5 Things AY Talked About in His Interview with Chude Jideonwo | #WithChude
Veteran Nigerian comedian, Ayo Makun popularly known as AY is the latest guest to make an appearance on Chude Jideonwo’s talk show #WithChude.
In this interview, AY opens up about his days in university, moving to Lagos, his career, his friendship with Basketmouth and lots more.
Here are five things he talked about in his interview:
His success as a filmmaker, actor, skit maker, TV and event producer, and concept creator
I am passion-driven, and when I set aside time to achieve certain set goals, I go all the way. I am one of those who wouldn’t want to fail for any reason, and I know that the minute I make that decision, a lot of other people are also looking forward to what the outcome would be.
The hilarious and instructive story about investing 500 million naira into a nightclub despite his wife’s advice
I woke up one day and said to myself, It’s time to open a nightclub business. I was like, AY, if you can gather six thousand people at the EKO Hotel, what’s a nightclub? On a Friday night, you can’t just gather, say, 100 or 200 people and start buying drinks and everything. I think God just wanted me to know that this is not your calling; you’re the one calling yourself for this one. As I say, it’s good to always have the right partner, so my wife was strongly against it. “I don’t think this is what you should do,” I said, No, it’s also good for networking. It’s good for PRO. It’s good to have meetings with the corporates; invite them once in a while.” I thought then that I was just going to take it out of there. It was a huge investment. This was an investment worth about 500 million. We put everything in place: the staff strength was solid, the interior was crazy, everything. I will go there every Friday. I looked at the door, but I didn’t see people coming. The opening was, of course, massive. I was like, “Yeah, this is it, I’m now in business.” Then I started with a non-smoking club, which I publicized. The wise ones would call me on the side, “AY, you say dey no go smoke.” Shine Peller called me, and I said, “This is how I want to do my own.”
Long story short, I saw my period. It was very, very bad.
His move to Lagos and building a successful career in the entertainment industry
I’ve always been an all-encompassing showbiz personality. From when I was a student at Delta State University. I’ve always been an organiser. I used to organise the campus beauty pageant. I used to organise the campus award nights. At the time I was a student, the pageantry I was putting together was giving out cars. That’s to let you know how authentic and solid I’ve been as an organiser. I used to do shows way back in the day where people would believe that you couldn’t bring XYZ to the campus community, and I would bring those people, and they would ask me, “How do you do it?” My strong point has always been being an organiser and putting events together.
What made it work for me was when I invited Alibaba to Delta State University to be a major part of my event. He was very impressed with the airport pickup and every other arrangement that was in place. He looked at me and said to me, “Your sense of packaging is solid. What are you doing after school? Maybe you should come to Lagos?” That was how I found myself in Lagos.
I started as his personal assistant, and from being his personal assistant I was promoted in two years to becoming his event manager, and then we would run shows. I brought my own vibe, my own tonic, into the system, and I became his favourite.
The solid point for the AY brand was my background as an organiser, so it was easy to put my first show together and be able to stir up an apathetic audience. It was easy to know what to do to bring everyone together. It was easy to just make it work.
The reason why he spent nine years getting a degree at Delta State University
A lot of young people, there’s a major problem that we have. The problem of setting your priorities right, which a lot of us suffer from as well. I gained admission to Delta State University to study music. That was the first time I gained admission to Delta State University. There was this M-factor: music, mass communication. I found my name under Music. I went to Mass Communication; obviously, my name wasn’t there.
There was this story back then where they said, if you accepted it, take elective courses in the department you intend to change into, and once it’s time for the 200-level, they will let you go there. I said, Okay, fine. I accepted the music. I cannot even describe myself after one year. I was a complete idiot because I didn’t understand what my business was with Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti Do. I hated the department; the department even developed a hatred for me. I kept on saying, I’m not supposed to be here. I took my elective courses and passed very well. Then it was time to let me go, and then they said, “Look around. You people are not more than eight in this class. If we start changing everybody, it means we will not have anybody here in the department.”
That was how I was in the music department. In my final year, I just woke up and said, This is not me. I’m not doing this anymore.” I went to write jamb again. It wasn’t mass communication any more for me; it was now theatre arts. Then, calamity struck again…
He addresses the ongoing rift with Basketmouth
I think it’s also okay to address it. The other person has been granted a series of interviews in line with his beliefs and relationship with AY. I think I will use this opportunity to address this particular one for once. The comedy industry is a very wonderful industry. When the comedy industry started with all the live shows, you saw comedians standing behind each other.
Basketmouth was very good to me right from the very beginning. He was good to me in the sense that he was blessed with this talent; he was also blessed with the platform that made him a seasoned brand even when some of us were struggling to create a balance.
In 2006, this beef—that’s for you to know where it’s coming from. He usually would get gigs like weddings, so what he would do at that point was go and attend one, leave that venue for the next one, and then you will need somebody to stand in. That was the opportunity I got from him at the time, which I am very appreciative of to this day.
Something funny happened. In one of the gigs, I got his endorsement to go stand in. Usually what will get at that time is 30k. 30,000 at that time was everything to me…
I got this job, and the people were not too happy seeing me around the venue because they were expecting Baskemouth. A long story short, the guy was later happy after the performance, and I think there was an exchange of numbers.
Two weeks running, I haven’t seen 30K. I didn’t see 30k, and I was starving in the morning. I decided to ask for 30k. I decided to ask for 30k and he said this person hasn’t remitted…
Watch the full interview below: