The story of wave making comedian Francis Agoda better
known as I Go Dye in the ribs cracking business is as
intriguing as they come.
Prior to hitting limelight and becoming famous both
nationally and internationally, he was turned down a
record four times at Nite of a Thousand Laughs, for
not being too good, in his quest for fame and
recognition as a comedian.
But like a Trojan Horse, very determined Agoda, from
Abraka, Delta State refused to give up until fame and
fortune finally smiled on him. Today, he is a
household name traversing the length and breath of
this nation and even beyond with his immense skill.
In this interview with AZUH AMATUS, Agoda, who has taken
the gospel of Nigerian comedy to over 50 major cities
in Europe and the U.S., opened up on how the rough
road to stardom began five years ago.
Enjoy the interaction!
I would like to begin this interview by asking about your historic deals with BBC and Fashion Page, respectively. How did you strike these deals?
Yes, I signed a mouth-watering contract with British
Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) last year. It was
basically to promote and project African comedy on
their African network. They also chose me as one of
the leading faces of African comedy on the continent.
I could not believe my eyes when they approached me.
We did some recordings in France, Dublin, Germany and
few other European nations. They were also part of my
Also, I recently signed a mouth-watering deal with this
international fashion outfit to manage my style and
image and also to help promote and package my
concerts. Besides, they will be clothing me whenever
I’m having a show. Mr. Destiny Ebagua, their Marketing
Director in Africa, made this deal possible. Since
they are mostly known in Europe and the US, they want
to use people like us to get into the African markets,
starting with Nigerian. They were also one of the
major sponsors of my successful show. They are also
planning of taking me on a world tour any moment from
In recent times, you have been embarking on frequent foreign trips, are special reason or reasons?
First and foremost, I want to thank God Almighty for
making these foreign trips possible. In the past,
people don’t reckon with comedians. My breakthrough
was in 2005 when Ehizoya Golden Entertainment took me
on a tour of Europe. During that tour, the Nigerian
ambassador to Germany hosted me. It was an experience
I will never forget. And of very recent again, I was
hosted lavishly by the Nigerian Ambassador to France,
during the last Nigerian Cultural Week in Paris. All
these outings opened the floodgate of many more
foreign trips for me. For an outstanding performance,
the Nigerian ambassador in France extended my visa to
one year. But before this trip, I just returned from
Ireland, where I dazzled at Nite Of A Thousand Laughs.
It was a successful outing. I’m even planning of
touring some parts of Nigeria with my comedy show in
collaboration with Fashion Paige soon. We will
commence with Lagos, Abuja and Port-Harcourt shows
soon. Later, we will be touring Europe and the U.S.
How did your romance with comedy begin?
I actually started comedy as a kid, but
professionally, I took off five years ago and got my
national recognition two years back. My breakthrough
was through Nite Of A Thousand Laughs. I started
gradually in Warri, with the mock news programme on
Delta State TV. Truth is that it was not easy making
it to the top. For good four years, Opa Williams kept
turning me down on the pretext that I was not good
enough, but I kept trying, refusing to give up. I want
up and coming comedians to learn from my experience.
Even at a point, I told Opa not to even pay me, but to
give me the chance to mount the stage for just five
minutes. I eventually got Ten Thousand Naira for my
first Nite Of A Thousand Laughs, but today the pay has
increased with over 1000 percent. Life is all about
sacrifices. And looking back now, I feel so great
because no one even thought or believed I can even
travel to Ghana then. If I want, I can just wake up
and said I want to have lunch in London and come back
We would also like to know more about your background?
I’m Francis Agoda better known as I Go Dye. I’m from
Abraka, Delta State. I am single and very close to 30.
I’m quietly planning for my marriage with somebody
that I truly love.
As a famous comedian, how do you cope with ladies?
Ladies are the most wonderful people you can think of
in this world and without them; the world does not go
round. I have also discovered that ladies like hanging
around fun and funny people like us. So, in essence, I
share my happiness with them.
Did your parents endorse your going into comedy when you newly started?
When I started comedy then, my mum never supported me,
for my dad, I met him first in my life, just two years
ago. I will tell the full story some day, in fact,
The inspiration to create your jokes, where and how does it come?
Before I answer this question, let me quickly tell you
that I’m among the very few comedians that do not
repeat jokes on stages. I create new jokes everyday by
perfecting my art. I spend 90% of my time, thinking of
how to make people laugh and that is why I’m more
creative and distinct.
How did you come about the name, I Go Dye?
I carved out the name from my surname which is Agoda.
You can see, my own is Dye and not die. It simply
means to transform, add and brighten the state of the
art. I have seen people who were christened Lucky and
Success at birth, but they turned out failures in
Why is there so much hatred and jealousy among comedians?
For every job you do, there must be a kind of
jealousy; it is even so among prostitutes. But what I
believe in and stand for is healthy rivalry. Another
mistake people make that usually lead to their not
succeeding in live is paying too much time to
unhealthy rivalry and dirty competitions. I don’t envy
people. I only pray to God everyday to help me get to
the top of my career and remain there till I’m gone.
How comfortable is I Go Dye financially?
I’m very, very comfortable because God has given me
life and without that life, you won’t be able to
assess your riches or millions.
What are your future goals and plans as a top comedian?
With God on my side, I want to be a world famous
comedian who will be known in all the continents of
the world. Recently, In Paris, in all the shops I
visited, I did not see the work of any Nigerian
comedian or musician, except that of Fela and Femi
Kuti, that increased my love and respect for them. I
was also in a Femi show recently and 90% of those that
attended were whites, this is my dream. Thank God, I’m
gradually making an inroad.
As a star comedian, what would you say is your unique selling point?
I think my natural jokes stands me out, they are what
I call my raw materials. Being creative and confident
on stage also stands me out. Again, as a creative
comedian, whenever I’m on stage, I usually ask myself,
when, what, where and how to deliver my jokes to make
impact and achieve results. I like studying the mood
of my people.
What are your views about the Nigerian comedy industry?
Comedy business in Nigeria is fast becoming very
lucrative and we thank God for that. These days, you
hardly go to events without a comedian, it is a big
plus for the industry. We are most grateful to those
who laid the foundation for us the new generation
ones, we won’t let them down.
Do you think government is doing enough for the comedy industry?
The government is supporting comedy big time
in Nigeria. From the local, to state and federal
levels, they usually include us in their functions.
And I have done shows for the government at all these
levels. It is also the government that makes most of
our foreign trips possible. I just returned from
France based on the invitation of the government,
which was facilitated by the ambassador. They have
tried for us but they should do more, because like
Oliver Twist, we are asking for more.
Have you ever run out of jokes on stage while performing?
It has never happened to me on stage. It can’t because
I’m always prepared and take time to research on my
jokes. Besides, I’m also a natural comedian full of
creative and humorous ideas. I will quit comedy the
day it happens.
Who are your role models in the comedy circuit?
God is my role model, but I love Chris Rock with an
undying passion, because of his flow and style.
What is your show, I Go Dye standing Live, all about?
I am happy that after several years of planning and
waiting, I finally did my own show. For me, it was a
dream come true and I thank God it was very, very
successful. I’m also happy the show gave me the
opportunity to entertain my fans for more than three
hours. It was a strictly I Go Dye show and my fans
thoroughly enjoyed themselves.
It was a total show and people of Warri, Delta
State where I started comedy from thoroughly enjoyed
First published, October 2006