Popular Nigerian comedian, Okechukwu Anthony Onyegbule, aka Okey Bakassi, has said covid- 19 has rendered him and his colleagues in the entertainment industry jobless.
He stated this in an interview via Skype with presenters of Wakeup Nigeria, a breakfast show on TVC, on Friday 1 May, 2020.
According to the comedian, because of the lockdown imposed by various governments as well as the social distancing rule people have been advised to maintain, comedians no longer have jobs to do.
“We in the entertainment industry, especially masters of ceremonies and comedians are the worst hit. We have been rendered jobless. We are currently unemployed, no thanks to covid-19. It’s going to be tough. It’s already tough now. Post covid -19 is going to be difficult because we will probably be the last set of people that would have to go back to work because of the social distancing thing. Until people can gather and converge again we have no jobs,” he lamented.
Okey Bakassi also said this is a period in which entertainers must reflect and strategize in order to find solution to the problem. “So this period of lockdown is one to reflect on the way forward, begin to ‘restrategize’, improve on ourselves and see how we can be relevant post covid-19. It is not going to be easy anyway,” he maintained.
Asked how he has been able to remain relevant in the comedy industry that is fast changing with the times, Okey Bakassi averred: “The truth is, whatever business you do, you must change with the times or else you will be left behind. The same thing applies to stand up- comedy. You can’t say ‘I have been doing this thing or 27 years so I am a master of it.’ No way.”
Okey Bakassi also said one thing that has kept him relevant in the business is that he keeps learning everyday both from the old and the young in the comedy industry. “I tell people that I see myself as a student. I am a life student. I still keep learning. I won’t stop learning. I learn from the old ones. I learn from the new ones.
“In fact one great thinker said, the older you become the younger your teachers. So I am learning from younger people now; because there is something fresh that they bring to the business. They appeal to their age brackets, which means they speak the language their generation understand. And if I don’t transition to understanding how to communicate with that generation, I would get left behind. And that will be bad business for me. So I had to keep learning. I had to keep evolving. And that is what I have been doing over time,” he explained.