From hustling in Warri  to Ghana Jollof: How Buchi became one of Nigeria’s finest comedians

7 December 2021

From hustling in Warri to Ghana Jollof: How Buchi became one of Nigeria’s finest comedians

Onyebuchi Ojieh, better known as Buchi, went through an interesting route to finally achieve his dream of becoming a comedian. Growing up, he dreamt of being an astronaut but changed his mind because, according to him in his characteristic humorous manner, “going to space was too far”. So he went to Bendel State University (Ambrose Alli University) to study Law before ultimately becoming a  comedian.

In that period, one thing remained consistent: it was his love for putting smiles on people’s faces through humour.

Born in Kwale Ndokwa West, Delta State on April 4, 1979, Buchi attended D.S.C Nursery and Primary School and Ovwian Secondary School in Warri. While in school, he participated in various activities such as the ‘mock news’ presentation, where he would read the news in a humorous manner to other students. The feedback he got encouraged him to create more of those humour-filled content.

In 1996, Buchi began his professional comedy career performing in churches and events with a growing population in the south-south of Nigeria. But he wasn’t someone who settled for relative success. After 10 years of performing in the region, he decided to move to Lagos which had become a creative hub for entertainers.

Buchi on the set of Ghana Jollof in Accra

In Lagos, Buchi had to start all over again as he wasn’t a known figure in the most populous city in Nigeria. In an interview, he admitted that it was tough starting all over again and becoming an “up and coming” comedian.

He said: “It was tough, because coming again to Lagos having done it for like 10 years already, having gotten that followership in few places like Abuja, the south, the east… and even few people in Lagos… to drop all that and start afresh with a new name, new face, new brand, it was like starting from scratch. It was more painful because I had to bring myself down to an ‘upcoming talent’; going back to the basics was like completing your school and going to start it all over again… it was tough.”

Watch this clip of Buchi in My Flatmates

Despite this setback, Buchi remained undeterred, accepting small opportunities and honing his creative skills. In 2008, he was introduced to veteran comedian, Tee-A who invited him to his show, ‘Tee-A Live N Naked’ in Lagos. This facilitated his meeting with other popular comedians like the comedy industry pioneer Ali Baba and the legendary Opa Williams who created the famous ‘Nite of a Thousand Laughs’.

The show allowed Buchi to present comedy on a bigger stage and provided a much-needed boost to his career. He also got to watch, Basketmouth and Ali Baba perform live on stage too.

Following the huge platform provided by ‘Nite of a Thousand Laughs’, Buchi’s status as a comedian began to grow in the industry which also allowed him to explore his other artistic talent, acting, where he deployed humour to entertain viewers. He is one of the brightest stars on the Africa Magic TV Series, My Flatmates, also streaming on Showmax, where he plays the role of broke lawyer, Obus.

Watch the Ghana Jollof full trailer

Buchi’s humour has also taken centre-stage in the first-ever Showmax original comedy series, Ghana Jollof where he acts alongside his friend and colleague, Basketmouth, who is the executive producer of the series. They both play the role of Nigerian casual workers living in Ghana.  

Ghana Jollof follows the lives of four friends who met in university in Nigeria and reconnect in Ghana. The show tells relatable everyday stories peculiar to the Nigerian and Ghanaian cultures and adopts a creative style where the actors address the viewers by providing a personal commentary on events in the series.

The show which was filmed in Lagos and Accra also stars AMVCA-winning comedian, Funnybone, actor Uzor Arukwe, who starred as the dreaded crime boss, Knight, in Sugar Rush, and popular YouTuber, Akah Nnani.

Through Ghana Jollof, Buchi has once again demonstrated his dexterity as a standup comedian and actor confirming how far he has come in achieving his lifelong desire of being a household name. From the struggling unknown but ambitious fresh-faced comedian to becoming one of Nigeria’s most notable stand-up comedians, and now featuring in Showmax’s first original comedy series, the sky’s just the limit for Buchi.

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