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Movies of Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Source: ameyaw debrah/

Nigerian Funny man, Tega shares his view on Nigerian elections, comedy and more!

Rising Nigerian comedian, Iyomieju Oghenetega Francis better known as Tega is more than just a funny man. Originating from Delta State which is known for its highly spirited and humorous people, comedy comes naturally to Tega who is a graduate of the National Film Institute, Jos. However his passion goes beyond comedy as he plans to put his major in Scripting, Producing and Directing, as well as his minor in Acting and Presenting into practice.

Now based in Lagos, Tega has become a familiar face on the Nigerian comedy scene with appearances on stage, television, short films and events. I caught up with Tega to find out more about his journey into comedy, his views on Nigerian politics, comedy and more.

Ameyaw Debrah: How long have you been doing comedy?

I first hit the stage when I was a junior in Secondary School to act in a serious role but ended up making the audience laugh. I returned in 2004 as a guest comedian on radio and since then I have been doing comedy on the low until September 2009 when I decided to take stand-up more seriously. To be sincere, it was aimed at getting the ladies in the beginning because when they laugh, I’m half way there. I must also add that it got me beaten up a couple of times by some jealous boyfriends, who later became my friends because I made them laugh as well. People around started calling me the crazy funny guy until I met a comedian called Senator who told me I have the gift and brought me on radio. From there things gradually shaped up till now.

Ameyaw Debrah: Are you inspired by any comedian?

Yes, my mentor is Chris Rock. I also listen to Jamie Fox, Eddie Griffin, Martin Lawrence, Basketmouth, Julius Agwu, Ali baba, Gandoki, Ellen, Senator and many others. I watch a lot of sitcoms; if it’s funny, I’m watching!

Ameyaw Debrah: How would you describe your style of comedy?

I would say it is descriptive and crazy. I like to express myself, which I'm most comfortable doing when I act. I get my jokes from experience and the statements people make. I look around subconsciously, and above all, I look up to God. He put the talent in me and he feeds me with what I need to grow.

Ameyaw Debrah: How do you see your chances of making it to the top of Nigerian comedy?

Comedy in Nigeria has become a really big industry with comedians springing up every day, and following the norm. Sometimes we all sound alike but personality and talent makes one to stand out. If you ask me, I think we have so many comedians now that we can even form a State and call it Comedy State. I don't see myself doing stand up for too long, but rather more comedy films of different genres. I have written a few scripts, which I intend to shoot with time. That is what would make me stand out with better chances in the industry.


Ameyaw Debrah: What have been the highlights of your career as a comedian?

I did a TV sitcom called 'Young Single and Free' where I played TJ (one of my best works). I also did 'Laff Pattern' which I anchored as a comedian on TV. I won the AY Open Mic comedy competition in September 2009. I also took part in some shows here and there, including the AMA Award nominations party in Accra Ghana.

Ameyaw Debrah: How has your acting career gone so far?

I've being acting since I was in film school but then I did more of short films of different genres. I’ve done more of television jobs with acting for now but hopefully I’ll soon star in home videos. My first television job was 'Young Single and Free', a sitcom which showed on national television (AIT) at prime time for one year. I also acted in 'The Maze', a TV drama series, and a number of short films on communicating for change. More recently, I played the role of Maverick the antagonist in 'David's Fall', a TV drama serious showing on AIT. I’m also reading a script now which I'll act soon. I intend to explore doing movies to the fullest real soon!

Ameyaw Debrah: So that means you are practicing everything you learnt from film school?

I'm practicing with my minor area of specialization which is acting and presenting for now. When it comes to scripting, I have a lot in my archives because I plan to produce and direct them in the nearest future.

Ameyaw Debrah: If you had to pick on something to make a joke about the Nigerian elections, what would it be and why?

It would be about the press and how they interview anyone and everybody to get content on the election matter. They could interview a blind man and say: sir, how do you see the forthcoming election and the future of Nigerians? And with authority the blind man would answer: I SEE Nigerians elevating to a better standard of living”. With which eyes did he use to see these things please? Or they ask a cripple: if given a chance to rule this country would you lead Nigeria to the promise land? And with confidence he screams: YES! I will stand TALL and walk ahead with Nigerians behind me saying let us go to the promise land. Which promise land and with which leg please? The truth is that the press have combed every corner of the country this election period.

Ameyaw Debrah: What’s your view on the elections and your advice to Nigerians?

This is more than just elections going on in Nigeria now but also a wakeup call to fight against corrupt leaders and with the level of consciousness shown by Nigerians, I see everyone involved in the electoral process down to the last vote to ensure that credible leaders assume office.

Ameyaw Debrah: What should your fans and Nigeria expect from Tega?

I just finished shooting a pilot for a TV show and we are at the pre-production stage. I'm also ready for a TV series as well as writing one too. People should expect to see me basically in more television productions and movies. I'm taking presenting very serious now as I have a few plans up my sleeves. I will also be making comedy films which I'll star in. So there’s a lot to expect, the future is bright!