Have you ever tried to figure out the contribution of PASSION in the activities you or people around achieve huge successes in? If you have done this before, it’s likely you conclude that passion is very important. Yes you’re right, am not disputing that fact but there’s also a need to look at this from another perspective so you can have a broader knowledge on PASSION.
For like two years I have studied several successful entrepreneurs and achievers across the African continent, I found out that passion isn’t the one doing the bulk of the job in ensuring success, a lot go into that. Hence my reason for interviewing, outstanding Nigerian Comedian, popularly known as Asiri Comedy, who has used his passion to achieve excellence in his field. Asiri is a proud Nigerian comedian who knows his onion well when it comes to comedy with a hot sauce of inspiration .
In this interview Uncle Asiri gave an in-depth explanation of passion from his own perspective , he talked about the misconception around it, the exact role passion plays in a successful career and more.
Now beautiful people, it’s time for you to fasten your belt as we are about to embark on an insightful journey of PASSION. You can as well grab your pen and note pad as there are things you would need to note down and apply immediately or later.
Let’s get started….
It’s great having you here sir, let’s start with the spotlight on you; you’re popularly called Asiri Comedy what does this mean? What is your real name?
It’s a pleasure joining you here. My real name is Oluwadamilare Simeon Osundare. Asiri Comedy means ‘mystery or secret of comedy’. It started as a slang I say often out of my reflex when having conversations with friends. For instance, anytime I share a thought with friends, I find myself always adding ‘Asiri ni” but it never had any deep meaning to me then. Until one fateful day when I was reading my bible and I stumbled on Mark 4:11 which states ‘ It is given to men to know the mystery of the kingdom of God.’ That’s where I coined Asiri Comedy, from. I translated mystery into Yoruba , which is Asiri. To me, it connotes seeing things people don’t see.
Tell us a bit more about you, starting with your personality, ethnicity, and education.
I am a calm person who prefers being alone most times. Though people find it hard to believe because of my profession but most times I switch my personality to make that happen. As regards my temperament, am dominantly a sanguine and passively a melancholy, but still there’s a way I exhibit little traits from the four temperaments, it all depends on the situation I find myself.
Am a Yoruba from Oyo State. I was born and bred in Ibadan. I studied Microbiology at Obafemi Awolowo University, which is obviously the best school in the world, I don’t care if it’s debatable, Lol . I served in Delta state, where I taught about four subjects simultaneously. The experience was awesome to me because I got to impact knowledge into young minds.
As a comedian, I believe making people happy is your passion, when did you discover this talent of yours?
Comedy for me started through interactions, I noticed whenever am discussing with friends, I usually chip in funny statements. After a while people found it appealing to come around me, sometimes they put words in my mouth deliberately just to hear my jokes. Back when I still visit viewing centres to watch ball, I started watching ball at a point for free because they love how I make funny contribution to every match. But it was just a part me and I was happy doing it.
Moving forward to 2009, I decided to make something out of this passion of mind, I got a compilation of ‘Nite of a thousand laughs’so I could under study ‘Stand Up Comedy’. This is a very important move that everyone should put into practice whenever they want to venture into something new , if being successful in the path is paramount to them.
Success doesn’t just come from the blues, you have to determine you will succeed, then you start by nurturing yourself and understudying your chosen field. Firstly you’re understudying to understand what people in the field are doing, this will help you decide how to stand out, and secondly you will understand their approach so you can know how to improve yours. After doing all these, I made up my mind on what I wanted to do and how I will present my own comedy.
Now to our topic; what does passion mean to you? From your experience so far, what are the best ways people can discover their passion?
Passion to me is very important because in every career, there will be bad days, that is; days when things won’t go well, days you feel the world is against you, when these days surface, your passion for what you do will be the only fuel to keep you going. But if passion is missing, there’s a very high possibility that you will quit.
Though passion isn’t the totality of what you need for success but it is very essential because it gives you hope and keeps you on the run.
To discover what you’re passionate about, you have to figure out things that make you happy when you do them, things that get your attention easily which you can do without being paid for. Also things you do with ease that others struggle with. Do a self evaluation, by asking yourself these questions, put down your sincere answer and you would be able to figure out what you have passion for.
Why did you decide to turn your passion into profession instead of what you studied in the university? Enlighten us on the tactics you used to tailor your passion into people’s needs?
Comedy makes me happy, I feel very great when I crack jokes because it draws people to me, and gives me the medium to touch other areas of their lives positively, I love Inspiring people, so much.
Then what I studied in university is still useful, because I find a way to infusing that into comedy. An example is my new comedy series, which I called Uncle Asiri. The most recent one I posted was about Donjazzy’s Impossible mission of sliding into Rihanna’s Dm. Lol.
On the issue of Passion there’s something very cogent I will like to touch on; You can’t have passion for what you don’t have capacity to do, so there’s a place of talent before passion comes in. For instance I have passion for singing but am only good with singing in the bathroom those are moments I feel like John Legend but once am out I can’t sing to save my life. Though you can be passionate about something and decide to learn more about it to become better but you must have the gift in you. When you discover your gift then you can figure out the one you’re passionate about and then work of developing it.
As regards the tactics you need to tailor your passion to what people need, let me start by referring back to when I was invited to speak in a master class some weeks back and they asked me ‘what is the greatest advantage of a public speaker’, I made them understand that the language of a public speaker is dynamics. It changes based on the audience you’re addressing. The way I will address people working in the market is different from that of meet in church.
So the first thing is define who your target audience are, you can’t be for everyone, after this, try to understand the language that works best for them.
I had a particular challenge when I travelled, I realised that when i speak english my normal way, the whites found it difficult to understand because of my accent but when I go on a slow pace they understand me better. I was also able to fathom that white people respond more to gesticulations than words compare to blacks. You can make a white man laugh just by displaying a funny gesture but Africans want you to talk and act alongside before you can get them to laugh.
Once you know your audience; either they are elitist, indigenous people, youths among others, and you identify the language they prefer, then you need to be consistent with giving out your content or service in different dimensions, till it spread across your potential audience, Once you reach a large number of them, don’t relax continue innovating ideas so you can engage them for long.
Let’s get on a lighter mood, share with us the most exciting moment you have experienced this year.
My answer will be very funny to you, to me every day of my life is exciting that’s how have coined my mind set to be. Any day I wake up breathing and can talk , I am excited. So am excited right now and my next most exciting moment will be tomorrow when I wake up again. Lol.
People have to understand that the biggest thing that happens to them in a day, is a build-up of their long time activities, which then climax that day. That great achievement is an accumulation of your bad days, good days and challenges, so each of this moment should be seen as exciting. That’s my own personal view to life and it has helped me a lot.
Wow! That was amazing…. Let’s get back to business, I understand just discovering one’s passion, and turning it into profession isn’t enough to achieve success, what are the other things people need to put in place?
Being successful in this generation is deliberate, don’t get too sugar-coated by some things you hear on how you can achieve great things but leaves out the realistic part of it.
To be successful you have to be determined, and then develop successful habits. You need to start doing the extraordinary; you can’t eat the way other people eat, you won’t sleep the way other people sleep, if you want to be success.
Using myself as an example, when I eat too much I get tired and it clouds my thinking, so days I need to come up with creative things I eat very little and late.
Passion isn’t enough for success at all, you need to examine your chosen career and decide that you want to be successful. Study the players in the field, know how they started, know when they experienced their great turn around.
Success is a deliberate quest, so whatever your profession requires for you to be great, you need to do the extra and you will get there. When you meet people you look up to in your field, don’t ask for selfies, rather ask questions that can make you understand better and know how to broaden your horizon.
Shifting the spotlight back to you, what point in your comedy career did you almost give up? How did you get over it?
After NYSC, I was faced with the reality of the world. I wasn’t able to decide what I wanted quickly I had to contemplate whether to find a white collar job or work on my passion. At that time I wasn’t getting much jobs and the few I got , didn’t come with pay, most days they package gift for me and I get so excited, only to get home and find funny things like small chops , Laughs. This was one of my challenges. Other challenging days were when I trek to events, when I dare not buy another colour of suit and trousers than black, because if I wear it more than 10 times it won’t be obvious. But if it’s another colour people will quickly understand.
During these challenges what kept me going was the success stories of those that have gone ahead and my written set goals. They energise me to keep going and never give up.
I advise that before you set out in any field, write down as many goals that pops up your head and make sure that it sinks into your subconsciousness, so that when you are woken up from sleep you can say them all . Any day you feel like giving up, remind yourself all you have written down, then you will immediately pick yourself up again and continue running.
one more thing, I always tell people,that the moments they find things very tough then they are very close to their breakthrough point. So anytime you feel things are tough just keep going.
Do you even know that all through your sojourn in life, you will always feel like quitting? Because there is no destination, it’s a journey. When you achieve your set goals, new goals will evolve and at every time you will feel like quitting when things don’t happen like you want. This is not because you don’t have potentials to carry on but because you’re expired to that phase. And something in you is telling you guy, you need to move on. Immediately you take that next step, you become consumed with the passion to conquer the next stage and that discouraging feeling vanishes.
So the feeling to quit is a normal one for achievers, if you don’t have that feeling you aren’t an achiever.
People will always tell you ‘dont worry you will get there soon’, In this success game, there’s no there, you can never get there. Because when you get to the supposed there, you will be shown another there. THERE is endless, so you have to keep evolving.
Share with us the moment that changed your brand into a celebrated one.
The moment that brought me into spotlight was a funny one, the bible says ‘He uses the fool things of this world to confirm the wise.’ Have been doing comedy for years, and anchoring events but the recognition wasn’t there.
One day my brother Woli Arole, who was already known for his comedy skits visited me, by then he had already started a beef among universities through his skits. So he saw a4 books on my table, they were written by John C Maxwell, he knows I love reading a lot .
On sighting the book he said ‘ Si we na si nu iwe universities” and I just found myself talking.
So we decided to make skits in line with it. We started with UNILAG and did for several tertiary institutions as well. He posted them and got lots of views though I didn’t really take it that serious.
One day I came from my former base, Ibadan, to Ikeja City Mall, and I noticed many people greeted me within few minutes because they recognised my face from the skit, I was very surprised.
From there it moved to the point where people driving just stop or slow down to point at me uttering words like ‘ that’s the guy’ . People started attaching my face to what I do. Then celebrities also reposted our videos and that’s was how my brand experienced great turn around. Before then if I go to show I always need to introduce myself to people, but after the recognition came, when I get to events , they will immediately sight me and approach me.
So in a nutshell, it was instagram skit that gave me recognition through our consistence.But recognition isn’t enough, a lot of people think it ends at recognition,but that’s a wrong conclusion.
Anyone can do instagram skits and go viral, then people start calling them to event, but once you’re invited to an event, delivering well is a different ball game. For me I already had about 5 years’ experience in comedy, and this made me deliver well when recognition came.
When you’re in oblivion, don’t look at it negatively, see it as your moment of preparation, use it that moment for practice and earn more experience that you will need when great opportunities come. Once recognition comes there will be a great demand on you to deliver, and if you don’t, you will fizzle out quickly because people get pissed easily. The same way it’s easy for them to like you, it becomes easier for them to hate you. So you need to start preparing now.
So your twin brother from another parent, Woli Arole, how did you meet? Why did you both decide to work together? Briefly describe the impact working with him had on your brand.
We met January 18 2009, I remember this day because it was a special day. We met during a quiz completion held within our university, OAU. From the day we met, we became attached to each other because we share like minds, he is an achiever and an exceptional man. After the quiz, we found out our hostel wasn’t far from each other so we connected and became friends. For our joint work, we started a drama group together called ‘arc of laughter’, and also did comedy together in different places.
Working with Arole was very pivotal for my brand, and beneficial to both of us. Remember the bible says one will chase a thousand and two will chase ten thousands. We share a great understanding amidst ourselves and our gifts complement each other. As individuals we are uniquely talented and coming together made us a great duo as well. Our joint work gave use wider reach, I was surprised when lot of people greeted us in most places we visited in the UK. Arole is amazing! We do lots of things together; ranging from praying , advising each other to developing concepts.
At a point in your life, you will need to work with like minds, something in you will definitely let you know when it’s time, you will meet people you connect with fast and feel you can complement each other. When this happens you both need to put individual interest aside, and work on your joint goals, so you can move ahead faster. But we struggle with this in this part of the world because of selfish interest.
What strategy did you deploy to stand out amidst other comic actors? Can this strategy of yours work for others?
My strategy can’t work for others. Everyone is expected to have a unique selling point which stands them out and make them easily remembered.
Using the comedians as an example, you will easily remember the guy, that came on stage to crack jokes and sang that’s Kenny black, you will remember the guy that come to the stage as a prophet, that’s Woli Arole. My own USP comes from the way I deliver my jokes, they always come with a tone of inspiration and with a message no matter how sublime it is. I take my time to coin my jokes and make it inspirational most times
There’s a particular event i attended, after i was done with my joke and went back to my seat , the celebrant called me back to come and inspire the people there. I was touched by that gesture.
For me comedy is a leverage, not a bus stop , it has given me followers, but how can I help them? Comedy is my medium to touch lives not my total calling,and in line with this I am launching my inspirational book on my birthday, December 23. Watch out for it.
Will you advice upcoming comedians and entrepreneurs across other fields, to work with people of their like minds as well?
It’s a great move but you have to be very careful when choosing who to work with.
There’s a thin line between working with someone and being exploited. If anyone is exploiting you, leave without thinking twice.
To avoid being exploited, don’t approach people, continue working on yourself, they will come for you. Don’t chase after people, it doesn’t work.
Most times when people accept to work with you, they use you for things that add no value to you but them alone.
Self-improvement is the best key to attract people that you need to work with. Successful people will only look out for people with successful traits, not those that will become burdens.
Thanks for that insight. You’re now successful at what you do, though I believe you still have greater milestones to attain, share with us the three personal rules that has helped you so far?
1. Am always after giving my best
2. I avoid careless ways because they tend to make one look focus. For example as a guy, drinking and keeping many women are careless ways you should avoid both if you want to be successful, do things in moderation.
3. Hold God tight. Whether you believe it or not there’s a supernatural dimension to everything you do. There’s something that will make what you do became sporadically successful which will surprise everyone , that’s where the divine aspect comes in.
After practising all you need to succeed you need to add the God factor, if it’s not there, you are going no where. Am a proud product of supernatural. God helped me
I believe that through this comedy you have been able to tap into various opportunities, am I right? So how can people unlock opportunities through their passion?
Yes you’re right. To unlock opportunities, you need to be aware of a particular mistake many make. It is very critical you understand the difference between your gift and purpose. Using Joseph in the bible as an example, he had the gift of dreaming which he did only few times in the bible but his main purpose was to save Egypt from famine.
Most people die at the realm of their gift without setting out to achieve their purpose. You can’t be just a comedian, a singer or an actor, they are all gifts, then you need to set out to achieve your purpose with them. Your purpose could be using your earned money for charity, to touch lives among other. This purpose of yours will sustain you but gift will never do that.
Many only stop at the realm of gift, if Joseph had stopped at only his dreaming gift he won’t have saved Egypt and they won’t be using his reforms till date. While you’re carrying out your purpose then opportunities surface.
What keeps you going? How do you relax?
Am just learning how to relax though, off late have being watch series movies, chilling with friends, and sometimes take a walk around.
What keeps me going is the next life to touch. Before getting done with something, I immediately start thinking about how I will do the next thing. I don’t allow myself get complacent, but rather I keep thinking of new things.
I learnt a vital lesson from car manufacturers which was evolutionary for my life, I noticed they don’t really do new things. For instance take a look at Toyota Corolla, they have been given us the same engine since 2007. But each year they come with new development on some selected parts. They just get innovative with their designs, they aren’t doing something totally different.
Who are your role models in the comedy industry?
Ali baba and Bovi. I appreciate the intellect of both. I love the way Bovi performs and the fact you don’t need to get close to Alibaba before you learn from him.
Are you available for mentorship? How should prospective mentees reach you?
Yes I am available but no one should reach out to me. Just keep working on yourself, I will figure out who truly needs mentoring myself but am available to give advice to youths.
Your advice to upcoming comedians
Stick to your game, know your unique selling point (USP), don’t join the bandwagon do something unique for yourself so you can stand out. People will always advice you to think outside the box, but that has become obsolete, you should rather create your own box, and ensure it can only size your head. That way you have created your own space.
Here’s how you will know you’re doing the right thing, there will be lots of oppositions, anything you do and don’t get opposed has no meaning. 1Corithians 16: 9 states ‘ for a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries’. So having lots of adversaries help you know there’s an open door ahead of you. Anytime you notice you’re being opposed, just thank God and be happy because you are on the right path. Above all don’t forget God.
Inspire youths in one sentence …
As a youth you’re a change agent, so work on yourself so you can be excellent because your success will change lives. The only reason you need that hard work and success is because many lives are attached to you.
So anytime you over sleep, over talk, and over eat you are failing the world. You need to gear up now and change your destiny to Gear 5, so you can achieve success and change the world. Love you, I am Asiri.
Thanks For Sharing These Wonderful Insights With Us Mr Asiri.
You can reach Mr Asiri Comedy through
Phone number: 09053515171