Daniel Chibiuzor Nnwoka famously known as Dan Da Humorous is an ace stand-up comedian. He is well-read, highly exposed and creative. The Port Harcourt born and bred has been in the industry for 17 years putting smiles on the faces of his audiences. He is so versatile that he does his comedy with style and class. This has made him a household name in the Southern part of Nigeria. Regarded as one of the brightest comedians to come out of the South-South, Dan has his sights set on changing the world with his comedy.
In a chat with City People’s JAMIU ABUBAKAR, Dan Da Humorous spoke about his upbringing, his career as a comedian, and how the comedian, Julius, the genius Agwu groomed him to become a proper stand-up comedian.
How did you come up with the name, Dan Da Humorous?
I just came up with it. I would say I started out as a teenager from secondary school. Then I was just answering my name DAN. When I realized I will practice this professionally and I had to pick up a name for myself. I just guess names again and again. Once the name Dan D’ Humorous popped out, it just clicked and that was it.
How did family reaction to your decision to doing comedy professionally?
It was challenging because very few people took me seriously. Of course, it’s the usual challenges, obstacles and resistance you would face from family, from very close friends at that time. Not like now that if your child comes to meet you and says he want to be a musician or a comedian, you give them all the support in the world because there’s a lot of glamour in the business right now. But back then the business wasn’t as glamorous as it is now. It took an arm and a leg to actually convenience your parents, particularly if you come from a very intellectual background or heavily academic background or heavily professional background where you have lawyers, doctors, professors and the likes and then you now say you want to be a comedian. Haaa! Not even musicians they can manage. Comedian! You know, so it just took a lot of perseverance, consistency; the fact that I believed so much in what I was doing passion, talent, and everything. And over time it has paid off.
Tell us about your academic background?
My academic is just the usual primary school and university education. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics and Communications from University of Port Harcourt. I’ve wanted to do other degrees but time and hustle will not let me be for now but I still have that in view.
How did develop the idea of the jokes you crack and how did you always fit them into the settings of an event?
Starting from fitting into the event, actually, I have a totally different idea coming in here. I had a whole set planned. Immediately I stepped into the room, it didn’t take 10 minutes to go up and I saw the settings and I saw the kind of people that were there and I knew that what I had prepared was not meant for them. With years of experience, years of knowing the business, you can always adjust. From the kind of information, you have been exposed to as a person; because we are blessed with the gift we are blessed with the talent, so what we need now is information, what we need now is experience. If a comedian is designed to make you laugh if have not been to Russia before and I can’t crack a joke about Russia. If I have not been to America before, I can’t crack a joke about being in America. it means that if I have been able to go to China and see one or two things you would also have gone to China and you will see the same thing but you will not see them from the light of the angle that I’m seeing them as a comedian. So we are blessed with that. We are now exposed to certain things and we are able to put those things together. Our experiences and our innate gift give birth to the inspiration for these jokes you hear.
Who is your role model as a comedian?
Julius Agwu is my direct mentor, I was groomed under him. Then, Ali Baba, I look up to him. He redefined the game a lot. Basket Mouth is changing the game right now, Okey Bakassi is like a come-back king. So there are lots of people even outside the comedy industry that do what they do very well and try to convert that energy in whatever it is they are doing into your own business in this regard, the business of comedy or entertainment.
You mentioned Julius Agwu as your mentor, why did you make him your mentor and how would you describe his personality?
I enjoyed a very fantastic father and son relationship with Julius the Genius Agwu. He’s a man I hold in the highest esteem even before he knew me, even before we got close; I had been an ardent follower of his act and art as well. I believe that everybody aspiring to be something in life must have a mentor that will show you a method or a group of people that you are modeling whatever you want to do after. it only means that you are only outlining a path and with consistency, you will be able to carve out your own niche. For me, I finished secondary school in 2001 and from 1997, I was already attending a day of 1000 Laffs and I will memorize the jokes and go back to school and crack those jokes and make some funds which I will share with my friends. When I watched Julius on Christmas day for the first time in 2000, it was called 2000 Xmas Laffs. I was really dazed by his act and versatility, and a few weeks into the new year, he launched his first album and I was blown away and I even did Okombo Jr. in school. I was following his art and sending him fan mail and always trying to reach and it was a learning curve for me. I started out professionally in 2003 and people will think it was Julius Agwu performing but our paths crossed for the first time in 2006 New Year though we have been introduced he didn’t take cognisance of me until 2006. And from that point on, I have enjoyed a very special and great relationship with him. I owe a great part and very reasonable part of my success to him and his tutelage and to date, we still enjoy a fantastic relationship and my loyalty to him is unwavering no matter what. Julius has a very interesting personality, he’s the kind of person that has no reservations, and he lets his emotions out instantly and doesn’t hold back. He’s a strong man and anointed soul to go through the things he has been through in life – particularly his health challenges – and he’s still striving and pushing shows the greater willpower that resides in him. Under his tutelage, this man will work under the most intense pressure and hardly rest but we thank God that he’s alive, pushing and very relevant in the industry.
What can you about the newbies in the industry coming up with series of skits and others?
It’s welcome, life is evolving every day. As it was in the 80s or 90s when entertainment evolved to a certain level in the early 2000s, it was like a new revelation and then here we are now. With social media, we see who possibly couldn’t have access to a stage, couldn’t have access to certain cabals, the social media free space and modern ways of communication have helped them to cross this border and have helped them to cross this boundary. So it’s very much welcome and we are open to every evolving technology of whatever it is that comes as long as we are alive.
What’s your advice to young talent comedians who are looking up to people like you in the industry?
I will just say you have to be sure that you belong to that field of endeavor. Don’t let the glamour and the paparazzi of every profession distract you. Don’t let the big money distract you because you can never tell, it’s never easy. That’s the truth. Even the biggest boys that you see, if you go to their closets, it’s never ever easy. But what can give you that strength to always carry on is the fact that you know that you belong to that field. Therefore the challenges will not overwhelm you, rather the challenges would strengthen you, the challenges would push you to catalyze your growth. You have to have that understanding that you belong to this field. And that will come with lots of patience to see you come through that process.