Making a living through comedy is a viable option in Nigeria and around the world. Especially with the people who show up to comedy clubs and stand-up comedy performances. Most Nigerians like a good chuckle, and given the numerous enemies that have beset their country, this trait has been embraced as a means of survival.
Sixty years ago, the comedy profession was not at all commercialized. As of now, it is a N50 billion a year business, making it the third most lucrative sector in Nigeria’s entertainment industry after Nollywood and music. The Nigerian comedy industry is currently in its third generation, and it has expanded and amassed fortune in recent years, with some comedians earning below or up to 500 million Naira in sponsorships and contracts from brands like Globacom, MTN, Virgin Atlantic, Indomie, and Coca Cola.
They have taken it to the next level by producing their own comedy events and competitions in Nigeria and internationally. For instance, many well-known comedians, including Basket mouth and others, showed up to Opa William’s Nite of a Thousand Laughs. “Basketmouth’s Uncensored” (records N100 million annually), “AY’s Open Mic Competition,” and “Alibaba’s Spontaneity Comedy Talent Hunt & January 1st event” are also examples of successful comedy shows.
Many of these comedians or skit makers have gone digital and drifted toward Nollywood production as the industry has undergone a makeover. Comedic actors like Ayo Makun (“Merry Men”), Bovi (“My Village People”), and Basket mouth (“My Flatmates”) demonstrate the close relationship between Nollywood and the comedy industry.
Tickets to stand-up comedy shows have previously sold for as much as N1.5 million for a table of six, with the cheapest tickets selling for only N5,000; this praises the financial security that comes with the profession. It’s no surprise that the country’s greatest comedians have become wealthy enough to own houses in Banana Island and take vacations at some of the top 10 most costly hotels in Nigeria. A number of 2021’s wealthiest comedians made 2022’s list. Let’s examine the N50 billion comedy industry in Nigeria and identify the richest comedians.
Akpororo is the one and only Nigerian comedian that has the ability to make everyone laugh. As the number ten richest comedian in Nigeria, Bowoto Jephthah Oluwatiseyifumi Tanimola (aka Akpororo) has a net worth of N350 million. Akpororo hails from Ilaje, Ondo State, Nigeria, but he was born and raised in Warri, a city in Delta State, and his success in the comedy industry has earned him endorsements and the freedom to host events on his own.
After moving to Lagos at the beginning of 2009, Akpororo participated in the AY’s Open Mic Challenge on two separate occasions. His breakout role on “Basketmouth’s Laff and Jam” in 2013 led to guest spots on other comedy programs, most notably AY Live, and a subsequent rise to fame. On August 12, 2014, at the Shell Hall, MUSON Centre, Akpororo hosted his first major comedy show, “Akpororo vs Akpororo.”
Godwin Komone, better known by his stage name Gordons, has a net worth of N 400 million in 2022, making him the ninth richest comedian in Nigeria. Aside from his work as a musician, he also acts and hosts on television. Lots of would-be comics look up to Gordon. This comic got his start when he was spotted by the famous Delta State gospel music comedy ensemble D.C. Envoy. Gordon’s success in standup comedy can be attributed in large part to the fact that he came from a poor family. Gordons Comedy Clinic is the name of the comedy show he hosts.
Supposedly, he got his stage name by combining the names of two products: Gordons Spark and Gordons Gin. Gordons is a master of several trades, and he has worked with Richard Mofe Damijo’s Made in Warri team in the past. In 2006, he finally received his big break thanks to one of these times. Some of the places you may find him performing include AY Live Shows and A Nite of A Thousand Laughs, but he has also been featured on a number of other channels.
8. Gbenga Adeyinka
Gbenga Adeyinka, a veteran of the Nigerian comedy scene, has amassed a net worth of N500 million, placing him eighth on the list of the country’s richest comedians. Because of the show “Laffmattaz,” Gbenga Adeyinka has gained a lot of popularity. It is reported that the show has earned him a significant sum of money in addition to his role as host for “Star.” The presenter of “Shine Shine Bobo” has other businesses and a significant number of assets in his name, which are located in various parts of Nigeria.
Bovi Ugboma, better known by his stage name Bovi, is a prominent comedian and actor who has amassed a net worth of N600 million. Well-known for hosting hilarious stand-up gigs and performances, like the aforementioned “Bovi Man on Fire.” Not one to rest on his laurels, Bovi launched his acting career in April 2007 with a role in the sitcom Family: Extended.
Bovi had established himself as a major player in Nigerian comedic performances and festivals by 2008. And he did his first bit of stand-up comedy in the Nigerian comic staple Night of a Thousand Laughs. Bovi first performed stand-up comedy at Opa Williams’ Night of a Thousand Laughs, which is widely regarded as the best comedy show in Nigeria. Thankfully, he was the main attraction all throughout the country in 2011.
Bovi started a new series in 2018, titled “BACK TO SCHOOL,” which he released to his YouTube channel. The series began in 2012. Bovi has collaborated with a wide variety of Nigerian comedians, including I Go Die, I Go Save, Basketmouth, Buchi, Odogwu, Okey Bakassi, Julius Agwu, and many others.
6. Okey Bakassi
Okechukwu Anthony Onyegbule, better known by his stage name Okey Bakassi, is a formidable stand-up comic. To put Okey Bakassi’s net worth of N800 million in 2022 into perspective, he ranks as the sixth richest comedian in Nigeria. Thanks to Okey’s comedic skills, he was able to perform in front of influential Nigerians like politicians and famous people.
Okey Bakassi, a man of exceptional talent, displayed his potential by making people laugh through elaborate scenarios. He won the Best Actor in a Leading Role (Igbo) award for his performance in Onye Ozi at the 2014 Best of Nollywood Awards.
5. Julius Agwu
Another gifted Nigerian comic is Julius Agwu, who ranks as the country’s fifth richest comedian in 2022 with a stunning net worth of N1.5 billion. Among the most accomplished comedians in the business, Julius Agwu is a household name. Making people laugh has always been an important goal for Julius Agwu. He is quite possibly the oldest stand-up comic in the country. Much like Ali Baba, he is credited for helping to foster and develop a number of successful comedians, including Basket Mouth.
In 2016, after enduring multiple operations and being declared clinically dead, Julius Agwu fought like a true fighter to regain his health and continue fighting. At the moment his corpse was being transported to the morgue, he miraculously revived. Comedian had been ill with a fatal condition prior to this happening. He claims that God intervened to spare his life.
4. I Go Dye
Francis Agoda, well known by his stage name I Go Dye, has a net worth of N2.13 billion in 2022, making him the fourth richest comedian in Nigeria. Like many other Nigerian comedians, I Go Dye rose to prominence after appearing on the acclaimed “Night of a Thousand Laughs,” which showcased the finest comedic talents in the country and received rave reviews for being both entertaining and therapeutic.
In addition to his comic career, I Go Dye is also involved in the construction and real estate industries. Curiously, I Go die doesn’t have the physical characteristics of a billionaire. But don’t let his diminutive stature fool you; he can make even the bulkiest bodyguard roll on the floor with hysterical laughter. Without a shadow of a doubt, I Go Dye is one of the few famous people to have had a truly remarkable career in comedy. A European comedy tour in more than seven countries makes him a pioneer in the field. Through his professional endeavors, he was invited to participate in the UNESCO Cultural Week, where he gave a successful performance and won an award.
In 2022, Bright Okocha, better known by his stage name Basket mouth, ranks as Nigeria’s third richest comedian. In addition to becoming a household celebrity, Basketmouth’s massive net worth of N2.34 billion has made him an unstoppable force in the comedy business. Basketmouth has built out a name for himself in the entertainment world because to his ability to switch gears and perform in a variety of roles.
In the early stages of his comic career, Basketmouth won the National Comedy Award and the honors for Best Stand-up Comedian of the Year in 2005 and 2006. His success as a comedian has also helped him land huge endorsements and other business opportunities. As a current Glo ambassador, Basketmouth’s annual salary is a minimum of N2 million. After a young admirer submitted a video of him making lewd comments about sex while a youngster was present, his #TwoThingsChallenge for laughs on Instagram caused an outcry among his followers.
In 2022, Ayodeji Richard Makun, better known by his stage name AY, is the second-richest comedian in Nigeria. AY is the second-richest comedian in Nigeria, with a net worth of N2.92 billion, and the host of one of the country’s largest comedy events. He is the host of “AY Live,” Africa’s most popular comedy show, which has included Bovi, Helen Paul, and many more.
After being featured on “Night of a Thousand Laughs,” AY became a household name as a comedian, event organiser, TV host, movie producer, actor, and director. AY is a big supporter of stand-up comedy and has encouraged aspiring comics to perform by hosting the AY “Open Mic Challenge.”
1. Ali Baba
Atunyota Alleluya Akpobome, well known by his stage name Ali Baba, is the richest comedian in Nigeria as of 2022. The 57-year-old Alibaba is the richest comedian in Nigeria, with a total net worth of N3.75 billion. Ali Baba has been called “the father of the comedy business” for his influential role in the development of stand-up comedy and as a guide to countless aspiring comedians.
Ali Baba has been making millions of naira from his comedy act since the early 1990s, and in 2014 he started an annual comedy show on January 1st called the 1 January concert. Comedians gathered for this comedy show to look back on the last year and honor a standout grad. In 2015, Ali Baba launched an event called Spontaneity, at which aspiring comedians may participate and show off their skills on a quarterly basis. In 2016, Woli Arole made it all the way to the final round of this competition.
Ali Baba’s wealth and status as Nigeria’s richest comic are established facts. His contributions to Nigeria’s comedic scene were recognized with prestigious honors. In 2002, he was honored with the “Laughter incorporated” award for his significant impact on the comedy industry, and in the same year, he received “the news award” for his work in establishing stand-up comedy as a profitable business. CNN African Voices featured Ali Baba in March 2015, when he discussed his plans to elevate the status of Nigerian comedians to that of a legitimate profession and his efforts to do it.
The native of Delta State has long held the view that the comedy industry is enormous, and he has utilized his status to help lift a large number of Nigerian comedians out of poverty. In 2016, Ali Baba gave acting a shot by starring in Kemi Adetiba’s “Wedding Party” alongside Sola Sobowale and other Nollywood stalwarts. The film’s stellar cast and the inclusion of Ali Baba helped propel it to the ranks of Nigeria’s highest-grossing films. Besides Frank Donga and Emma oh ma god, etc., the film included a host of other comedians known for their skits.