Since he won the AY’s Open Mic challenge in 2010, Ogechi Nwanevu Cyril better known as Pencil by his teaming fans is a comedian per excellence who has grown over the year and his still a work in progress; having grace several stages with his unique rib cracking style; Pencil is known for his simplicity and originality of materials at all times.
In this chat with MUTIAT ALLI, Pencil talked about his coming event tagged Pencil Unbroken ‘The Movie Edition’, reforms the industry need, take on entertainers who brings their private life to social media amongst others.
It’s the second quarter of the 2019 already, how has the year been so far for you?
The year by all standards have been moving on well, we thank God for his infinite mercies, things are getting better.
What has been some of your greatest achievements this year compared to the past year?
I’ve been improving myself and my craft, because I learn everyday that is why I will refer to myself as a student of life, we are just in the middle of the year and it will be too soon to conclude,
the year still has a lot in stock for me so it will be too soon to start counting my blessings, I will want you to ask me this same question at the end of the year then I will give you a comprehensive list of my achievements
So what is new about the ‘Pencil ‘brand?
The Pencil brand is ever dynamic, each opportunity on stage is a learning experience, it just keeps getting better, there has been positive changes over the years in all ramifications, the style of jokes and delivery have changed over time, the brand will keep growing.
What has been the challenges faced in growing your brand?
Some of the challenges are always being fresh, coming up with jokes to entertain your audience and most importantly not repeating your jokes, it requires lots of hardwork especially for my kind of jokes that come with moral lessons, so keeping up with trends and making sure that my jokes speak about the ills in the society and possible solutions to them is a major challenge.
I have gone past the stage of telling fictitious tales whom people can not relate with, this is because my jokes are now inspired from my day to day activities.
It’s the fourth edition of your yearly comedy programme ‘Pencil Unbroken’, what are you doing differently this time around?
Fresh jokes, new acts and the packaging and execution this time will be flawless; we are making sure that everything that happens will be planned.
For every year we are always raising the bar and this year won’t be an exception, it will be pure entertainment and fun all the way.
So why the choice of this year’s theme tagged ‘The Movie’ edition?
Every show I do come with its unique theme, and the theme determines the dynamics of the show, this year we will be raising the bars in the comedy industry because we have to set standard. Every edition, there is a burning issue to tackle and this year is not an exception.
What and who will be taking the stage this time around?
This year comedians like the legendary Ay, Seyilaw, Gandoki, Kenny blaq,Ladisi Elenu, Destalker, Frank Onero and many more will be cracking the ribs of the audience
Since you won the AY open mic challenge in 2010, you have upped your game, will you say the challenge opened all this favored doors for you?
Certainly the platform was just like a spring board for me, and it opened lots of doors, I can’t stop taking AY for the platform, it also sharpened my craft and added more value to me.
Did you envisage that you will be this big and embraced starting out?
Sure right from inception I have always had a burning desire to be successful, I knew I would make it but na the date I no no, I won’t regard myself as big yet because my best is yet to come
In your own opinion what reforms do you think the comedy industry needs right now?
For new bees coming into the industry they should try as much as possible to be original, if you don’t have anything new to offer then don’t take from the existing,
also government and corporate bodies should buy into our shows more; we can only implore them to do so as it is clearly seen that in overseas their government and policies supports talent building.
However there is still platform to improve having at the back of their mind that entertainment in Nigeria is one of our greatest export.
A lot of your colleagues have dabbled into either movie production or turned actor, do you see yourself doing this anytime soon?
I am someone that know little things about so many things, I am multi talented, I have featured in some movies already and some yet to be released, if I am offered movie roles why not it’s all entertainment and it’s interwoven.
Will it be right to say that the Comedy business is paying off for you?
Yea, at least it puts food on my table and sustains the life style so comedy for me has been very rewarding even beyond my wildest imagination, initially it was just for the passion, when I started I never envisaged that it will be this rewarding but above all we thank God for his grace.
Are there down moments you felt you are in the wrong industry?
Just like every other profession I’ve had down moments but never for one day have I had the thoughts of quitting comedy, I have always had an inexplicable conviction that I am in the right profession, i have a strong passion for my profession so the few times I had down times I had to evaluate it and know the reason why and worked hard to prevent a recurrence
Just like your colleagues who takes their shows outside the shores of the country, do you have similar plans too?
Yes I will be having my UK tour this year from the 5th of October and in due cause other countries will follow, because we are trying relentlessly to make the brand a universal one with global acceptance
How did you feel when you were backlash on social media for posting your new ride some months back?
It’s nothing new, I just laughed over it, posting my car was my own way of counting my blessings and thanking God, whatever interpretation anyone makes from it is subjective, anyone can type anything from the comfort of their homes in as much as it doesn’t define who I am I don’t feel bothered, I didn’t feel disturbed about it at all.
What is your opinion to entertainers to who bring their personal life to social media?
Well it’s their life I’m not in a position to tell a full fledged adult how to run their affairs, the bottom line is to do what makes you happy, the fact that I might not like it doesn’t make it wrong, it’s just a clear case of individual differences.
Will you bring your personal issue or private life to social media?
As a celebrity my life is already in the public space, but I still try to reduce it, like you said it’s my private life and not for public consumption, the part of me seen on social media is the part I want people to know,
like for example no one is poor on social media where as in real life I have my financial challenges just like anybody, but I will certainly not be bringing that for people to feast on social media
Are you in a relationship now?
Sure I am in a relationship with my God at the moment, but if what you mean is having woman in my life then I will say not at the moment, I have a list of things I have set to achieve and their time frames, when it gets to the time to start a relationship you will be the first to know, I promise you but for now I am ‘babeless’.
What do look out for in your future wife to be
When it’s time to look for a wife surely I will create a standard but for now it hasn’t crossed my mind, I don’t want to make a categorical statement now, all I know is that my wife will be fine sha
How will you describe your sense of style?
In the words of Jidenna ‘I am a classic man’…..I love dressing in a way that will create an indelible impression in the minds of people.
What is your take on Nigerians patronizing made in Nigeria product?
Surely is the way to go, with the necessary support and push these products will become as enviable as the ones we import, so I am totally in support of made in Nigeria items.