Isioma Osaje profiles AY Makun: Man of the hour, every hour (Y!/YNaija Person of the Year 2016 Nominee)

Guinness world record holder
In a world where metrics like the longest kiss can get you into that good book, it’s comforting to know that A.Y is in there for “substantial” reasons. A.Y currently holds the Guinness world record for the highest grossing Nigerian film in Nigerian cinemas.

N164,243,946 million*, that how much his first foray into the Nigerian film industry grossed. The comedy; 30 Days In Atlanta directed by Robert Peters and starring A.Y alongside experienced Nollywood acts like Ramsey Nouah, Mercy Johnson and a sprinkling of Hollywood in Vivica Fox, achieved this feat in a five-month long cinema run.

Beginner’s luck
The naysayers were quick to point out that A.Y cashed in on an already popular fictional figure – Akpos and let us not forget that his film was in the cinemas for a whopping five (5) months (a long time by film industry standards). They dared him to do it again and guess what, he did. On September 30, 2016 AY’s next feature film; A Trip To Jamaica was released in Nigerian cinemas. As of December 3, 2016, it had grossed N175,249,802.93 million*. A.Y has broken his own Guinness world record and he did it in a blistering six (6) weeks. A.Y has the Midas touch. You can’t explain it, you may not endorse it, but you will respect it.

Proving a point
Born into very humble circumstances; Ayodeji Richard Makun, hails from Ifon in Ose local government area of Ondo State. His claim to fame is comedy – fun fact; he got into the industry as Alibaba’s personal assistant. A.Y first came into our consciousness as a stand-up comedian and proponent of the very successful comedy showcase; A.Y Live. After establishing the A.Y Live brand as a force to reckon with in the comedy industry – with big name brands as title sponsors and repeated sold out shows at the mecca of venues; Eko Hotel, A.Y officially ventured into the world of make-believe with his comedy series A.Y’s crib. We didn’t watch A.Y’s crib and think to ourselves “this is the best show on television”, but we watched and then A.Y decided it was time to take off the training wheels. He made a film, then another and has plans for many more.

Stand-Up guy
Talent is no competition for good old fashioned hard work and A.Y is a living manifestation of this age-old saying. By sheer tenacity, goodwill and ambition, A.Y has pulled himself into that esteemed club of individuals whose first names/moniker are enough of an introduction.

Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Spielberg… A.Y. If that last sentence is too much of a leap for you, then consider this instead; Kevin Hart… A.Y. There are several parallels to draw between Kevin Hart and A.Y. While both may not win a contest of the funniest stand-up comedian, you cannot begrudge them the title of trail blazer. Both men have seamlessly crossed into the world of films from comedy and better yet, are standing tall.

Jack of all trades, master of all
A.Y is a comedian, actor, M.C, writer, presenter, producer, and entrepreneur. Often, the curse of multi-talented individuals is that, in a bid to showcase all their many talents, they end up conquering none. This is not the case with A.Y and by restricting his exploration to the entertainment industry, A.Y can and does juggle his many balls expertly. Whatever A.Y does is an extension of the man. His fingerprints are all over it, he is not a benevolent puppet master. He is the foot soldier, captain, and general of his army. Therefore, every new achievement feels like it was inevitable. Who else was going to make the cinema box office look like easy street, but the man whose A.Y Live DVDs were and still are the hottest commodity in Nigeria’s entertainment distribution underbelly – the infamous Alaba market.

Will A.Y emerge the YNaija Person of the Year 2016? The short answer is that he doesn’t need to. Now here’s the long answer. A.Y has made history and A.Y will continue to make history. And if A.Y continues to be active in the entertainment industry, he will keep winning. He will not win because he is lucky or unnaturally gifted, he will win because men like A.Y do not want to be second best and will accept nothing but the number one spot.


*Figures courtesy Moses Babatope, Group Executive Director/COO FilmOne

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