Before stardom… with MC Shakara

How did your journey into the entertainment industry begin?

When I was in Jos, Plateau State, I usually wore a Mickey Mouse mask playing the clown to make kids laugh and happy.  Then I started anchoring children and adult parties. Later on, I decided to improve on my career and came to Lagos State where I attended AY’s open mic show known as AY live in 2006. I performed there and that was my breakthrough into the comedy industry.

How long have you been in the entertainment industry?

I have been in the entertainment industry for 21 years now. But for comedy, professionally it’s been 15 years.

How have you been able to remain relevant over the years?

For me comedy is inbuilt. It’s a talent and I didn’t learn it from anywhere. But I have kept improving myself and organising shows in Abuja, Lagos, Jos, and Warri, Delta State.

What motivated you to become a comedian?

When I was still anchoring those events in Jos, I usually watched the popular comedy show, ‘Night of a thousand laughs’ and admired the way the audience embraced comedy with oozing joy on their faces. The first time I watched the show, I couldn’t sleep. I was up all night wishing I could get on the stage at that moment. Also, comedians such as Ali baba, Basketmouth, Julius Agwu, Okey Bakassi, motivated me.

Has social media affected stand-up comedy in any way?

Social media has given comedy different angles for people to express themselves. People can make skits and other forms of comedy from the comfort of their homes. Comedy is wide and anything one can do to make people laugh is comedy. I will say it’s a plus to stand-up comedy.

What do you love to do apart from comedy?

I love comedy and I’ll still keep doing comedy. I wouldn’t want to venture into another profession. But the society we live in does not allow us to stick to just one source of income. Even our president is holding two offices (laughs). I love business, so I am a businessman and I’m gradually growing it.

How did you come about the name ‘Mc Shakara’

My friends named me shakara because of the way I dressed and walked. I was skinny back then so whenever I walked, it felt like I was cat-waking. So, the name stuck.

What are some of the challenges you faced?

The challenge I faced and still face in   entertainment/stand-up comedy is getting business partners and sponsors. I have written proposals that some sponsors didn’t buy into. Sometimes, it’s tiring. I recently hosted my show ‘shakara and the gang’ on July 10 in Warri and I got excuses from sponsors owing to the current state of our dear country and inflation. Getting support from the private sector and the government has been a major challenge. We make people happy and help them relieve stress. If not for comedy, few people will survive in this current economy. Therefore the government should also support comedians.

What is your advice to up-and-coming comedians?

Young comedians/entertainers shouldn’t come into the industry because they want to make ends meet. They should be passionate about it. I came into the industry because I was passionate and not for money. They must learn to sacrifice, create time to attend auditions, and do away with the mindset of a part-time entertainer. Also, they should keep working and be prayerful because it takes both one’s talent and the grace of God to be successful.

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