My first fee was N500 — Kenny Blaq

Comedian, Otolorin Peter Kehinde, aka Kenny Blaq, opens up on his unique brand of comedy in this interview

What was your childhood ambition?

I have always wanted to be a musician with a live band. I was inspired by the likes of King Sunny Ade, Tunde and Wunmi Obe, Lanre Teriba, Dare Melody, Shina Peters, Mega 99, among others.

Can you recall your first ever performance?

It was a crazy experience! I didn’t know what to say or do, talk less of knowing where to start from. I had a clown costume, and you can imagine a clown behaving like Baba Suwe. That was how I looked. I was nervous and scared to my very marrow. But as soon as I stepped out and people saw me, they started laughing, thinking it was part of the script. I immediately seized that opportunity to act like I wasn’t nervous. I said, ‘The way you’re all looking at me as if you want to beat me is making me shake.’ They laughed so hard and I was so happy that people enjoyed my performance.

What’s the first fee you got for comedy?

It was either N500 or N800.

Who was the first person that believed in you?

My paternal uncle was the first person who saw the talent in me. He gave me my first platform in 2008. His name is Ezekiel, popularly known as P. Famous.

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Which people do you admire?

I am influenced by my environment. People like Ali Baba, Julius Agwu, Kevin Hart, Chris Rock, Dino Melaye, Klint da Drunk, among others are also people I admire.

Have you ever been a singer?

Yes, I was in a band way back in 2004. It was a Yoruba band; we performed at weddings and other social functions. I was also a member of the choir.

When did you start infusing music into your comedy?

I’ve always been that way. Each time I hear something, it takes a comic form in my mind, and I’d play around with it. However, it became real in 2008. It is so easy for me to do as it comes to me naturally every time.

What was your parents’ reaction to your choice of career?

My mom wasn’t the type of woman who’d let her child out of her sight for long. A lot of times, she watched me dress up, knowing that I planned to attend an  event. Whenever I finished wearing my clothes, she would ask where I was headed to. She’s late now and I miss her. On the other hand, my dad has always been cool. He knows all my jokes and won’t hesitate to let me know how he feels. My elder brother was in a group with Jah Bless, and another one is a sound engineer. So, I’ve always been around people who are musically inclined.

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What’s the most memorable thing that has happened to you as a comedian?

There are many memorable things but the most recent one happened in London. Ali Baba, AY and Okey Bakassi introduced me on stage as the next big thing in the comedy industry. It’s a day I will never forget. If I tell you that I was denied a visa few months before that time, would you believe?

What challenges do you face?

A lot of people still do not understand my kind of comedy yet, some other people want to hear a particular joke of mine over and over again because of the way I turn their favourite songs around. And even when I do that, some people would complain that they have heard it before. I’m finding it hard to balance those people for now.

Some people feel you’re copying the late CD John’s style of comedy, what do you have to say to that?

If CD John was alive today, he will be super proud of me because we shared moments together on stage when he was alive and he once told me that he liked my style. He even suggested that we should collaborate and I really wish we achieved that before his demise because CD John did more of crazy testimonies about the Igbo people and the western church, while I am more of a storyteller playing with people’s imaginations.

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What’s the greatest sacrifice you’ve ever made for your career?

Not being able to walk on the street like the average Joe.

How do you unwind?

I sleep a lot because my schedule can be tight at times. But I also read a lot, especially on long flights.

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