Multimillionaire Nigerian comedian Julius Agwu talks business of laughter

by Tendai Dube 0

The comedy industry in Nigeria is said to be worth about 50 billion naira or 251 million dollars and for pioneers of the industry like Julius Agwu, the journey as a comedian in Nigeria’s booming entertainment industry has been challenging but lucrative.

The highest paid comedian in Nigeria is said to charge an appearance fee of between 4 to 5 million naira ($20 075) per event, with a guaranteed two events per week – about 400 million naira per annum. He is worth over 3 billion naira ($15mln).

Julius Agwu’s is one of Nigeria’s top 5 comedians, with a net worth of 1.5 billion naira, and an event fee of 3 million naira per show, and acquired a minimum of 20 million naira for his books on jokes.

Agwu also organised “Crack Your Ribs” and “Laugh for Christ Sake”, earning him about 140 million naira annually.

Where it all started…

“I grew up in a village called Choba in River state, that is the community that houses the University of Port Harcourt, thank God for that school or else I wouldn’t be a graduate – having said that I think my foundation started from school.

“Right from secondary school I already had my own theatre group that I called JAMMIN – the acronym for Julius Agwu Must Make It in Nigeria.

On his comedic talent

“I knew I made people laugh but I didn’t know there was something that I could actually stand and make people laugh.

“I started out as a dancer, as an actor, and then I was part of a travelling theatre group – that was when the whole journey started.”

High point of career

“The high point of my career was I think, when I started “musicomedy” – a fusion of music and comedy,

Aside from the difficulty finding finances Agwu overcame serious health issues last year

“At some point I was shooting one of my series and I had a seizure after the shoot and I was rushed to the hospital and getting there I was in a coma.”

“I didn’t know I had tumours in my brain until I went to America, the MRI scan showed that I had three tumours, one which was the size of a golf ball – thank God they are now benign, it’s a rare privilege, not everybody gets an opportunity of a second chance.

Agwu’s upcoming comedy show…

“I decided to do this to honour God, so it is called “Life as I see it” because my perception of life changed after my encounter with death and God.