By Funmilola Olukomaiya
Adding spice, fun and laughter to movie scenes have a way of taking off stress and worries from Nigerians; and Nigerian comic actors have proven themselves up to the task.
The Nigerian movie industry has over the years produced comic actors who know their onions and have done/still doing well at their trade; hence, they remain memorable and loved, whether alive or in death.
These class of actors have proven themselves to be amazing and hilarious with their talents as they are gifted to effortlessly make your stomach twist into knots with laughter.
In no particular order, below are 14 of Nollywood’s most popular comic actors (both English and Yoruba) from the decades you must know.
1. Lukuluku Bantashi
Lukuluku Bantashi as popularly called in the Yoruba movie industry was one of the finest Yoruba film comedy ever had. Lukuluku during his time ruled the comic scenes of the industry with the likes of Baba Suwe, James depe, Dejo tunfulu, okondo and others. Lukuluku Bantashi showcased his talents in movies like Legal wife, Ami orun, itunu and the host of others. He died in 1995.
2. Chiwetalu Agu
64-year-old Chiwetalu Agu is a veteran Nollywood actor, comedian and movie producer who is known for his usage of specific language slang, phrases or clichés in each film he has ever featured. This uniqueness has made him uniquely a household name in Nigeria and among Nollywood admirers abroad. He won the 2012 Nollywood award for ‘best actor in indigenous movie’. He is known for his versatility and his unique catchphrases in movies have made a toast of many fans.
Oluwasesan Adio is a Veteran Yoruba comic actor, popularly known as Pa Ojoge. His comic roles in movies made him very popular among Nollywood fans. Ojoge has featured in several English and Yoruba movies.
4. Sam Loco Efe
Before his death, Sam Loco Efe was one of Nollywood’s finest comic actors. He was known for cracking ribs non-stop in movies he featured in. His first experience with acting was at his school when a theatre group came to stage a play called ‘The Doctor In Spite of Himself’, afterwards, he discussed with members of the group about the theatre and performance arts. In elementary school, he was a member various groups including a drama society that performed a rendition of Shakespeare’s ‘Julius Caesar’ at an Eastern regional arts festival in Abakaliki, the play came last in the drama competition but Efe was noted as the best actor which earned him a scholarship to complete elementary school. Sam Loco was known for his ‘savage’ remarks and unfiltered speech.
5. Nkem Owoh
Nkem Owoh is a Nigerian actor and comedian. In 2008 he won the African Movie Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role. Owoh became popular after starring in the 2003 film Osuofia in London. The character’s name has become his alias in the industry as it is what put him in the spotlight. The Enugu born star studied Engineering at the University of Ilorin.
6. John Okafor (Mr Ibu)
John Okafor popularly known as Mr. Ibu is a Nollywood famous actor and comedian. Okafor is considered to be one of Nigeria’s most talented comic characters as his humorous acting is often characterised by stupidity, hilarious imbecility and a sharp disconnection from reality.
7. Sunday Omobolanle (Papi Luwe)
Sunday Omobolanle (MON) aka Papi Luwe, is a Veteran Nollywood comic actor, playwright, film director and producer. Sunday Omobolanle has scripted, directed, produced and featured in several Nigerian films such as Adun Ewuro, a 2011 Nigerian film that featured Adebayo Salami. In recognition of his contributions to the Nigerian film industry, he was bestowed with a National award, MON by Olusegun Obasanjo, the former president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
8. Babatunde Omidina (Baba Suwe)
Babatunde Omidina aka Baba Suwe is a Veteran Yoruba actor and comedian. He began acting in 1971 but came into limelight after he featured in a movie titled, Omolasan, a film produced by Obalende. He became more popular after he featured in Iru Esin, produced by Olaiya Igwe in 1997. He has featured in and produced several Nigerian movies such as Baba Jaiye Jaiye, a movie that featured Funke Akindele and Femi Adebayo, the son of the veteran actor Adebayo Salami.
9. Imeh Bishop Umoh
Ime Bishop Umoh often called Okon Lagos or Udo Yes is a Nollywood comic actor and comedian. He is well known as one of the most popular Nigerian comic actor in Nollywood. He was born on 15th July 1981 in Ikot Nsit-Ibom, Akwa Ibom State in the south southern part of Nigeria.
10. Victor Osuagwu
Former president of the Lagos State chapter of the Actors Guild of Nigeria, Victor Osuagwu is a seasoned Nollywood comic actor, producer, who won the City People Movie Special Recognition Award at the City People Entertainment Awards. He officially became recognized as a Nigerian actor in 1997. Osuagwu debuted into the Nigerian movie industry Nollywood with the second part of a movie titled Evil Passion 2 whilst an undergraduate in the university. He might not be a regular face on the big screen the way was some years back but his contributions to the growth of the industry cannot be overemphasized.
11. Moses Olaiya Adejumo (Baba Sala)
Moses Olaiya Adejumo, popularly known as Baba Sala, was a veteran Nigerian comedian, dramatist and actor. Baba Sala was regarded as the father of modern Nigerian comedy. He was a prolific filmmaker who started his career in show business as a Highlife musician, fronting in 1964 a group known as the Federal Rhythm Dandies where he tutored and guided the jùjú music maestro King Sunny Adé who was his lead guitar player. Olaiya as a young boy, played the class clown and sometimes dressed outlandishly to please people. Baba Sala died in October 2018.
Popular Yoruba artiste, Tajudeen Akanmu also known as Koledowo became famous for his roles in Yekini Ajileye’s Yoruba TV hit drama, Koto Orun, which reigned on the airwave from 1989 to 1992. Unfortunately, Koledowo’s career was shortlived when he slumped and died in his Osogbo residence in 20028.
13. Dejo Tunfulu
Comic Nollywood actor, Kunle Makinde Tokunbo, popularly known as Dejo Tunfulu is one character that Yoruba film lovers will never forget in a hurry. As a household name, Dejo started acting in 1987 when he featured in ‘Theatre Omode’ on Nigeria Television Authority, NTA channel 7.
14. Yomi King (Opebe)
Yomi King, popularly known as Opebe, is a Yoruba actor known for blowing our minds and cracking our ribs with his acting. Originally trained as a Printer, Opebe diverted into acting because of the passion for the industry. His disability role singled him out and made him a favourite. He started acting in 1979, with Babatunde Ibitola at a young age of 18. He became popular with a TV programme called Erinkeke in 1987, on Channel 8. According to him, Babatunde Omidina (Baba Suwe) is his boss (he also got some training from Baba Suwe’s Drama group), brother, father and everything in the industry.
NOTE: This list is not exhaustive, do share the names of others who didn’t make our list in the comment session.