Popular stand-up comedian, actor, musician and media personality Oga Obinna talks about his experiences juggling all his hustles.
How has been your journey in pursuit of becoming who you are today?
My friend, I have suffered! I came to Nairobi as a street boy in 2009 and went around doing odd jobs, until two years later when a friend introduced me to Kenya National Theatre.
Then I started performing music in clubs for a pay of between Sh300 and Sh500 and later started doing stand-up comedy in clubs.
A hew years down the line, Nation Media’s Esther Macharia spotted me and gave me a radio internship at Q-FM that opened doors for my transition to TV. That’s when I started polishing my brand. And now, here we are.
Whom were you looking up to as your role model?
That must be my dad. He managed to take care of us from very little and taught us well.
Do you watch other comedians?
Yes, I have to. I similarly need to be entertained. I like watching Kevin Hart, Dave Chappelle and Obinna. Ha-ha-ha.
What is it all about your recent hit For the Instagram?
Well, it is about how people are striving to filter and fake everything for the social media likes, yet you cannot filter life. Life is what it is.
Is it true that you were once a pastor?
I struggled with finding myself and redefining myself. I was about to give up; stress, depression almost overwhelmed me and if not for God, I wouldn’t be here.
And yes, I grew up in a very religious Christian family and I had to preach at times.
You are a comedian, an actor, emcee, TV and radio host. How do you manage to juggle between all these hustles?
I also do not know… Ha-ha-ha. They just happen. I just do a schedule, and with proper planning, everything is possible. I find myself going on and on.
With your busy schedules, how do you manage to play your daddy and husband roles?
I create time. Everyone is busy and if you don’t create time for the family, it will suffer. Your children need to grow while having that father-figure around them.
I always try and make time to play, read, travel and talk with them for it creates a lot of memories, especially with the children. It’s something I never had with my dad, but I would have really loved it.
Tell us about your best moments in your career and what are you hoping to achieve?
Anytime I’m on stage and people are laughing and happy, that’s normally the best time and feeling in my career.
The rest are vessels that make life better. I aspire to get a better job; I haven’t achieved much of what I wanted yet, but I shall, Inshallah.
Worst moment while on stage?
Forgetting the lines, which is a prevalent situation to almost all the comedians.
When it happens, you have to improvise and ‘dig out’ a few of them from the archives without having the crowd to realise it.
What is your biggest fear in life?
To die and leave my children suffering.
Many DJs, comedians and other public figures in Kenya are joining the music industry as artistes and video vixens. Why do you think this is happening?
They love music maybe and they love being part of it or some see it as a lucrative business opportunity and they try to make a few coins from it. But some just show up to support their friends.
How are you keeping in touch with your fans during the Covid-19 lockdown?
For me it’s simple; releasing more content on my digital platforms. This means more skits and interaction on the comments section, and that’s why we are engaging with each other.
In music, who are you looking to collabo with in future?
The list is so long! I personally do collabos with anyone who wants to get into the studio and enjoy making music.
However, many of them just consider me a comedian and sometimes ignore my ideas for music.
Why did you cut your dreadlocks?
I was dared by a friend and I took the money! Lol!
What’s your advice to the aspiring comedians and musicians that look up to you as an icon?
Nobody can stop reggae! Keep on pushing, keep on learning, keep on experimenting and improving.
Collaborate and accommodate other people and ideas. Nobody has the blueprint of life. Everyone has their own path.