The lobby at the Eko Hotel & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria came alive to rhythm of the feet of the rich and famous on Friday, January 1st, 2016. The entrance of the Expo Hall was a little busy when we arrived. Photographers were stooping in clusters in a bid to get the right shots of the celebrities strutting the red carpet.
As I find my way into the large hall, Seyi Law’s voice could be heard meters away. He was in his best element that night I could tell. The hall was filled to capacity. It is only the name Ali Baba and a show of this stature that could pull such a massive crowd from the corporate world. Not only that, individuals who are great fans of the King of Comedy were there to enjoy bespoke jokes from both upcoming and famous comedians.
Seyi Law was anchoring the pre-show segment as I took my seat on one of tables at the far end of the hall. He never cracked any ludicrous joke; in fact he was at the centre of his own jokes. Quite interesting was his joke on his encounter with the army. His story has it that he was invited to compere a show for the army. He indirectly cast aspersion on a man who was surrounded by women. To him, he was the ugliest man ever. Unknown to him, the man was the army boss. That was the beginning of his woes. As he was waylaid by the boss’ boys after the show. In their bid to teach him a lesson, they made a fool of themselves.
For me, his performance that sealed the night was his classic imitation of famous Fuji musician, Wasiu Ayinde Marshal otherwise known as K1, the ultimate or Kwam 1. He blew the audience away with the imitation of Kwam 1’s mannerisms. He carefully chose his lyrics to highlight how the musician talks of his achievements, a combination of acoustic and narration. Seyi’s performance was greeted with a resounding applause from the audience.
Of course, there was no dull moment as every comedian who graced the Ali Baba January Ist Concert stage thrilled the audience. The top 10 out of the 50 upcoming comedians who applied to participate in the 2016 edition of Ali Baba Spontaneity did not disappoint. Each of them were given an object or issue to crack joke about in two-minutes. The objects range from wheelbarrow to the fine slammed on MTN by the NCC. These among other issues were thrown up. But D-1 emerged the winner as he took home the gift of a car.
Also, the performance of Gbenga Adenuga and his band got the audience on their feet as everyone lifted up their hands and voice to thank God for grace to see the New Year.
Shortly after, ace actor, Richard Mofe-Damijo got on stage to introduce the man of the moment, the King of Comedy, Ali Baba, who surprised everyone in his military attire. He spoke extensively about his choice of costume to honour the Nigerian Army where is father served for many years.
He made a joke out of his first experience applying in the Nigerian Army at his father’s insistence. He told his father he did not want to go to the army but the resounding slap that landed on his face made him changed his mind. After writing the entry exams, he failed. This gave him the opportunity to pursue his passion in the arts.
The night was completed by the performances of Cobhams Asukwo, Dare Art-Alade, Tosin Martins, MI Abaga, Bez, Timi Dakolo, Tu Face among others. It was a great night of comedy and music. January 1, 2017 is another date!