By FEMI SALAWU and OLUWASEUN OLANIYI
Widely-acclaimed King of Nigerian comedy, Ali Baba revealed how he earned his first N1.6 million cheque as far back as 1995 from Satzenbrau, a beer brand that was brewed in Nigeria by guiness Nigeria Limited.
According to him, the late iconic Afrobeat maestro, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti earned a lower sum of N500,000 while the likes of veteran Raggae singer, Ras Kimono was paid just N150,000.
The stand-up comedy legend made the surprise revelation during a mentoring session with young artistes tagged Stage1Project Bootcamp organized by Nuffnoiz Entertainment. He cited the experience to explain why he should have been proud and arrogant but rather chose to remain humble.
Ali Baba is regarded not only as one of the pioneers of stand-up comedy in Nigeria but also as one of those who raised the standards to elevate the act into a very lucrative venture for the new generation.
“Let me give you one instance that couldhave made me ‘proud and arrogant,” he began and added, “In 1995, I got N1.6 million as my first cheque while Fela was paid N500,000 then, by the time I got that money everybody around me was earning far less than I do. Ras Kimono earned N150,000 while the biggest musicians at the time were paid around N300,000.”
Ali Baba continued, “I did not show off because of this. Infact, I was still buying second hand jeans from Yaba at that time. I was already living living I Lekki in 1998.”
However, he admitted that, generally, comedians earned much more than actors or musicians. “Take Seyi Law for instance, what he earns per show is more than what his peers in the movie industry earns. Ironically, the actor gets more hype and publicity than he does. By the time an actor do a movie, a comedian must have done eight shows,” he explained.
Driving his point further, he revealed “One thing that helped me get to where I am today in my career is that, I studied my business thoroughly and I understood it.”