“His smart looking outfit resembles a lonely Londoner remarked an audience”. As he jumped up and down, the invited guests were almost sent out of their seats with his superlative performance. And for three hours, there was no dull moment at a wedding reception where he displayed his stuff. Recently, Glitterati had an encounter with a standup comedian, Efe Akalusi alias Birdflu. Coincidentally, the Okokomaiko based comedianhails from Efurrun in Delta State.
Narrating his journey into the world of comedy, Akalusi said he discovered his talent when he was in secondary school in Delta State. And again, Warri itself is home of comedy.
“One thing about Warri is that the place itself is a comedy. Everybody is funny. The character, attitude is so funny. And the way they talk also brings comedy”.
He admits that jokes have always been part of him. “I had my education partly in Sapele and Lagos before acquiring training in automobile engineering at Government Technical College, Abule-Ado in Badagry. But joke has always been part of me. I started from singing because there was a time I had this deep voice and each time I spoke my classmates would laugh at me and even gave me a nick-name. From there, I would go for competitions. I was a commercial student but the Arts students used to organize shows every Friday. That was how I discovered my potential in comedy”.
His talent manifested sometimes in 2005 when he was asked to anchor a church programme at Later Glory Christian Assembly and from there, he has not looked back.
“When I spoke people were just laughing. And since then people have been calling me for birthdays, naming ceremony, wedding, burial, children party and so on”. But for someone who believes goodwill pays more than cash, Akalusi confessed it has not been a pleasant decision. “My first experience was with a lady who asked me to anchor her birthday programme. As a coming up comedian I don’t normally charge people I would just tell them to give me anything. But I realise that I am being taken for granted. This was 2007 and at the end of the day she gave me N350. When I discovered that people were taking advantage I started charging.”
And how did he come about the name birdflu? Laughing… “It was during the birdflu crisis when people were barred from eating chicken. I was in Warri then and thing was very hard for me. I saw people selling chicken throwing them away. I would pick them up and eat them. People were saying that birdflu would kill you; I was unperturbed because I ate and nothing happened to me. That was how one of my friend nick-named me birdflu.”
For a local comedian like Akalusi, comedy has shot him to the limelight in his areas but he wish to penetrate the bigger market and even collaborate with bigger names in the industry. “It has been a fruitless effort. I have gone for auditioning on several occasions such as AY Open Mic and even bought forms, but was never called back. The one I am planning to go now is Stand up Nigeria. I believe that if God says it is my time I know I will break even one day. All the shows I have attended in the past were through connections. So I would want to connect with the big names. I adore all of them and wouldn’t mind to be their boy on stage just for one day. My mentor is Gordons and when you are talking about icon, I respect Basket Mouth and I Go Die. He is one man that talks reality. I would wish to be his boy one day,” he concluded