Dr Smile is a comedian. He is a professional master of ceremony and a comedian with a touch of class, fondly called the Southwest comedy Emperor. He recently spoke to CityPeople about his career. Below are excerpts.
Tell us a bit about your background and how you started.
My name is Abegunde Olamilekan Temitope Oluwapamilerinayo.I am also known as Dr Smile. I am a graduate of Linguistics from the University of Ibadan. I was born and bred in Akure, Ondo state. I grew up like every average Nigerian kid, not a full butty but not from a poor background. I am married to Francisca, and we are blessed with three kids.
The comedy industry is big now, and Nigerian comedians are doing well across the world. However, critics opine that most usually move in cliques and would rather do business within their circle. How true is this, and how does it affect the industry, especially upcoming ones?
It’s like that in every sphere of life, we tend to all do business with those we are comfortable with. Kindly note that every clique will definitely want to do business with the special ones. If you are that good at what you do, every clique or major clique would want to do something with you. The only issue there is that we are still tribalistic about who to do business with so in the industry we have the Warris-benin clique, Igbo clique then the Yorubas but the likes of Funnybone, Kennyblaq and a few others have been able to break the barriers. With time In Sha Allah, it will get better
Would you say skit makers have affected the stand-up comedy industry negatively? Have they taken a chunk of your income/business?
Yes,cos it’s got a point people mistake them for stand-up. I have attended several events that skit makers will be billed to perform standup,for the fact that they make them laugh on screen does not translate to them doing standup so they end up using jokes from a standup comedian and get a bigger ovation cos of the brand they stand for. Time don dey tell now sha
We’ve not heard the usual noise from Dr Smile this year… What happened?
Do you mean the yearly Drsmile unusual show? We stopped last year after the seventh edition, which stands for perfection. That’s why God gave us content that could go far more than the yearly show tagged WHY NOT SMILE on all social media platforms. Hopefully, more products will be launched before the end of the year
Was this birth out of lack of jobs or journey to Skit-making?
With all humility not to count as passion, I’m one of the most sought-after masters of ceremonies and standup comics presently in the south-west of this country. Skit-making? If I wanted to join skit makers, I should I have joined over 6 years ago, but I don’t see myself as a skit maker but rather a standup comic, which I’m comfortable with. Honestly speaking,it started like a play. I had a dream of what it looked like, and when I woke up, I discussed it with my team and gave it a shot. In that dream the location was given to me when I woke up I knew it was divine then I tried the first shot with my team lead Ovie Soft which was well accepted by my followers on Instagram and WhatsApp Family. And we decided to tag it WHY NOT SMILE cause not everybody will laugh at it, just thirty seconds of a smile will help anybody relax a little.
What are you doing to copyright your content?
Obviously, it’s the order of the day. Tell a joke and it’s already a skit or colleagues help share it on other platforms, but not to sound like a broken record it will get to a point people will ascribe the success to the original owners. We are gradually getting to that point in my industry, but the audiences don’t care. The first to tell it owns it, but I pray it will get better soon.
How do you get your inspiration?
Nobody can get anything except it has been given to him by God. Nevertheless, the parable of the sower is a pointer to the multiplication of the gift from God. I don’t joke about anything that makes people laugh around me, so the immediate environment is the first factor. Research also made it more accessible, thanks to the social media age. Trash-talking from my university days added a lot to it.
Who can you say is the pioneer of laid-back humour?
No bragging intended,I have never seen anybody do this,I started it without a blueprint from anybody. I stand to be corrected. It was my initiative, but credit to ALIBABA, who told me it was a laid-back comedy.was just doing my thing as led in my heart by the Holy Spirit. Till I have proof that someone had done it before I PRIDE myself as the LAID BACK HUMOUR KING, don’t misinterpret me. I didn’t say people don’t do comedy on Instagram or turn social issues into jokes, but proper jokes telling in this format has not been done, or I have not seen so to speak.
How do you get your rewards considering the cost of production
Utmostly, the acceptance gave me so much joy, and the fact that it gives joy and happiness to people is enough for me. Despite that nothing is free, YOUTUBE AND FACEBOOK got me covered. For people to accept content in Nigeria calls for celebration
What’s drsmile working on apart from this?
NEXT year is a great year for the brand Drsmile cos will would be celebrating our 20 years in the comedy industry. My journey into the industry started on the 23rd of April,2004 in the city of ilesha, A sister was celebrating her birthday and the invited Mcee didn’t showed up and I was asked to fill in the time for him to get to the venue cos I joke around alot but not a comedian. I obliged and did some jokes, which got everybody laughing, and I also started the event cos after my performance, no one to carry on, and the rest they say is history. It’s going to be a tour to all the cities that contributed to the growth of the brand. When the time is right, every other piece of information will be unleashed.
What was your biggest moment and saddest as a Comedian?
There was a day when I was already set to perform at a very big event when I got a call that my uncle, who introduced me to Entertainment (Kehinde Olomosola), had been shot dead. The news weighed me down. I had to look up to God and mount that stage. As God would have it, that night, I had one of the greatest performances of my career then. God took control, and the crowd got larger. Another one was the day I lost a colleague PETERU..it got to me cos for the first time in 8years he came to me in Abeokuta to share his dreams and ask me to be part and we agreed to do something together. DRSMILE AND PETERU LIVE TOUR, but death took him away..who are we to question God?
We see you more in Lagos these days, have you moved to Lagos?
On a lighter note, we see Ooni of ife in Lagos too, same with Olu of Iwo have they also moved? Lagos is the headquarters of Entertainment. You need to just be relevant, at least in that city, to put your foot in the sand of time. Every successful entertainer must visit Lagos from time to time. Abeokuta is home,Lagos is Office. I think that balances the equation, right? OBA NO DEY GO TRANSFER.
What is your take on celebrities flaunting wealth on Social Media?
All the best…it’s their lives, they can do with it whatever pleases them. In my own case, social media is just my market place nothing personal can ever be on my page
Nigeria will only be great again if we decide collectively to contribute our own quarter and not leave everything to the government. I will end with the last phrase of the pledge. SO HELP US GOD.