Emmanuel Edunjobi aka Emma Oh My God, a comedian, has over 200,000 followers on Instagram while his YouTube channel and Facebook entertain thousands of viewers per post. The comic act tells Ademola Olonilua how he has been able to achieve the feat
Why do you infuse music in most of your posts on social media?
It is because of what I do which is called ‘musicomedy.’ It is a combination of music and comedy. I love music and comedy a lot and I do them very well and that is why I infuse both of them together. Most times when I hear some songs, somehow, another version just gets replayed in my head. The song automatically gets remixed in my head and the version could be in any of my favourite genres like fuji or highlife.
I just like to interpret songs in my favourite genre. I think being a creative mind is about recreating things every now and then. People like it when I do that because it comes out in a way they never imagined. However, this does not happen with every song I listen to but there are some songs that I just listen to and they change in my head.
You also use musical instruments for your skits. How did you learn how to use the various tools?
It is something I grew up with. I started playing different musical instruments since I was about seven years old. Once I am around any musical instrument, just give me a few days and I would have mastered it. I taught myself how to play every instrument that I use. I think it is a natural talent that was given to me by God.
I learnt everything on my own. For instance, I just bought the talking drum this year and I learnt how to play it after a week and that is because I did not have time to sit down and learn it as fast as I would have loved to. I recently bought a bata drum and by the next day, I was already playing it well, I even did a skit with it. It depends on the complexity of the instrument and the time I have to learn how to play it. I always find my way around musical instruments.
So why didn’t you become a musician?
I am working on my music right now and I just released a song. Doing ‘musicomedy’ is part of my strategy because it is making people realise that I can also do music. Over time, people have been advising me to delve into music. I am at a place where people know I can do music. I just released a song titled ‘Marry me.’
Are you aware that you have a strong presence on social media?
People tell me that, so I am beginning to believe. I am very active on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube. I make money from YouTube and that is why I am very active on that platform. Primarily, I am more active on Instagram because that is where I post most of my videos but I link the videos to my Facebook page.
How do you make money from YouTube?
YouTube pays you via adsense. It also pays per view. They have their rates and the way they pay people.
How lucrative has it been for you?
It has not been bad at all but I am focused on other things, so I am not paid as much as I would have been if it was my main job. For instance, if I was focused on my YouTube channel, I would have been getting more content and more view. The more view you get, the more money you make. You can make a lot of money and it can even be your major source of income. However, it is not the only thing I do but it is a source of income for me.
When you created your social media accounts, was it with the mindset of becoming popular?
I created the accounts to express myself and not to be popular. I opened the accounts with the hope of having a platform where people would see my creativity and that is the most important thing. It could be frustrating when you do some quality things and nobody gets to see them or appreciate them. Also, when you ask people for a platform, they turn you down. So, it was with the mindset that people would finally get to see what I have to offer. I thank God that it has been successful so far.
Which of your posts shot you to online stardom?
It was definitely a skit I did about Nigerian girls’ response to Davido’s song, ‘Aye.’ When I released the skit, it went viral. Apparently, people had not seen anything like that before and they did not expect it. That made some people to follow me on social media. From then on, I became consistent. It is one thing for people to notice your presence online but you need to show them that it was not a fluke; that you actually have something to offer. Recently, I have not had enough time to upload some content on Instagram because I have been on tour abroad as I also do stand-up comedy. I have had a lot going for me in terms of shows and tours but I have noticed the difference between when I post things regularly and when I don’t. If you do not post skits for a while, the followership reduces and people begin to follow other consistent internet comedians. You need to keep re-inventing yourself and come up with different skits.
How do you come up with your ideas?
It may sound cliché but I tell people that it is the work of God because the ideas come to me as fully conceptualised ideas; all I need to do is bring them into reality. I thank God that I have all it takes to make it a reality by myself because I can do everything by myself. I can produce; edit both the audio and visuals myself. Most times, it is the actualisation of the ideas that becomes a problem for people because when they have an idea, they go to meet cameramen and they are charged a lot of money. This could dampen a person’s spirit. Sometimes, I make it a conscious effort to develop the content from the scratch. But 80 per cent of what I do come to me as a whole.
Have your activities on social media opened doors for you in any way?
Definitely, all my trips abroad have been from social media. It has been a major source of publicity for me in such a way that people know what I can do. In terms of the skits, I have been making content for corporate bodies and even celebrities call me to feature on their videos. There was a wedding I anchored last year in Dubai and the people that invited me did so because they had seen my work on social media. I still have some events lined up, a lot of jobs, and they are courtesy of social media. Sometimes when I post things and people comment that I am jobless, I just laugh and say that if only they had an idea of what they are talking about.
Would you say that your activities on social media have impacted on the lives of your audience?
I put smiles on people’s faces every day and I know this for a fact because people send me messages every day. A lady once sent me a message that she cancelled her plan to commit suicide after watching my video which told her she had a reason to smile. When I get those messages, they make me happy. I once got a message from the Chief Executive Officer of a company who told me that despite his seriousness, all what his employees needed to make a request from him is to show him my video. I have become the favourite of a lot of people and there are some CEOs that must call me whenever they have an event. I have also made people realise that there is nothing that is not achievable. There are a lot of people that want to do what I am doing now but it all began and stopped in their head because they felt it could not be done but now that they are seeing me doing it, I have given them hope. A lot of people send me messages that I inspire them and I encourage them when they send me such messages. It is a form of networking because a lot of people I have worked with, I met them on social media. It bridges the gap. Most of the popular online comedians like Aphricanape, Craze lown and the likes, we first met on Instagram but when you see us, you would think we were childhood friends. It has been mutually beneficial for me and those watching me.
Are you saying that there are no disadvantages in being popular on social media?
There are and it is either you are prepared for them before you become popular or you learn to develop a thick skin as time goes on. A lot of people are out to bring you down on social media. I have done some videos where I got over 50,000 comments with everybody telling me that it is nice only for one person to come and give me a very nasty negative comment. Initially, it used to get to me but over time, I realised that those people just want attention. They are sad people who just want to affect you with their sadness. What I try to do is see if I can help the person become happy and if I cannot then, I would move on.
Also, you have to be careful with every step that you take because a lot of eyes are on you. Things that you would have done normally that nobody would notice can’t be done anymore. You have to calculate every step you take. You have to make a conscious effort to keep your private affairs very private because everything could become public. There are a lot of down side to being popular on social media.
How have you been coping with ladies?
I have been getting attention from ladies since I was a young boy. Women easily get attracted to me. During my school days, they were attracted to me because I was a very brilliant guy. In the university, I was very popular because of comedy and in church, I was an instrumentalist. All these draw ladies to me. During my NYSC days in Lagos, I won an award in a music competition. In fact, when I go somewhere and I don’t get attention from ladies, I feel abnormal because that is not the norm for me. Growing up with that background, I have learnt how to handle the situation and that is why there has been no scandal.
Has there been any time you wanted to quit social media?
No because the goodies I get from it are more than the bad that could come from it. I am gaining a lot from it.
Besides posting comedy skits, what else do you do with your social media platform?
People strike deals with me for their adverts or post on my page. I do content production for companies; sometimes my face does not appear on such jobs because I would be the script writer or content provider. I can say I get endorsement from some companies, brands and organisations. It is a business platform for me that has evolved from just posting skits and videos.