Basketmouth — born Bright Okpocha — is one of Nigeria’s richest and most awarded comedians. He’s won the Best Standup Comedian of the Year award, the National Comedy Award, and has attracted endorsement contracts from large companies. He’s a singer, a comedian, a singing comedian and entrepreneur. Here are 12 things you didn’t know about Basketmouth.
In his beginning days of standup, Basketmouth would perform at a place called Tag in Apapa, a major port in the city of Lagos. One day someone in the audience yelled at him and called him a basket mouth. He kept the name.
Around the same time Bright Okpocha took the name Basketmouth, there was another comedian who went by Basketmouth. Ernest Essien is Okpocha’s senior and he decided to let the younger comedian have the name.
Okpocha is the brand ambassador for leading telecommunications company Globacom and he is the CEO and owner of Barons World Entertainment, a Nigerian entertainment company that produces shows in Nigeria and internationally.
When he was 13 years Basketmouth discovered that he loved playing the drums. which led him to rapping and eventually he and his brother formed several bands — first a seven man band that split up and later a three-person group. At the time rap wasn’t totally accepted in their city so they gave up music.
The first time Basketmouth attempted standup comedy he was booed off the stage. This motivated him to take some time to study the different forms of standup and what would work well in Nigeria, and in his local state.
Basketmouth also works in event management. When he was still getting his comedy career off the ground, he worked with his friend, Bayo Adekeye, planning and promoting comedy and music shows. Eventually he founded “Laff ‘n Jamz,” a regular show that combines musicians and comedians. The first show featured Ali Baba, Teju Babyface, Paul Play and others.
Basketmouth has performed at concerts for Boys 2 Men, Seal Paul, Beyoncé, Wyclef Jean, Akon, Snoop Dogg, Ciara and Chris Brown.
Basketmouth told VanguardNigeria that he believes what makes him a strong comedian is that he sees his job as a proper profession, like a 9-to-5 job, and that he can, “…turn anything…into a funny song.”
After putting on his first “Nite of a Thousand Laughs” show with comedian Opa Williams, Okpocha realized the show had brought in barely half of what the producers spent on it. Okpocha discovered that the people working the security had allegedly manipulated ticket sales.
He is working on an album called “Me, Myself and I” in which he will showcase his talents as a singer, a comedian and a musical comedian.
Okpocha plans to appear in a soap opera. He hasn’t revealed which one but his close friend and business partner Opa Williams told Dailyindependentnig.com that he will be filming a Kenyan soap opera. Williams said he will use “two known faces in the acting arena.” Those are some hard dots not to connect, but we will see.
He’s appearing in the movie “Head Gone,” a comedy in English featuring other comedians such as Tuface and Ali Baba.