by Tolu Omoyeni
There must have been fire and some must have felt it but for me, it was a cold, cold night.
It was the first time in my whole life I was bothered enough to attend a comedy show. I appreciate Bovi and his craft and I genuinely think he’s one of the few funny ones so why not break the jinx and give this show a shot.
My regular ticket read 8pm and I was dumb enough to arrive the venue at 30 minutes past the scheduled time, partly owing to the Taxify driver who had no idea how to get to the Island from the Mainland, *rolls eyes*.
At the Eko Convention Centre venue, I was subtly reminded that fingers are never equal as I could not go in through the same doors as the VIPs. The hundreds of us regular men had to use the basement entrance but that’s alright.
I found a vantage position in the gallery and sat down ready to immerse myself in Bovi’s widely-approved one-man comedy and the side attractions.
For minutes that felt like years, we were treated to a saxophone performance, the blandest I’ve experienced in my life. I hoped for that guy’s sake, one or two attendees were in need of a performer at their owambe party and would reach out to him, otherwise his rendition was a total waste.
Two hours after the scheduled time, we received mercy and the show finally started. It was the same female twin singers I had first seen at GidiFest weeks ago that took the stage. Unlike at GidiFest where the duo were a whiff of fresh air after we had been through a hell of god-awful performances, here they struggled to carry members of the audience along in their act.
Another omg-what-the-fuck-is-going-on-here performance went by and the forces decided to now bless us with Myro. He walked on stage casually, kept his hands to his sides and sang magic into the mic. Now, Myro is signed to Peter Psquare Okoye’s record label and has yet to break into the industry but at “Bovi: Man on Fire”, he proved himself. At this point, my hopes for the night were truly high.
The jokes, for why we came, finally kicked off. It was Instagram comic act, SLKomedy that got me. He told jokes from Big Brother Naija, they were effortlessly hilarious yet tasteful. This remarkably confident comedian rolled out the jokes like he had been doing this for years and he did well not to offend anyone. Something even a so-called veteran could not pull off in his eponymous show weeks ago.
A few other comedy and music performances passed but I will not be able to share the experience here as I had fallen into a deep sleep. Yes I slept off at “Bovi Man on Fire”. It took Basketmouth’s voice to pull me out of that state and I immediately knew it was time for business.
Apart from a few disjointed jokes he told, Basketmouth really just got out to record his presence and according to him, notify us of his own show in September. However, he did the honour of inviting the man who would formally introduce Bovi to us. It was Richard Mofe-Damijo, the least of my imaginations. Lord, I love this man. An embodiment of ageless swagger, grace, class, charisma and everything else in between. Now, I was fully awake and ready to take on Bovi.
The man of the night came on, dressed in all black, Cuban cigar in hand with a face towel to go. We later learned that RMD advised on the choice of outfit and the cigar accessory. The aim was to look like a rock star hence the shimmery shirt and I think it banged.
Bovi looked to me like he had the night in control. It was quarter to midnight and the torrent of jokes touched every topic from the recession to the dwindling interest of Nigerians in the nation’s politics. Of course, he fired direct shades at the committee of divorced female celebrities and went the whole nine yards by naming names – Toke Makinwa, Tiwa Savage, Tonto Dikeh – and even suggested that it might be the turn of Beat FM OAP Tolu “Toolz” Oniru since it’s looking like a ‘first name T affair’. We took all the jokes well.
Then things started to go cold, I fell back into sleep a number of times and when I jerked up and looked around me, I realised I wasn’t the only one. I struggled to keep up, some of the jokes were certainly recycled and I laughed because everyone else did but was I satisfiedly entertained? I wasn’t sure at the time and I still have doubts now.
A few minutes to 1am, Bovi took a bow. He walked off the stage to a resounding applause, we assumed the show had ended and people began to troop out until Falz the Bahd Guy appeared on stage. Ah! Okay. A number of people had left and could not be bothered to come back but for those of us who stayed, we got a satisfactory ending to the show.
Now I have a whole year to decide if I’ll pay to see Bovi burn again. This time though, I didn’t feel any fire.