Ace comedian and actor, Atunyota Akpobome, better known as Ali Baba, is one of the most respected entertainers who have also paved the way for comedians now enjoying the spotlight.
Ali Baba, who turned 55 recently, explained why people regard him as a mentor. He said, “I think the work of a comedian is not defined by age. You can still perform as long as there are people who listen to you. You don’t have to attain a particular age to not function. Comedy is like music; it’s how you connect to the dynamic that controls the market. It’s like Carlos Santana the guitarist who came back and won seven Grammy awards. He won it at an age when the people that he contested were the age of his grandchildren. In creative arts, nothing should stop you. There are a lot of things I’m doing and there’s no letting up. I’m going to be around for a long time; till 100 if God says so.
I didn’t set out to make this much difference initially. I didn’t also set out to become the leading light in stand-up comedy. I was just doing my work and people felt it was good enough to associate with. Also, I think that if your success doesn’t make others a success, then you’re a failure. Your success should affect others positively. If not; then, it’s a selfish success.
“When you check the lives of some of the pastors we follow, they also have some rough patches. The people that quote Paul in the Bible forget that he was once a murderer. Everyone has a past that they must live beyond, There are three ways to learn in life― it’s either you experience it personally, read about it, or see somebody else experience it. My greatest joy is seeing that something that I have started has grown into an industry. When I started comedy, it was just an art. Now, it has grown into an industry where you can find successful comedians who are doing big things and living good lives.
When asked about celebrities who generate controversies online, Ali Baba said, “I believe everybody knows where the shoe is hurting them. I don’t like to use one person’s fault to judge others. One bad apple doesn’t spoil the whole bunch, and that means we should not let such happenings make us think everybody is towing the same part. It’s not every Nigerian that is an armed robber or fraudster.”