Adebayo Ridwan, popularly known as Isbae U, is an actor, singer and Instagram sensation who is currently making waves in the entertainment industry with his very comic skits.
He is one of Nigeria’s distinctive comedy brands at the moment who has created a niche for himself.
In his interview with Taiwo Okanlawon and Ayodele Efunla, he talks about his career, taking a break from music for comedy among other issues. Excerpts:
You came to the limelight after featuring Mr Macaroni and Oluwadollars, when did you start making skits?
I started making skits in 2017, It was around November when I shot my first skit.
Tell us about your background.
It is not like I have always loved acting but I just love entertaining people. I used to sing until I decided to go into acting, and it resulted in my first skit.
I schooled at Igbogbi Secondary School while did my National Diploma at Yaba Colege of Technology. I was only doing my skit for fun before it became this huge.
So, you left music for comedy?
I didn’t give up music, I was just singing for fun. I had started acting too but since I got more attention from my skits because it was visuals even though I have been singing for like three to four years, all for fun, while my acting part got more traction within a year. So I say maybe this what I should be doing.
I am definitely going back to music. They are all under the entertainment. I only went for acting first because I became popular through it.
You are born into an acting family, your father was a famous Yoruba actor Sir Kay Kamoru, tell us about your relationship with him.
I did not stay much with my Dad, so you could just say the acting s in the blood. I watched my Dad’s movies and I was a big fan of his. He supported my music and my acting, he knew I really have a chance in acting but he didn’t push me to act.
Have you acted in a full-length movie?
I started acting in Yoruba movies with few roles until I left the industry for my skits because I wanted to do something of my own, and that’s why I went blank and I didn’t talk about my Dad so people wouldn’t think I got to where I am now solely by his influence. SO I left the industry and I was shooting for my skit every week for a year and even up till now. I also direct some of my skits.
We know this work is profitable, but can you tell you how profitable it is at the moment?
Skit-making is profitable. You get a lot of endorsement deals if you have good content, engagements, and followers. But you have to be passionate about it so when the money is not coming you won’t be fed up, so you have to be patient because the money won’t come quickly.
So it was easy doing it from the start but you must face some challenges, what are your major challenges?
Skit-making is not like music that you can drop a single and relax for like two-three months, here, consistency is the challenge. You have to be consistent every week or two to three times a week. You have to be up on your toes to create content, you have to be thinking because people are watching you all the time.
You have to be unique as well because no one wants to watch the same thing twice.
Another one is getting your content to a larger audience, If you don’t get more followers how do you bring it to five followers, but when you have good content you will want it to get out there, you are sure that if plenty of people see this content, they will follow you, so that getting it to a wider audience is another problem. So you will need this person to repost, we don’t want people to just laugh and stroll past, repost so your friends can see it too.
How about location harassment, internet?
Definitely, all these are general ones which prone to happen because we will want to shoot in one location, people will just come out of nowhere and be like bro how far? We are your fans oh, drop something oh. So you start settling people, settle this, getting location is also an issue because some people don’t even want to leave their house for us, but one thing I just know is, I always tell my people is no excuses, when I didn’t have a big phone to shoot, I use the smaller phone, when I didn’t have a good house to shoot, I use the smaller ones.
So just make sure you are creating content because people no go understand say na because of say they no allow you use location, they just want to get something. The internet forgets people easily, you might drop the best skit this morning now, if you don’t drop tomorrow, they will say e be like say this guy don finish.
How do you explain to Police what you do to avoid harassment?
I just tell them that I make skits, I’m an actor, so they may say do you have any identity card, the only thing I can show you is my videos and sometimes I get lucky some of them recognize me, that’s not really lucky because you still have to drop something because of your name, so that’s just it.
How do you deal with the challenges of accessing top celebrities for collaboration?
I used to do skits with my people, with my friends around me because I don’t want any excuses like I have to wait for this person before I can create my content, so it’s just recently, if I know that this person is following me, let me talk to him if they say I like your skit oh how far, are down for skit? Some of them will tell me I’m down anytime you want to feature me, so there are some people like Iyabo Ojo that she wasn’t following me when I needed her for a skit, she wasn’t following me, so I told Mr Macaroni that I go need aunty Iyabo for a skit, he said no wahala, and he contacted her for me, so later on when she followed me immediately after Mr Macaroni spoke to her, she started watching my skit, she said no wahala, so when we got the connection she gave me date immediately.
So, the best thing is to work with someone who already liked your work, so she can put more energy, so I didn’t want her to just do it because of Mr Macaroni that’s why I’m doing this, I wanted her to be interested in the content that I have, and she gave me her best. There are some other celebrities that I’m trying to contact, so I just drop a message in their DMs, so the ones that know me or that are fans will reply hopefully and the ones that did not reply yet definitely are still dropping content until they know the name. Even though there are people that I can easily say popsy please help me call this one, but like I said, I dey like make person dey interested and say I’m a fan of Bae U, dey go give you the energy and even repost it on their page. So, it might take a while before they reply, but you know and you are sure of what you are doing definitely.
So, who are your friends that you make skits with?
When I was talking about my friends, I wasn’t talking about the popular ones, I’m talking about friends that I shoot with, Oba, Papijhay, we are just friends, who are close by and I have friends in the industry like Mr Macaroni, Oluwadolarz I have a lot of them like that, those are my colleagues.
How do you collaborate, do you do it for free or..?
Yes, when there’s brand stuff, we call each other, like Mr Macaroni now, he calls me like how far, I get one skit or na advert o, but don’t worry I will definitely give you something out of what I’m paid. So, definitely, they will give you if it’s an advert, and if it not an advert just a normal skit video, we can just make the videos, and you say take feeding, take transport because that’s important you don’t know where I’m coming from, so normal you suppose say how far, transport, but person wey no give you, na u go no say next time, if e dey call you, you go don tell am for house say, I no get money for this thing o, but if it’s somebody that you know you too you can call, you go know say you too you no go give am.
Some people have accused social media comedians of trivializing serious issues such as sexual abuse, religion, glorifying frauds among others, what is your take on that?
Here is the thing, my thinking no dey say make I dey promote rape or make I dey promote Yahoo-Yahoo or anything but if I get a script like that, I think people should understand, I might play a yahoo boy in the script, you should also know that he is an actor, he’s just acting the role given to him in the script. if they say you should act that I rape this person in this skit, the end result is to pass a message to you, the only way I can play that role to pass the message is by showing that I slept with that girl, it doesn’t mean I’m supporting rape, I’m just playing a role that the end result will be don’t do this but the only way we can show it is by acting so people have to understand that when you see people acting, it doesn’t mean they are supporting it
Okay, somebody like my dad now can be easily stereotyped, if you see him outside you will say Omo Ita (tout). So, if I act a rape scene, they will call me a rapist, so people have to understand that, this person is just acting. The same thing with Remi Surutu, the woman get craze, so she’s was walking on the street and somebody just said Iya Werey yen niyen, people are actually like that.
What inspires your skits and the different roles that you play in them?
I do it as it comes, like my day-to-day activities, what I watch, what my friend does around me, and what I just see on the street, I just turn it into a skit.
What is your most embarrassing moment?
Mostly, you know nobody is perfect, but the one I can say I easily really remember is that one time I expected more comments, I was expecting like 5k comment on the skit and I got 3k comment because I thought it’s a skit that will be everywhere, so the same goes for a skit that I thought it wouldn’t hit. I did a skit of 30seconds and it was everywhere because I just wanted to post something that day, so that’s just it.
The industry is big, is there a framework you guys are working with, like an association?
E go far, o lo far I don’t think skit have all that but what we just know is that we get connections with each other, aside from ones that have personal issues with each other, all other members, you can see we celebrate one another, we are just free. Some people take it too deep but I don’t think it should be that deep because we are skit makers, ise kana lanse.
What are your aspirations, things you want to involve in later?
When you are going into the movie industry, you do auditions, so this skit is more like my own audition, you already can see what I can do, so when you get a role, you just call me. I love acting, I love directing.
Where did you see Isbae U as a brand in the next five years?
You see, the thing about the five years thing is, I dey always tell my people say if they tell me say I go dey here some years ago, I no go believe. The thing is, I just want God to keep doing it, wherever he puts me in the next five years, I know it should be better than where I am now and I’m okay with that.
What are your words for upcoming skit makers?
Consistency, that the first thing anybody will advise another person, but the thing is, consistency worked for me. I just pass a message to myself that God if this work is for me, let me just see small result. I don’t have millions of followers then, I just prayed to God, if it’s for me, just show me a sign, let people appreciate me like, so I got friends telling me don’t stop this, so I just kept creating, so it’s not as if I was doing one job already as a man, I just felt this is what I will be telling people I’m doing, they will not think I am lazy, I’m acting.
How about your message to parents who are discouraging their kids from doing this?
I feel parents should be parents but at the same time let their children be who they want to be, let it come naturally, so when they are making money in it, they will enjoy it and when the hardship comes, they will still be doing what they are doing, not that they should now be doing something because of money and when money no come dey go just dey frustrated like, a kan nse gbogbo e na , kilo nsele, so that’s just it. Thank you so much.