Nigeria’s position as the entertainment capital of Africa has often been demonstrated with the global success of our film industry, Nollywood, and music. But a third contributor, Comedy, is now about to get up and take its place.
As Nigerian comedians continue to build a thriving industry out of little, consumers have come to embrace Nigerian comedy as preferred entertainment content, causing revenues to grow up to the billion naira mark in the past five years, and influences on music, movies, public relations and advertising skyrocketing. According to pioneer stand-up comedian Ali Baba, the industry is now estimated to be worth around 1 billion naira, as of December 2016.
The industry will now welcome its first festival, a much-needed platform to discuss past, present and future issues and opportunities, showcase talent, celebrate legends, buy and sell, and teach. Eko Comedy Festival, so named because of its Lagos origin, will hold in May of 2017, as part of what organisers, First Class Entertainment, say is a timely intervention to restructure the comedy industry, while preparing the market for a future that can see comedy contribute remarkable to Nigeria and Africa’s GDP. ‘Our industry has indeed come of age, thriving through many generations and genres’, says founder Tunde Adewale. ‘ECOFEST is a celebration of the Nigerian comedy industry, and we’re glad that our debut coincides with the 50th anniversary of our host state, Lagos.’