Lafup, the supremely confident comedian and MC did not just happen. He is a product of years of intense grooming and training. From his days as an undergraduate at the University of Ibadan where he studied Theater Arts, Lafup, as Segun Ogundipe is fondly referred to, was one of the regular acts at Laffomania, a production that usually held the UI community spellbound.
Ask Lafup how he finds it easy moving from acting to stand-up comedy and he will tell you “they are two different professions but they both make use of primarily the same tools for performance. First is the human body, second is the social expression. When you are live on the screen, there is a line of script of non-verbal cues and verbal cues. It is just a case almost natural in stand-up comedy that you are playing alone, you are your own director and script writer, it is just you and the audience.
Acting in this case, is just like performance act rather than performing act, you can always call for a tape. When you do the job here, you are showing on DSTV or anywhere, I don’t have to be there and that is the difference between the two. In juggling both, we actually need to expand; we need to do other projects”.
The sweet-natured comedian explained what drives him recently. It is nothing but passion and with it, he has been able to efficiently put himself in perfect command of his trade. “for me, having a Masters in Theatre Arts, it is what I love, it is a passion and it is what we have learnt over the years, we have served people and it is time to also take a part and bring to the people, because not everybody can come to the theatre and we are in an age where everybody owns their media, they own their phones, they own their cable TV on the go. So, it is better for us to reach them, we are trying to also create content, content is key, we trying to create so that people can consume some of the things that we have and enjoy Lafup”, he said.
Looking back to the early days, Lafup pointed out that he actually pursued a career in acting before he went into stand-up comedy. He said “when I left school, my first place of work was with Wole Ogunjimi; that is the household of theatre business in Nigeria and Africa; they performed at the Shakespeare theatre and the great Oluku Festival”. Speaking further, he said “I went for a lot of auditions in my early days because I left University of Ibadan as one of the best actors in my time, the other best actors in my class were my pals, the likes of Gabriel Afolayan, Sunkanmi Adebayo, and we were friends, we were roommates, we did everything together”.
Now, Lafup does not just compare courageously with the very best in terms of comedy, he is one of the best and his friendship with those at the top is deep and respectful. Of course he too has paid his dues and he is not called ‘Bobagunwa’ for nothing’s sake. “I started at the University of Ibadan, I started producing my comedy in 2003, at first there was a show called Laffomania, the likes of Solomon Uduoaye, Saka, that was how I met Hafeez Oyetoro and his partner, Lepacious Bose, they used to do some jokes together on The Night Of A Thousand Laughs, these are the people that started Laffomania. So, when I came I asked what is happening in the school, what about the comedy shows that people watch, they said Laffomania. Luckily that year Solomon Iguare brought it to school, the following year I called him and asked when we were going to do the next show , he said he doesn’t have time because then he was working in British Council and I asked him to write the script, that I will produce it with my money”.
Though the funds were not available, Lafup was passionate about what he was doing. Explaining how the combination of passion and skill worked for him, he said “funnily I didn’t have a dime but I was so passionate at that time. So, he said I should come and see him, I met with him and he gave me the script and asked if I was sure I could do it and I said don’t worry. I was already doing Lafup. So we produced the first show and it was sold out, when we did the second show one of my lecturers came to me and said he thinks it is time for me to use my name and not another person’s name.
Already we had started teasers, we tease people in the school with some pictures; we cut stencil in 5 by 7 sizes and write comments asking people what they thought about the pictures, it was like our own Instagram then. We were supposed to use poster but we didn’t have the money. We would put them at different major parts of the school and particular place where the shows happen. That was how we started enticing the people. The reigning tune then was ‘Effrebo Effrebo you go wound o’, so we just changed the name to Effrebo Laffomania because we had already built Laffomania, people now love Laffomania again as they used to love it.
After some time we just dropped Laffomania and we kept Effrebo. So, after U.I I did Laff and Burst, I did Laff Live, I was still looking for that name, then I saw what AY was doing in Lagos I said let me put my name, that was what brought about Lafup Live, the title of the first show we did at Jogor Centre”.