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Kojo the Comedian p1The self titled ‘Fresh Prince of Hackney’ Kojo is arguably one of the biggest talents to come out of the black comedy circuit. His Sunday Comedy Club began, what can only be described as a new UK culture or way of life; Sunday Show’s are now all the rage, with many comeidans commending him for tehir success. With several stand up shows, supporting acts, presenting gigs, Kojo has done it all. Currently living in New York, Kojo is taking the U.S.A by storm after performing several hit shows at. Kojo has had a string of successes behind him, including co-presenting a Saturday morning childrens television show with Reggie Yates, BBC 1Xtra, Choice FM radio Breakfast Show, MTV Base, MOBO Awards and several business ventures, including Kojo’s Angels (a project aimed at helping women in the entertainment industry), Kojo came up with the idea (and also be hosting) the first ever Black Tie Comedy Awards, to celebrate and highlight the UK’s urban comedy heroes and stars of the scene. The event will be held on Sunday 23rd August 2009 at The IndiO2, London.

Sunday 23rd August 2009 at The IndigO2 at The O2. Tickets are priced as follows:

£20, £25 & £40 VIP Tickets – Tickets are available now click here. Doors open at 6.30pm, show starts at 7.30pm.

Why did you first get into comedy?
I’ve always know that I’m pretty funny and people always told me so. It was something I just got into, but just because I knew I could make people laugh and not for the money. Lots of people now are only getting into the industry for the money.

Who are your inspirations?
Typically its people like Richard Prior, Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle, Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence, people like that. Russell Simmonds is a huge inspiration to me. I met him once and was just taken by him. He inspired my Comedy Club and visit to New York. He’s given me really good advise as well.

What else do you do ?
I have my Comedy Show on MTV Base

What’s the best joke you’ve heard that you wish you had thought of?
Urm… [thinks] I’m not sure, anything by Slim or Curtis Walker I guess. They’re my favorites.

Do you remember your first gig?
It was in 2004. I think I only had four jokes, but I fell in love with it there and then.

What is your next gig? Where can we see you next?
I’ve got a lot going on with ‘Kojo’s Angels’ at the moment, so look out for that, and I have a talk show that I’m going to be doing in the near future. So… again, look out for that too.

How have you developed as a comedian?
I’ve grown up. A lot has happened since I first started. I like to compare myself to rappers because i’ve gone from the grind to riches, I’ve progressed and I’ve got new things to talk about, like with a rapper. If a rapper is still talking about the same thing on his fifth album as he was on his first album, then he hasn’t progressed or done anything different. You see? I’ve experienced a lot and can talk about a lot more things now.

What’s the best thing about being a comedian?
Making people smile [laughs] that’s harder than it sounds, so it’s such an achievement. ALmost like you’ve changed someone’s life for a few minutes. It makes you proud.

What makes you different from all the other comedians around at the moment?
I feel that I started so others could follow. Almost like i paved the way for the others.

Do you think it has changed from a few years ago? How? Why?
Its more accessible now. Back in the day it was ‘if you weren’t big then you ain’t getting anywhere’ but now comedy is everywhere. Everyone can get involved.

So, where do you see the UK comedy scene is heading?
Television. At the moment, my show I one of the first to hit the screens, but I’m the best of a bad bunch. Things will develop and more shows will be introduced to TV.

There are so many ‘comedy shows’ at the moment. Do you think the markets becoming saturated?
Yes there are, but its incomparable. We’ve had some of the biggest urban celebrities at Kojo’s Fun house is a proper show that is broadcasted on national TV (i.e.: Bashy, Doneao, Bizzle, K.I.G. etc.) and my comedy show at Corks we had international stars from America, which you don;t get a lot of today. I think the comedy show ticked a lot of boxes for people, it didn’t just focus on one aspect (comedy) it incorporated other features such as fashion, music, models, actors, everyone.

What would you change about the industry?
Hmm… The internet. It has turned out to be both a gift and a curse for the industry. Now adays anyone can be famous because of it. Technology is making it easier for everyone to enter the game, and harder for people to shine. But I love the whole scene. You have to.

What do you think the UK comedy scene is missing?
accessibility to mainstream television. We need to push to constantly be better.

Why do you think that American comedians are more successful than English comedians?
Their mentality is different. I guess because its bigger, there is therefore more of them and so the competition is harder. They’re more hungry to succeed. I’m trying to learn from that and bring that over to the UK.

Would you go to America to be successful?
[laughs]

Why?
I feel like to be better I need to surround myself with the best in the business. I believe that America challenges me, and therefore I strive for more. I try harder whilst learning so much more.

A lot of American comedians like eddie murphy, chris rock, chris tucker, jamie foxx, even richard prior went from stand-up, to movies and some even music. Would you ever move industries?
Yea I would. I’ve recently stared in my first lead role in a short film called “Find Her Keeper”. I’ll go wherever I need to go that’ll keep me learning new things to be more successful.

Which comedian do you think is doing well at the moment? Who should we look out for in the future?
Slim. He’s the best in the UK at the moment. There are others, Kevin J, Baba Tunde, Fumnbi.

What’s your advise to any other aspiring comedians out there?
Learn what the industry is about, in what ever industry you go into, and don’t listen to what other comedians have to say. Do what you want to do.

Sunday 23rd August 2009 at The IndigO2 at The O2. Tickets are priced as follows:

£20, £25 & £40 VIP Tickets – Tickets are available now click here. Doors open at 6.30pm, show starts at 7.30pm.

Dress code: Black Tie event

Words by Tolu Akisanya

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