Ace comedian, Bright Okpocha, popularly known as Basketmouth, has said comedians don’t intentionally make people feel bad as their goal is to make people laugh and, in many cases, laugh at their pains.
In an exclusive conversation with our correspondent, the comedian said jokes were always based on a subject, adding that he would not be deterred in referencing peoples’ behaviour, experiences or personality while doing his job because Will Smith attacked Chris Rock during the Oscars.
He said, “Jokes always have a subject and that can be anyone and not everyone finds a joke funny especially if that joke is centered on you or your experiences. Comedians don’t intentionally want to make you feel bad, they just want to make people laugh and, in many cases, laugh at their pain.
“Nigeria is already incredibly hard and frustrating so we might as well try to look for what’s funny about this mess so we don’t go crazy. If you crack a joke about broke people (poor folks), it’s a joke at the expense of people in a precarious condition. People make jokes about crazy people, disabled people as well as rich people, healthy people and the scale goes that way as well.
“Either way you end up offending somebody when you take yourself too seriously. It’s just a joke – a story telling art form that aims to lighten a serious situation. I know with what Will (Smith) did especially in Nigeria where we like to copy a lot, we will have a couple of attention seekers and copycats try to emulate that just to trend but there’s only one Chris Rock and not every comedian can show that kind of restraint or professionalism.
“We need to respect the art form though, respect the other people at the show (the audience). Anyone offended can express their feelings after the show. On whether the attack on Chris will influence or reshape the way we do comedy is a huge NO. It will not in any way or form change anything about my craft.
“I will continue to crack and create my joke the same way I do and if I have to involve someone else’s behavior, experience or personality in my routine and which enhances my delivery of the joke, I’m 100% doing it as long as it’s done tastefully and not insensitive or below the belt.
“If that person embodies or completes my material, why not! It’s a joke, musicians or rappers’ reference real people in their music, it’s art. If I’ve created a masterpiece, I’m definitely delivering it the way it appears in my mind/head only under the condition that it’s clean and decent for public entertainment.”
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