Beyond Comedy: Funny But Firm – Mr Macaroni

Mr Macaroni

We read interviews to get into the headspace of people we love, admire and look up to. We want to know their superpowers, stories and find out the secrets behind their success but reading this interview with Mr Macaroni, the popular comedian and activist would make you realize that the people we celebrate and get inspired by are quite relatable. Just like you, they have dreams, experiences and are optimistic about their possibilities; the difference is usually that they have an extra spring in their steps that propels them to act and consequently, make the world a better place. Debo Adebayo had an open and interesting conversation with us at The Workbooth Magazine on his childhood, interest, journey, story, and legacy. Whoever said entertainment and performance isn’t a perfect mix sure haven’t heard about Mr Macaroni and his comedic yet heroic stance on life. If you didn’t know his actual name, you are welcome.

Honesty is the best policy but the best type of honesty is to yourself. Being true to who you are in the most pivotal key to success in the world and in Mr Macaroni’s case, the entertainment industry. He shared how he discovered early an in-depth love for performing arts and how he identified ways he was going to perform right from his childhood till now. He didn’t have to choose entertainment over leadership and impact because those two are also a part of whom he’s always identified as – a leader and someone who can do something about the world we live in. He has been true to himself ever since then; making people laugh while also having constructive conversations, stirring people into actions for a more habitable society.

Mr Macaroni is one of the many proofs that young people know exactly what they want, how they want to do it, and while they are at it, rewriting the stories of Africa.

Mr Macaroni Interview Workbooth Magazine

Interviewer: Would you like to take us through your professional journey so far and what motivated your choice of career as an entertainment?

Mr Macaroni: My childhood dream has always been to be an actor and a performer. I remember that at a very early age, I would watch Pastor Chris Oyakhilome on TV and imitate the way he walked, sounded, talked, and gesticulates. I saw him as a charismatic person who had excellent speech delivery, I would pick up the remote pretending it to be a microphone, and walk around the house mimicking him. This led to me being the jester of the house. When my parents or family members wanted a little form of home entertainment, I was the one they would beckon on to mimic people we knew. I joined the drama club in primary and secondary school. I also joined an agency when I was in secondary school – Blessed Angels Academy where I modeled, acted, and performed. After secondary school, I started auditioning for soaps and waka pass in movies

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Interviewer: You have a unique style of skits which you have also used in building your brand. Why did you choose that strategy and did you anticipate the kind of success you have achieved thus far?

Mr Macaroni: I was just trying different stuff – I was auditioning and acting for movie roles before skits came into the picture. Making skits wasn’t the plan. I wanted to be an actor but I wasn’t getting the opportunity to be one. The opportunities seemed to be crawling and I was tired because all I wanted to do was perform. Skits gave me that continued guarantee to always act and I took it. I tried different stuff before I finally discovered and settled on the popular Mr Macaroni character. The agbada Mr Macaroni wears now was what I used for my birthday shoot in 2018 and I just took one of my father’s caps to match. The first skit I did wasn’t viral but I got little encouragement from the few comments. After that, I intentionally became a content creator. Even as an optimist, I didn’t think I would have achieved this kind of success so early. I was wowed when I started to attain the heights I have been able to in a short time.

Interviewer: Traditionally, parents frown at their children’s choice of entertainment as a career path. Would you say this mindset is changing and why?

Mr Macaroni: My parents aren’t the typical Naija parents in this case, because they always knew I was an expressionist. Remember I said earlier they would call me to mimic people and make them laugh when I was a kid. My dad is a journalist while my mom is an educationist. My father has a reputation to allow his children to follow their passion and interests. Generally, I think the mentality is changing as parents are beginning to see the success and the credibility that comes with entertainment. My mom tells me that people who know she’s my mom meet her at functions, greet her and tell people ‘that is Mr. Macaroni’s mom’. They now see that it’s a reputable profession. The world is moving and we must move along with it. It’ll be your loss to stop your child from pursuing their entertainment passion since that’s one of the biggest industries in the world.

Interviewer: Some people think that talent and passion are adequate ingredients for success as an entertainer. What is your view about the place of education in advancing one’s career as an entertainer?

Mr Macaroni: Talent in itself has made things a lot easier and combining passion gives you an edge in the industry. These two aren’t enough as well. Other key ingredients would include hard work and consistency. I shared my rough and frustrating BBN 2019 audition experience even though I had been acting since 2011/2012. I would go for multiple auditions, get some with awful work conditions that could get one discouraged. Education is very important. Education helps your thinking process (you can see that well-achieved individuals still go back to school). It’s not like you can’t achieve stuff without school and we have enough human proofs but if you have the means and opportunity to get an education, get it. It will shape your learning experience.

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Interviewer: In recent times, there were public calls for help in support of veterans particularly in the movie industry who were either sick or incapacitated. Are you worried about the future of actors and their ability to support themselves when the spotlight is no longer on them?

Mr Macaroni: Life comes with its many unforeseen circumstances and at times like that, savings or investments may not be enough. Not everyone is just blowing money away. The first question is ‘how much are they making from the craft?’. There are different associations and guilds for entertainment professionals in Nigeria. What structures and aids are in place by those associations? Everyone is trying hard to make do so that if they ever find themselves in terrible situations, they can be able to help through for themselves. Entertainers have to take the right steps like insuring their health and investing in it as well. I need to get my health insured if it’s the littles thing I can do.

Interviewer: What specific steps can entertainers take to ensure that their future earnings are protected and they are being to live a decent life in retirement?

Mr Macaroni: Investment! Royalty is something that we don’t take seriously here in Nigeria. Insurance on some basic things to make sure there’s something to fall back on. I also think entertainers in the industry have to come together, come up with systems that ensure that those in the industry do not suffer. It should be an association for the betterment of the entertainers.

Interviewer: People say they want to be entertainers because of fame. Can someone become wealthy by becoming an entertainer? Is there gold in this field?

Mr Macaroni: There is gold in every field. There must be results and profit in everything we do. You can make wealth out of fame because people would want to see you, need your help to promote their businesses. Learn how to channel your fame into making wealth. So it’s okay to want to be an entertainer because of fame, just make sure that all the other factors are in place. Entertainment is a money-making avenue.

Interviewer: You were very active in the #endsars movement demanding government action to end police brutality. Why were you actively involved in that movement and why is it important for celebrities to use their influence to advocate societal reforms?

Mr Macaroni: I believe in standing up for one’s right. I can’t be intimidated or oppressed. I love standing up for myself and others. I don’t like people being cheated. I detest the overall concept of oppression and bullying. It’s better to stand fighting for something than sitting for nothing. I am very concerned about my legacy. I want to live a life worth living for others. I have been fighting for people’s rights since my secondary school days. It’s not far-fetched from humanity; we need to look out for ourselves.

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Police brutality has gone on for years and I was just tired. When I saw the tweets announcing that young people were going to protest, I knew I had to be there. Once I saw some people were at Alausa protesting, I knew I had to go lend my voice too. As a thespian, I was trained that theatre is for entertainment, education, information, and societal rejuvenation. We must use our platforms to inform and reform society. I don’t need to be physically present to be able to lend my voice, I can join or start a conversation from my videos. I have a lot of people (government officials included) following me on social media platforms who would get to watch and hear the point I’m trying to make.

We will keep using our platforms to advocate for positive societal change. It isn’t about an alliance with a political party. I was going through my old Facebook posts and saw articles I’d written on governance in Nigeria. Leadership is a position of service and I think if you can’t serve the people, you are there for yourself. If people no longer bring their problems to you, it is either they know you won’t listen or they are assured you won’t do anything about it and that is a failure of leadership. We need leaders to know that they are where they are because of people and they can’t afford to be reprehensible or irresponsible.

Interviewer: Do you have any political ambition? Should we expect you to contest political positions in the future?

Mr Macaroni: I honestly don’t know. I don’t shy away from leadership. I was the Senior Prefect in secondary school and president of Student association bodies in university. However, the political structure of this country scares me because I have seen people of integrity mess up all they have stood for.

Interviewer: What would you want the coming generations to remember you for?

Mr Macaroni: I’d like to be remembered for using my craft, art, and voice to address issues that are of great importance to the development and growth of this country and even beyond. I’m passionate about using my art to inform, entertain, educate and reform society. I want to use my platform to expose wrongdoings and suggest possible solutions. I believe in a better and greater country, one that we aren’t looking for how to elope. I want to advocate for love, peace, and justice. I want to be remembered for positive change.

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