social media. It is only wise to take advantage of that. One does not have to be a skit maker to be active on social media.

What is the most memorable moment of your career?

Being a person of influence is quite memorable. I found grace and it has brought me this far. Putting smiles on people’s faces is always memorable for me.

Have you ever made a skit that you wished you had done better?

That is pretty normal. Every creative person goes through that, and there is always something one wished one had added to make one’s work better.

How do you like to dress?

I see myself as one who has a taste and a certain level of class. I take pride in looking good because I think it tells on my brand. I love to dress well.

What do you want to be remembered for?

I want to be remembered for putting smiles on the faces of people.

Do you have plans to go into acting and filmmaking?

Filmmaking is a great venture and I look forward to being in more movies, expressing myself, and delivering characters. People have seen me play different roles in my skits. It will only be nice for them to see me do that in movies too.

What inspired your web-series, Mama and Papa Godspower and how would you describe the reception it has got so far?

Me and my friend and colleague, Nonso Adikam, usually call ourselves funny names. She calls me Papa Godspower, while I call her Mama Godpsower. That was how the idea came up and we worked on it to become what it is now. People have responded well to it and it won’t be just on YouTube. We plan to take it to both terrestrial and cable TV.

Will you accept an invitation by the government to represent the youth, considering the backlash it may attract?

We live in an era where we have to tread carefully. I would lend my voice to the right cause as long as it is transparent and people are aware of what the conversation is about. The intention must be known and it should not be behind closed doors. We should not be meeting for the sake of taking pictures.

Do you believe skit makers have the power to influence  decisions of the government?

I think our leaders have minds of their own. I cannot really say if we can influence the decisions of the government. But we have to keep trying.

What food can you prepare very well?

I can prepare different types of rice. I can also make oha, efo and ogbono soups. I make beans as well.

How do you relax?

I just like to be in my house, watch nice movies and eat ‘small chops’. I like to be in my personal space.

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