Nigerian comedian, Otolorin Kehinde, aka Kenny Blaq, in this interview with Olamide Famuwagun, shares his journey towards fame.
The name Kenny Blaq needs no introduction as people have become accustomed to your amazing talent in the comedy industry. What are the sacrifices behind the brand?
One of the sacrifices is the belief that whatever I give is not enough; if I crack a joke today and I get a standing ovation, I challenge myself to do better so that the next time I perform, it is better than the former. Another sacrifice I made was not being everywhere. Of course, I could not be friends with everyone and it was not like I left them but I was too busy and distracted. One of the biggest sacrifices I also made was putting a pause on my music. I am a fantastic singer like many people tell me, so it was hard for me to choose between comedy and music because comedy is my life and I am naturally a very funny person but music was what I wanted to do, so I needed to sacrifice one for the other. I decided to do comedy since it is something I could do naturally, in a way the music came and I was able to marry both comedy and music.
You and your twin sister marked 30th birthday this year; can you tell us what you miss about both of you since you gained prominence?
One thing I miss since I got famous is that when a visitor comes to the house, we were both given money. But now, they don’t see me at home, so she gets all the money (laughs). Taiwo has been like a mother to me since our mother passed on, I am not sure there is anything I miss about her because no matter where I am, we always find a way to communicate, even when she comes around, she wears my clothes, we still bond and she comes over often, so it is not like I have left my sister or fame has changed me to the point that I do not communicate with my family.
With your laudable achievements, is there any plan to get married soon?
I plan to get married; I have not seen anyone yet. How soon it will be is God’s plan, my life is based on God’s plan. One of the biggest mistakes that can ever happen to any celebrity or anyone in the creative industry, male or female, is to settle with the wrong person. Settling down with the wrong person will drain one financially and emotionally. One thing I want to do is to settle down with the right person. You cannot find 100 per cent in a person but you both can complement and complete each other.
How were you discovered? Whom will you tag as being instrumental to your growth in the comedy industry?
I performed at a Sound Sultan event and a senior colleague, Egor, saw me and said he would put me on his next show. From his show, I met Gbenga Adeyinka, and Ali Baba also took notice of me, and then AY, that was how I found my footing in the comedy industry. Every time they saw me perform at events, they put me on their platforms. So, I had to go to different events where these senior colleagues eventually saw me. Today, I cannot count how many people have been instrumental towards my career development.
Speaking of these senior colleagues, did you feel pressure working with them? How did you deal with the pressure?
Yes, I felt the pressure. The pressure was how I was going to meet up with my senior colleagues; it got to a point that I was the one closing the shows after the likes of Basket Mouth, Bovi, I Go Die and the rest. When I am on stage, I see everyone as my mirror because my first audience was my standing mirror. I tell myself that if I can make the person in the mirror laugh, then I could make anyone laugh. I overcame the pressure by believing so much in myself, my jokes, and the platform. This is what has made me Kenny Blaq.
With just a month left to start the New Year, are there any other proposed plans that you are yet to achieve, and what are your plans for the coming year?
This year, I did a Canada tour and a New York tour. Before the end of the year, by God’s grace, I am going to drop a comedy special on my YouTube channel called ‘Chicken or Beef?’, it is a show I wrote based on if I should sing or crack jokes or do both. Next year, we celebrate 15 years.
What should upcoming talented comedians learn from your growth process in the industry?
On social media, most people post their ups but not their downs. Most entertainers do not show people the struggle and what it took. My advice to those who are up and coming is to post your challenges, learn from them and let others learn as well. Do not be too big to attend local shows, you never can tell who is watching. My final advice is do not just wait for the future, prepare for it.