The journey to achieving fame and fortune on Instagram is often marked by trial and error. It is a process of learning from mistakes and persevering until something clicks and resonates with the audience.

This was the case for renowned IG sketch comedians like Mr Macaroni, Taaooma, and Broda Shaggi, who had to experiment with different characters before finding success.

Their experiences reflect the common struggle of comedians to connect with their audience and attain financial independence.

When it comes to financial independence in comedy, one name stands out: Comedian AY.

He quickly realized how to build a comedy business using both the pipe and platform models. The pipe model involves selling directly to customers, such as corporate clients and concertgoers.

On the other hand, the platform model entails creating a stage for other comedians to showcase their talents while also reaching the same corporate clients and concertgoers.

AY, 49, has mastered this dual role of being both a creator and a businessman. His annual AY Live concert, held every Easter in multiple Nigerian cities, serves as a platform for numerous comedians, including stand-up artists, skit performers, and musical comedians.

AY’s entrepreneurial spirit and knack for spotting opportunities have drawn comparisons to Kevin Hart, the highest-paid comedian in the world in 2019.

Critics may dismiss AY as “more of a businessman than a comedian,” but this view fails to appreciate his ability to transcend the traditional artist’s struggle between commerce and art.

AY’s success not only benefits himself but also extends to others. He has produced five comedic movies available on Netflix.

However, the system that propelled AY Live to success must also be adapted to the art of comedy itself. This involves creating a structured approach that can be studied and replicated.

For stand-up comedians, it means understanding the rules of joke writing, dedicating hours to practice, honing a tight set, and repeatedly testing material in front of live audiences.

Bovi Ugboma may be the only Nigerian comedian currently following this approach by recording his concerts for TV viewing.

While spontaneity is a source of pride for many comedians, it can be unpredictable, much like black magic in medicine. Establishing a process is crucial.

American comedians often emphasize the importance of a process, as exemplified by Dave Chappelle, who trained himself by imitating Tony Woods, and Kevin Hart, who drew inspiration from Keith Robinson.

These comedic greats, despite their natural talent, invested years in perfecting their craft, mastering cadence, premises, setups, counterpoints, and punchlines.

As Chris Rock notes, when a joke fails, it is often because the audience does not understand the premise. Comedians are now expected to speak with the precision of attorneys and politicians, as highlighted by Dave Chappelle.

So, why is there so much emphasis on stand-up comedy? It has become increasingly popular, and consequently, more lucrative. With the booming comedic film industry in Nollywood and the demand for African content from platforms like Netflix, participating in the global stand-up stage can lead to substantial financial gains.

Apart from the direct payment comedians receive from Netflix, the platform serves as a gateway to a global audience. Comedians who have done Netflix specials, like Yvonne Orji, have witnessed their careers skyrocket. Barry Katz, a producer of specials, explains that for most comedians, a Netflix special serves as a commercial for their business, opening doors to larger opportunities.

With African comedians like Trevor Noah and Loyiso Gola already making their mark on Netflix, the opportunity for homegrown Nigerian comedians, including AY, to step up and showcase their talent on a global platform has never been greater.

However, succeeding in the realm of televised comedy sets and performances presents a significant challenge and an incredible opportunity.

Considering all that has been discussed thus far, AY possesses invaluable knowledge and expertise in building a system that turns challenges into opportunities, particularly in the comedy business.

AY’s journey serves as a testament to the importance of perseverance, adaptability, and a deep understanding of the audience. By recognizing the potential in both the pipe and platform models, he has created a thriving comedy enterprise that not only benefits himself but also provides a stage for emerging talents.

His commitment to his craft, combined with his astute business acumen, sets him apart as a leading figure in the Nigerian comedy scene.

As the landscape of comedy continues to evolve, the need for a systematic approach becomes increasingly apparent. By studying and replicating successful models, comedians can enhance their chances of connecting with audiences and achieving financial success.

AY’s accomplishments demonstrate that it takes more than natural talent to thrive in the competitive world of comedy; it requires dedication, discipline, and a willingness to learn and grow.

With platforms like Netflix expanding their reach and seeking diverse voices and stories, Nigerian comedians have a golden opportunity to make their mark on the global stage. By following in the footsteps of AY and embracing a structured approach to their craft, they can navigate the challenges of stand-up comedy and seize the tremendous potential that awaits them.

In conclusion, AY’s remarkable success as a comedian and businessman exemplifies the fusion of art and commerce in the world of comedy. His ability to build a system of opportunities from challenges has not only propelled his own career but also paved the way for others in the industry.

As Nigerian comedians embark on their journeys to achieve international recognition, they can look to AY as a guiding light, utilizing his wisdom and experience to carve their path to success in the ever-evolving world of comedy.

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