The Nigerian online comedy industry is making tremendous waves as one on its own.
The rise of social media applications such as Instagram, Tiktok, Twitter and the likes has birthed a new generation of professionals known for online comedy, content creation and influencing.
Officer Woos known for his police costume and stuttering character discusses his journey to the comedy industry, influences and much more with Anuoluwapo Dada of SIMPLE Magazine.
Read excerpts of the interview below:
LET’S MEET YOU?
I’m Oladapo Gbadamosi by name. They call me Officer Woos. I’m a part time officer, actor, comedian, content creator and entertainer.
My passion for entertainment started 2010, I wanted to just do music, not comedy and my parents were like “why you go just do music, you know how much I spend for your school fees” but I said No, I wanted to do entertainment. That’s when I decided to leave my father’s house and come to Lagos.
I’m an indoor person basically. I enjoy being in my space, (working basically) I write, edit or probably play games.
WHAT IS COMEDY IN YOUR OWN PERSPECTIVE?
Comedy is satire to me. It is mimicking, comedy is saying the truth in a funny way, correcting the ills of the society, not just laughs. You can just do some stupid thing and everybody will laugh, but comedy must hit somewhere, it must have a purpose.
WHAT INSPIRED THE DECISION TO GO INTO COMEDY?
While in school, I was given comic roles alongside Broda Shaggi (Samuel Perry), we weren’t much that could do such comic roles, and so we kept getting such roles back to back to back to back. Then I felt since what I’m chasing isn’t chasing me, let me chase what is chasing me. Music no dey chase me na comedy dey chase me, that was when I decided to go strictly into comedy, I’m an actor still but comedy is the main role.
DESCRIBE YOUR STYLE OF COMEDY?
I will call it Officer Woos style. Sometimes it’s satire, sometimes farce, slapstick sometimes. My genre of comedy is between those 3, but it’s just me doing me. Doing the normal mumu thing I can do on a normal day.
WHAT INSPIRED THE BRAND OFFICER WOSS FROM INSPECTOR O.G?
I started off as Inspector O.G in 2016/17. I had made up my mind to do comedy full time and I saw the massive growth of social media comedy content creation. The sky is big for every bird to fly, I got a tailor, sewed police uniform and I started Inspector O.G I had a shoot with Broda Shaggi sometime 2019 as regards the police act, no dialogue but mannerisms and all comments gotten was about my mannerism.
Woos is a name I used in a stage play “A Slice of Good Things” in 2016 for Lagos State Art Festival”. Woos at that time was a “stuttering agbero”. So I took up the Woos name alongside its character and characteristics.
OFFICER WOOS IS WELL KNOWN FOR HIS STUTTERING CHARACTER, HOW DO YOU DO THAT?
I don’t know, I just get into it when I want to do it. It’s something that comes easy.
HOW DID YOU COME ABOUT YOUR SLANG “GOD NO GO SHAME US”?
“God no go shame us” started as a random prayer when I was living with my friends. If someone does anything to us, we laugh about it and say, “Because we never get money abi, no worry “God no go shame us.”
HOW MUCH INFLUENCE HAS BRODA SHAGGI HAD ON YOUR PERSON AND CAREER?
Broda Shaggi is my guy and has been my guy from way back. We had this theater group back then in school, Stage Addicts; we performed literally everywhere. Overtime, I was able to build confidence in myself while with him. He’s a brother, boss and also a teacher, he has influenced my life, my career and coming into limelight was through his platform and I’m grateful.
IS STAGE ADDICT STILL IN EXISTENCE?
No. Life happened, some of us are now office workers and some comedians but thanks to God, we’re all doing well.
HOW AND WHERE DO YOU GET INSPIRATION FOR YOUR SKITS?
Idea is everywhere; I get mine from different things, and anything you can think of.
HOW WELL DO YOU INCORPORATE FEEDBACK AND CRITICISM INTO YOUR WORK?
Criticism helps build one as a creative as long as it is well constructed. In my gallery, I have screenshots of tangible positive criticisms that I save so when I’m trying to create, I put them into use. I learn from everyone around me, no man is an island.
FOR A YOUNG TALENT IN THE COMEDY BUSINESS, HOW IMPORTANT IS SOCIAL MEDIA?
Social media is the new market for comedy. No offence to standup comedy. As a young content creator, try making good use of your social media because no one knows tomorrow. Try every platform that you can use to push your work, and don’t joke with social media.
A lot of people in limelight right now are all from social media, even old movies, the memes are coming back online and social media is blowing them again. So I feel we should not take it for granted and also, don’t misuse social media because the Internet never forgets.
MOST INSTAGRAM COMEDIANS FIND IT HARD TO DO STANDUP COMEDY; CAN YOU PERFORM TO A LIVE AUDIENCE?
I can perform to a live audience because I started from stage performance. Standup comedy, drama performance and online comedy are all different things. They are different markets entirely and they are different worlds.
Standup comedy is actually a different task on its own so I feel people should not mix it together, just stay on your grind, respect yourself there and build yourself more on your own platform.
DID YOU AT ANY POINT IN TIME TRY TO GO INTO FULL TIME ACTING OR ATTEND AUDITIONS?
I attended auditions a lot. Before I started doing social media comedy, the main goal was full time acting and stage performances. I did about 50 stage performances alongside musicals. I even performed in Germany in 2018. I was doing full time acting until social media.
DO YOU DO STICK-TO-SCRIPT TYPE OF DIALOGUE/MONOLOGUE OR YOU FLOW IN THE MOMENT?
It’s not every time we have the time to write the full script, sometimes the idea just pops out, we write the scenarios and we brief each other, rehearse lines one on one. You have to be very spontaneous about it. Sometimes it’s scripted and sometimes it’s unscripted.
WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES YOU FACE WHEN CREATING CONTENT?
Maybe brain block. During production, we face other challenges, from people disturbing, everybody’s sense of entitlement that we must get something out of this thing that you’re doing or if not carry your camera. Post production, editing, subtitling, all those things are all difficult.
WHAT DO YOU FIND CHALLENGING ABOUT THE ONLINE COMEDY INDUSTRY?
Audience comparison. At a point I told myself calm down, you’re not doing badly. Stay in your space, do your own thing and focus on yourself. Another thing is that the online space is a very crowded space but it’s not a bad thing, the sky is clear for everybody.
WHAT’S YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH OTHER COMEDIANS LIKE?
Pretty cool. We’re work buddies and colleagues.
WHO IS THE ONE COMEDIAN YOU ENJOY WORKING WITH THE MOST?
We all know it’s Broda Shaggi. He’s like my twin. We understand each other very well.
WHO’S ON YOUR WOULD LOVE TO SHOOT WITH LIST?
Every comedian that I’ve not worked with. Both young and old.
HOW HAS THE ACCEPTANCE BEEN SINCE YOU GOT INTO THE LIMELIGHT?
Very overwhelming. I’m just doing me and I’m grateful for everyone that has clicked on my page, watched my video, that has liked, dropped a comment, shared my work, seen me outside and commended my work, I appreciate the love.
ASIDES BEING A COMEDIAN, WHAT ELSE DO YOU DO?
I’m a full time actor, content creator and an entrepreneur. I used to be a photographer for Hennessy, Escape Night Club. I believe when you’re doing something for passion, there should be something bringing in money to fuel the passion. So I was on the side making money, every night I’ll go snap pictures; during the day I’m pushing comedy. For now it’s paused, but right now I’m planning on having a videography school though its still in thought process.
IF YOU WEREN’T FAMOUS OR DOING COMEDY, OR ACTING, OR PHOTOGRAHY – WHAT WILL YOU BE DOING?
Anything entertainment. It has to be entertainment or nothing.
DO YOU STILL PLAN TO DO MUSIC?
Yes, but not me singing. Like having an album and having several artistes feature in it.
WHAT KIND OF MUSIC DO YOU DO?
My own type of hip-hop and Afro-beats because I don’t even know the genre it belongs.
HAVE YOU GOTTEN USED TO BEING A CELEBRITY ALREADY?
I won’t lie, I haven’t. I’m far from it. It’s sweet, nice but I’m not used to it.
DO YOU GOOGLE YOURSELF?
I used to, not anymore.
WHICH DO YOU CONSIDER YOUR TOP PERFORMANCES?
For stage, there’s a musical I did, Legends the musical, I had one police scene but it was like the talk of the show, just that scene. The next performance that I liked was a child show, I did it in Germany, and after the show children were all over asking me to sign autograph. The next performance that I liked was Jungle Justice, which was where I started my police character, written by Femi Branch. For my skits, every new video I make beats my last one so it’s hard to pick.
DO YOU SEE YOURSELF GOING INTO NOLLYWOOD?
Yes. I’ll love to continue acting alongside creating content. I’ve featured in a couple of movies with more to come.
WHAT SETS YOU APART FROM OTHER COMEDIANS?
My stammers, acting and sense of humor sets me apart but the major factor is my stuttering character.
WHAT THE MOST IMPORTANT TIP YOU’LL LIKE TO GIVE ASPIRING COMEDIANS AND ACTORS?
Be original, do you, never stop, keep pushing. The work you expect might be your breakthrough might not actually. It might just be something you never planned. It might just be something where you have a brief cameo in a scene and your face shows and you blow, you’ll never know. Work on yourself.
WHAT WILL YOU LIKE TO BE REMEMBERED FOR?
WORD FOR YOUR FANS?
Do what makes you happy and chase your passion. Have something to fuel your passion while you chase it. Thank you to everyone supporting my brand, person and craft, I love you. God no go shame us.
Watch full interview;
Interviewed: Anuoluwapo Dada
Photographed: Bolurin Visuals
Videograph: Ebiniyi Fisayo
Production Assist: Adebayo Adetola
Executive Producer: Edun Adedamola