A Comedian can saunter in sprightly or walk in slugging, sluggish, slouching , rocking from side to side like a village drunk. Some can be heralded in with pomp and aplomb while they hop and jump on to the stage shrieking like spirit filled Pentecostal pastors on a mission to cast out demons from gullible adherents.Yes, some could choose to crawl in and start by testing the public address system all over again.
The manner of their grande entry is not what really matters.That is part of the opening theatrics.
The audience , style , genre of the trade each fun box adopts also influences their dress sense as some could choose to show up under any guise- some could act presidential, others could adorn themselves in the borrowed flowing ecclesiastical robes worn by Church prelates, while others could show up in robust Agbada, danshiki or in tattered pants, shirts or skirts.
Welcome to the world of former palace clowns, jesters , human joke boxes now known , called and celebrated locally, nationally and globally as Comedians or Entertainers.
This trade has a long and rich history as they were ever present in medieval palaces of royals and in the castles of decorated noblemen in Europe and Chiefs in African kingdoms.
Modernity has changed the way they dress and addressed but their roles have not evolved drastically; they still work to loosen taut nerves , stimulate relaxation, break monotony when public events inch towards becoming drab.They serve as fillers to buy time for transitions in the programme of Events.
This job has assumed so much importance through the centuries because ” laughter is the best medicine” ; therapeutic.
The calling has evolved and several practitioners have become Award winning musicians , movie stars , talk show hosts / hostesses, corporate brand ambassadors who cruise around in exotic cars from their earnings.They now set agenda in politics and can talk science, technology, climate change, oil and gas ,The planetary system , innovations, inventions, Sports, telecommunications , witchcraft, love , death , philosophy, and a myriad issues.
Some of the leading laughter merchants like Alibaba, Basket Mouth , Bovi , I go Die , Helen Paul, Saka , Julius Agwu, Okon Lagos to mention but very few have turned the vocation into high art and have reaped a bountiful harvest in fame , money , property and materials.The ones in this class now rub shoulders with the high and mighty , the movers and shakers in the society. Infact, their “runs” have taken them beyond national borders and enrolled them into a special halls of fame. These special breed are at ease forming jokes around high finance , International trade, Phenomena, Currencies , Exchange rates , Insurance , Missile systems, Literature or Music etc.
However , a majority still stand, rooted in one place since 1200 performing as dark artists without shame. These ones see their invitation to perform at Marriages, Banquets, Galas, Anniversaries, Launcheons and even at Church events as promotion to dizzying heights – a chance to fart loudly and poo deliberately in the full glare of the public believing that they have a license to say anything they wish.They can insult, smear, ridicule and abuse dignitaries in the audience.They can denigrate wives, mothers, husbands, fathers in the full glare of the public without qualms.They can ascribe body odour to ladies just to settle a score thinking that people would be amused.
These figures of fun can jab with words which pierce the heart and deflates egos and still believe it is a great joke.
They can use useful words usefully and often use awkward words more awkwardly.
They can transport politicians, policemen, corrupt lecturers and Journalists, petrol dealers, artisans , traders and others to hell , hand them over to Lucifer for crucifixion and condemnation to the hottest part of hell for their wrong – doings on earth.Yes, they can cause goose bumps by magnifying small errors , indiscretions in speech mannerism , dress sense , style of walking , how a big man growls , eats like a glutton or has a -larger -than – life pot – belly.
Their victims include Pastors, women, Presidents , Governors , top businessmen and women , Legislators, Ministers , Chairmen of Councils and other highly placed public officials. Jesters jokes could be hot or cold , hard , harsh and vulgar.Unfortunately , women are mostly the butt of their lurid jokes.
The comedians can focus on the hypocrisy of several politicians who don’t care for their old parents until death knocks only for them to hire a real brass band to perform at the funeral.
Often, their jokes do strike wrong chords, causing listeners to wince, cry and laugh at the same time , particularly, if they reveal the dark and well kept secrets of men and women.In doing this , they can drive knives through husbands and wives or put a wedge between friends, colleagues at work and business associates.
Comedians can tell intelligent or foolish stories, they can jumble facts and figures and stand well known truths on their heads.
The knowledgeable ones can tell political leaders and corporate executives some home truths through rib cracking jokes while some could take sycophancy to higher heights just to please political leaders and paymasters or prospective clients.
A lot of them posess the skills to make an evening special and memorable by holding the audience spell bound while the less talented and ill- educated ones usually get trapped in bewildering banalities and inanities . They could joke about the experiences of very very important persons who sleep on golden beds but still have bad dreams and nightmares.
The dark art of some comedians could become brighter arts if some , like the one who performed at the 2019 Press Week Dinner /Awards Night of the Akwa Ibom State Council of the Nigerian Union of Journalists in Uyo last Friday, get better education and in the process improve their mindset and intellectual depth.
Education will enlarge their mental capacity , engender creativity so they can display intelligence in feeling the pulse and mood of the audience and even in time management . It would help them to appreciate the composition of the crowd so vital in engagement of the audience and linking people, events , circumstances and phenomena intelligently.
Thorough education would expose these comedians to ideas and move them away from street gossip and silly banter because only small minds and low lives discuss people.
This way, these entertainers could give jokes but not end up in shame as funny figures themselves.