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BRODA SHAGGI: How my background inspired my comedy

Instagram sensation, Animashaun Samuel Perry, better known by his moniker, Broda Shaggi has his sights on the big picture. The graduate of Creative Arts from the University of Lagos speaks with OVWE MEDEME on his journey to fame, plans to go mainstream, career, family and other issues.

HAT was your earliest influence into comedy?

Comedy for me has always been something basic, and I always knew I would act. Since I was little, I have always been funny. But what brought me into comedy fully was me trying to make a difference in the comedy industry because I have always wanted to do something special. Something that no one has done before.

I have been doing comedy skits for more than five years since I was in school. I was looking for something to break out of the regular, so I decided to go with theagbero style. I started that in December last year, that is about six months ago.

Was it easy to sync yourself into the agbero personae?

The agbero character is not my lifestyle ordinarily. But basically what I do as an actor is that I create characters. I used to have this character called Inspector Perry. I created that while I was in UNILAG. So I was doing that on Instagram before Broda Shaggi came up. I started Akande Ibadan, I also did Lecturer David. Akande Ibadan was before Broda Shaggi but it didn’t gain enough recognition like this.

Was there a time you understudied any established act?

There was no such time.

Away from social media, how well can you perform?

Before social media, I have been acting. I’ve been in movies. I worked with ROK Studios, and I worked with Africa Magic. I’ve been in Dear Mummy B, I’ve been in Unfinished Business, and I’ve been in Ghetto Bred by Eniola Badmus. They were all comic roles. Basketmouth called me for Flat Mates, so I’ll be going for that soon.

By playing only comic roles, don’t you feel boxed-in?

Basically, I can switch to any role. I did stage play throughout my time in UNILAG. Acting was the only thing I was basically doing to survive. I didn’t study Theatre Arts. UNILAG has three units at the Creative Arts department. We have Music, Theatre and Visual Arts. So I read Visual Arts. I studied painting. But it wasn’t really selling. But I came up with a group of three just to survive. We go for shows. We performed for the Governor of Lagos State and President Goodluck Jonathan. So, it was a means for me to survive. I have always done stage plays.

I play other roles aside the comic ones. I’ve played king. I’ve played the lover boy, I’ve played Sango, and Ogun. So I can switch to any character at any time. I’m also a show anchor. I do standup comedy too.
Have you made any effort going mainstream?

Aside social media, I’ve got my own series coming soon. I’ve noticed that what most of these comedians do is just for Instagram. But I’m planning my own movie, planning my own series.

Tell us more about your upcoming series?

Basically, I want it to be very different that’s why I’m not rushing into it. It is a comedy. I’m planning to use big artistes in it. There is this artiste I’ve always mentioned, DJ Cuppy. I’m trying to get her into the series. She has replied so we will be kicking off very soon.

For a young talent, how important is social media?

It is very important because social media has been the tool that made my brand recognised. I’ve been on social media for more than five years, but I think the fact that I kept on doing what I like doing made it worthwhile. I would have backed out because sometimes I see people that I’m funnier than having tones of likes and I just have about a hundred likes.

There is much more to social media than what people think. People think it’s just to post pictures and do all of that. It’s more than that. Social media is a market. It is an office. I see it as my job. I get some messages and they keep me moving. One time, I didn’t post a video because I was on set. I got several messages from people who were waiting for my videos. I had to apologise to them. So I see it as a very big platform. I see it as my own office.

Beyond publicising your work, are you at that point where what you do on social media is earning you money?

Yes, right now it is. And it has really changed from when I started. When I started, I was advertising for people, musicians who want to put their songs under my skits, for a low prize. But right now, I charge more because I put in more work, I put in more creativity. Where I shoot, I use people around me, the traders and all that. I have to pay them. So for me to pay them, I have to get something. However, it’s helping me to pay my bills.

What inspires your skits?

I’m not an activist but all my skits carry messages. Yes, they are comical, but there is always a message at the end. It was me trying to be different, me trying to make a living out of it because I know the background I came out from. I know how my parents lived and I’ve always wanted to put a smile on my mother’s face even though my father is no more. My background actually inspired my comedy.

What kind of background did you have?

My mother is not remarried. She’s single and I didn’t come from a rich home. I wasn’t born with a silver spoon. Na hand we dey take chop (laughs). I’m the first of three boys.

How did you come about the name Broda Shaggi?

Broda Shaggi came about last December, during the Christmas period. I was actually fixing my car at the mechanic workshop and the guys were talking. One was supposed to help me buy something and the way he talked was so funny and I liked the character. So since I create characters, let me go for this. The guy’s name is Ahmed actually, so I looked for a suitable name. I first thought of Musliu. Then I settled for the name Shaggi Don came. And that was it.

How did you team up with Aunty Shaggi?

When I shot my first video, I didn’t show my face. I only used a voice and then I responded. But I met Aunty Shaggi on a set. She’s an actor. She studied Theatre Arts too. I saw her acting and I knew she is good. So I asked her if we could start something together. When we started, it was just her voice asking me questions. Later on, I decided to show her face, let’s make it like a proper interview

There is gist that you are dating Aunty Shaggi. How true is that?

For me, that is personal. Nothing really is going between us. We are friends.

If you had the opportunity, would you date her?
(Laughs) I don’t know

Did you ask her out?

Not at all.

Do you find her attractive?
Yes, she’s beautiful. But she’s my good friend and we are working together.

Do you watch the skits of other Instagram comedians?

I watch everybody and I learn from them. They make me laugh. I don’t miss Woli Agba’s skits. I like his type of comedy. I like his creativity. What I like about Instagram comedians is seeing them take on a trend that cannot be exhausted. Some comedians started and they are not here now because they ran out of ideas.

You moved from one persona for another before arriving at Broda Shaggi. Is there any reason that

will make you change to another character?

I wouldn’t say I wasn’t doing well with those other characters but with Broda Shaggi, I’ve made something that I can do for a very long time. I can change the character at any time. I have this vision. I might go back to some of the characters I did before like Inspector Perry for instance and merge it with Broda Shaggi.

Do you think you would have fared better if you had a mentor?

I don’t know. Before I got recognised on Instagram, I tried to reach so many star comedians to help me repost, but there was no response. For me to gain this level of recognition, it means I can stand on my own, it means in the future I will do better.

What were your dreams as a child?

To be sincere, I’ve always wanted to be an actor since I was a child. So for me, I’m living my dreams.

How do you unwind?

I don’t drink and I don’t smoke. People don’t believe it, but it is true. Because I don’t smoke and drink, I don’t like going to the club but my Manager tries to take me out some times. I just thank God for the kind of friends I have. My friends are like me. They don’t do the things I don’t like and that makes me happy.

What are your plans for the next few years?

I see myself in a very big place, I see myself starting business

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