Comedy Blogedy: How long have you been gigging in comedy?
Ola: My first gig was over 7 years ago, but I only started gigging properly when I graduated in 2009. (so 5 years ago)
Comedy Blogedy: How would you describe your comedy?
Ola: My comedy is a reflection of my mind, so it covers a range of emotions and situations but ultimately the continuing thread is one of thought and intellectual pursuit.
Comedy Blogedy: Which comedians influence your comedy?
Ola: I’ve been influenced across the board by hundreds of comedians. My initial and biggest influence is Dave Chappelle, but then also Chris Rock and Martin Lawrence. In the UK, Stewart Lee reminds me to be a student of comedy. I’m always inspired by an audio recording I have of an old Nigerian comic named Gbenga Adeboye. I like to keep my influences eclectic, as even some of the worst comedic performances I’ve seen, have influenced me.
Comedy Blogedy: Did you always want to go into comedy?
Ola: No, originally, I was at the London School of Economics on track to become an Investment Banker. Then I fell in love with comedy whilst at uni and realised I have too much of a desire to be liked.
Comedy Blogedy: How do you go about writing your material?
Ola: Luckily I’m at a stage in my life where I can just live and let the comedy happen organically and naturally. I just see potential in moments, thoughts and conversations. I write them down, then beat out the funny later on. Then work it out on stage till it’s a polished bit.
Comedy Blogedy: Do you gig as a stand-up full time or is it more of a part-time hobby? If so, do you find that your main job influences your material?
Ola: I gig full time, and so I guess being a comedian influences every aspect of my material. I am aware that 50% of my current set takes place in either an airport, train station or an actual mode of transportation. That’s what I know.
Comedy Blogedy: What do you find the most enjoyable and frustrating parts of the comedy circuit?
Ola: I really enjoy the travelling and the opportunity to live life to its fullest. I enjoy the conversations I have with people and comics. I enjoy the camaraderie. I enjoy what I describe as comedic immunity. By being part of this Order of Funny People, I can walk up to most comedy clubs and enter for free. I can introduce myself to a comic and 8 times out of 10 they’ll be willing to help me out with something. I am frustrated by audiences who only think comedy should be a certain way. I’m frustrated by audience members who come to comedy clubs and don’t actually want to enjoy it. I am frustrated by gigs that don’t pay you in a timely fashion but expect all manner of professionalism from you. I’m frustrated by gigs that don’t make the effort to be in a suitable room with decent equipment, leaving you to gig in a noisy bar, with a tinny sound system and shoddy lighting. I’m frustrated by clubs that will book you, then cancel you just before meaning you now earn nothing after having turned down other gigs. I’m frustrated by…oh I’m sorry, did I say too much? I’ll calm down now.
Comedy Blogedy: What’s your favourite type of audience to perform to?
Ola: I like a smart, comedy-literate, excited, appreciative audience who are able to listen during the quiet moments and take the roof off for the punchline.
Comedy Blogedy: Have you been heckled a lot since you’ve started gigging? Do you enjoy being heckled? What’s the best heckle you’ve had?
Ola: I used to get heckled a lot more when I started. Then it became a rare occurrence for me. I don’t enjoy it simply because my style of comedy requires a rhythm and most hecklers don’t know how to fit into it. The best one I’ve had was in New York. I went to Ha! Comedy Club after a day of shopping. I got on stage at a midnight show doing some whimsical new material that had worked plenty times already. I didn’t read the room well. So during the silence, an audience member shouted out “BOOOOO! But yo’ sneakers look hot tho!”. They were new sneakers so I was proud he liked them but he did just boo me. The compliment with theheckle completely threw me off. It put me in an awkward position where I couldn’t lay into him, nor could I be too happy. Hats off to him.
Comedy Blogedy: What advice would you give to new acts thinking of starting out in comedy?
Ola: Discover who you are. It’s a journey and it’s one of self-discovery. Keep trying to be funny until you can afford to stop trying, and simply be funny. The day you stop trying to get laughs is the day you become a comedian.