They are a new breed of comedians who ply their trade on the Internet. With a growing audience social media comedians are a new set of celebrities in Nigeria.
Craze Clown, Oluwakaponeski, Kanmi, Chief Obi and others are among the elite club of what many have tagged ‘Instagram comedians’. Most of their skits go viral easily as people play, replay and share their clips on their timeline.
These Instagram comedians have large numbers. Oluwakaponeski a.k.a Mama Tobi has over 117,000 followers on his Instagram. Craze Clown who can be said to be the most popular among the bunch is almost hitting a million followers on the photo sharing app. Dami Olatunde who goes by the moniker Aphrican Ape has close to 300,000 followers on Instagram.
More than just a funny occurrence, these Internet comedians are beginning to be regarded as celebrities of sorts. In January 2016, Craze Clown signed an endorsement deal with Naira Bet. Also within the same month Oluwakaponeski signed an endorsement deal with Tecno Mobile. He also did a skit for the Bank of Industry in April.
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Also, these new crop of social media savvy comedians have physical shows. On May 8, 2016 Craze Clown had a show in Ukraine where he is based featuring Nigerian rapper Falz. On May 7, 2016 Oluwakaponeski made an appearance at LA Lounge in London.
However, it must be said that the social media humour merchants are not as big as top Nigerian comedians such as Basketmouth and Bovi who are more or less household names.
Also some stand-up comedians in Nigeria believe that the Instagram comedians are really not comedians in the true and pure sense of the word. It is believed that they are amateur actors releasing funny sketches.
This is a valid point but you cannot take away the fact that these new breed of comedians trend easily on social media by creating organic content. After Tiwa Savage’s interview Internet comedian Kanmi started trending because people started using his ‘Akanm the boy’ punchlines to diss Tee Billz.
The impact is there and the content is very much there. The only smudge in this emerging industry is that most of the content providers are not based in Nigeria. Their home based Nigerian counterparts find it hard to match the numbers and impact the guys based abroad have.
Are Instagram comedians bona fide celebrities? Yes they are. They have thousands of fans, brands want to do business with them and they have their own live comedy shows. They might not be big as the traditional stand up comedians who rake in millions per show but they are niche celebrities in their own right.
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