The bittersweet ramble of AY, the comedian on Netflix

7 May 2023

Hi Folks,

So part of my duty to you is to bring you gist that will worth your while. So my weekend was spent looking for interesting experiences to share with you.

I was indeed out there, first to the farm; then to a 70th birthday lunch and back to a quiet evening. As I looked through my messages, I fell upon this thought provoking piece from Joseph Edgar a.k.a Duke of Shomolu.

Why am I even sharing it? One reason, it identifies a challenge and offers a practical solution to the export of talents.

Read him;

Comedy has a very strong cultural element. It feeds off the ethos of the people, its ethics, language, culture, and trend on the streets and villages.

Once you understand this, you will understand the struggle the highly successful AY went thru on stage in this Netflix flop he has called a comedy show.

It’s easier for the Americans or the British to be successful with us because we have endured and been exposed for several centuries to their culture and ethos.

In fact, we Africans, both here and in the diaspora, are more American than George Bush and more British than King Charles and his brood.

We walk around mimicking their language, watch their movies, dressing like them, and generally wanting to be like them, even lightning our skins and strengthening our hair. 👀

So its easy for us to understand their jokes and connect. Eddie Murphy would crack you, and Kevin Hart will mess you up more easily than for an Alibaba to crack a fully white audience.

So at best of times, AY is an average comedian lacking in the natural dead pan timing of the king Alibaba or the musical ingenuity of the little black boy who uses songs to deliver his jokes or the earthy boldness of Kofi my brother and as such dropping him on a multi ethnic audience in Atlanta with a Netflix gig, was always going to be trouble.

Hi performance lacked the expected flow, his language funny as he inter-wove between a fake ‘oyibo’ accent and his more powerful down to earth Nigerian English and finally dumping with pidgin.

I pitied him. As we could see, the audience was behaving like oil on water. There is no mixture in the appreciation of his lame jokes. 😕

The few jokes that hit were better appreciated by the Nigerians in the Hall while their white friends who were probably brought by their Nigerian partners just looked on wondering what exactly they were doing there.

This was a bitter sweet experience for me as I saw a young Nigerian trying so hard to make us proud, although in a flat way.

AY has broken many records. He is touted as the most followed African comedian – I don’t agree because he definitely is not counting Trevor Noah, and he has delivered so many box office hits. 

But I think this attempt at cross-cultural global conquest is beyond him.

This is not music because rhythm is universal. So it’s easier for our musicians to take the world than for our comedians with indigenous jokes to take the world, talk less of AY, who is a better businessman than a talented comic. 

If you ask me, I think our comedians should concentrate on our diaspora communities all over the world and exploit it.

We have the population in all the cities of the world, and pushing deeply into it will bring the necessary recognition and cash flow.

It is after conquering that market that you can start trying very slowly towards the mainstream with your full identity and culture intact.

Be the biggest Nigerian comedian in Atlanta to the Nigerian and African community and let that crowd take you to Broadway and you go there with your ‘Nigerian-ness’ and blow the place no matter what. 

Trying to be a Kevin Hart with a mixture of waffi accent and broken American accent and lame American jokes will just strengthen your label as a joke.

I’m happy for AY, I’m happy for the way he is carving a niche for himself and opening up the way for up and coming comedians but this one I am watching on Netflix, is nothing but a painful joke.


Duke of Shomolu.

I kind of feel what Edgar is saying here and it is indeed a wake up call to our talents who jave their eyes on a global market.