FAMOUS FACES: I have won souls for Christ through entertainment – Leading comedian/actor, Julius Agwu
By AZUH AMATUS
Award-winning comedian and actor, Julius “D Genius” Agwu, who just returned from the U.S, where he went to pick the 2007 Funniest Comedian of the Year Award, spoke passionately with us on a wide range of issues, especially those germane to his thriving career. Agwu also spoke on his popular comedy shows, Crack Ya Ribs, Laff 4 Christ’s Sake, Humour Combat, and how he is constantly winning souls for God as a leading entertainer and humour merchant of international repute.
Enjoy the interaction!
As a top entertainer, what would you say is your biggest accomplishment?
My biggest accomplishment as a comedian is yet to come, I’m just making progress and I believe God that I will keep on progressing. God does not have a choice than to keep on making me progress, because he gave me the talent. I did not stroll into the business.
And what would you say is your mission in the comedy business?
Personally, my vision and mission in the comedy business is to see Nigerian comedians perform in the Apollo theatre, U.S., alongside some great entertainers globally. Also, my mission is to market the Julius Agwu brand globally. I also want to help market and launder our image through my jokes as an entertainer. I also want the outside world to know that all Nigerians are not corrupt, there are those who live on their talents and I’m one of them. I thank God that over the years, I’ve been propagating and preaching that message beyond our shores. For example, I have taken Crack Ya Ribs to the U.S and Europe.
In what ways do you think you have impacted positively on the society through comedy?
In fact, it is part of what I’m currently doing with my various concerts. We are doing a total image laundering and cleansing through comedy, which is a flourishing industry in Nigeria today. Africans in the Diaspora are beginning to appreciate our comedy industry. In fact, we have taken the gospel of Nigeria comedy beyond our shores. Severally, I have performed to a global audience as a proudly Nigerian product in various parts of the world.
Again, Laff 4 Christ’s Sake which is an evening of gospel rhythms and jokes will change automatically, the lives of those that would be attending. In fact, after attending their lives shall never be the same again. According to the book of Proverbs, chapter 14: A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance.
You recently returned from a U.S trip where you were also honoured with an international award, we would like you to tell us more about the trip?
Primarily, I went to the U.S. to anchor the launch of Foisi Broadcasting Network. An internet, radio, and TV-based broadcast station owned by a Nigerian from Rivers State. Secondly, I was also in the US. to pick the 2007 Funniest Comedian of the Year Award, from the organizers of the Nigerian Entertainment Awards (NEA). It held in New York. I feel very proud and great winning the award because it is a global one. In my acceptance speech, I told them I felt highly honoured.
Mind you, I have also won some global awards in the past. The first was The Afro-Hollywood Awards, in 2003 and some others. But I give God all the glory because this one came from the U.S, God’s own country. It’s a global award, a big one and I really appreciate it. It is a pointer to the fact that what I’m doing as an ambassador of Nigerian and African comedy is being appreciated globally. Please help me tell my Naija friends that the award did not come with any monetary values. It is a token appreciation aimed at honouring what I have been doing over the years. It is also a pat on the back that I should work harder. In fact, I would work harder to also retain it next year by God’s grace. Truth is that I’m looking forward to winning more global awards, so this is just the starting point.
What should your fans expect at this year’s Laff 4 Christ’s Sake Concert and what inspired the idea?
Well, Laff 4 Christ’s Sake, which holds this Sunday, August 5, 2007, at the Muson Centre, Onikan, Lagos by 5.p.m, was borne out of so much that God has done for me, especially in my upbringing and career. I woke up one day and said to myself why is it that so many people praise sing individuals in the society who spray them money. I further asked myself again, how come nobody praise sings God Almighty, who sprays us with talent, sustenance and continuity in our business of making people laugh. That was how Laff 4 Christ’s Sake came into existence. Mind you, Crack Ya Ribs, my music and comedy show was already running before Laff 4 Christ’s Sake, which is basically an evening of gospel rhythms and jokes aimed at thanking and praising God. It is also an opportunity for those who find it difficult to attend Crack Ya Ribs, because it is a secular show, to come on board. No lewd or indecent jokes at Laff 4 Christ’s Sake just decent jokes to glorify God alongside heavenly praises.
How religiously is the concert?
Laff 4 Christ’s Sake is very religious and I see it as a way of sowing and giving back to God and the society. As the giver of talents, God has kept me strong and going over the years. He has also widened my horizon and increased my ingenuity. Personally, I am a very religious person too. I was born a Catholic, but because of my spirituality and the strengthening of it, I worship with The Redeemed Christian Church of God. I believe so much in prayers because it conquers all.
You just said you are a very religious person, we would like to know the last church service you attended?
This is a serious question, but I think I attended church service a fortnight ago. For me, attendance is just a mere formality; most important thing is where your heart lies and relationship with God.
What have been the major challenges since you started crusading with this concert?
Well, when we first started Laff 4 Christ’s Sake a lot of people did not believe in us. In fact, at a point they kept asking what I was trying to do. Is he born again? Yes, I’m a born again, because it does not have to do with how you carry your bible or how many bibles you have. It has to with the heart and how much love you exude inside of you? I know that I would make heaven better than some people who shout and cry everybody at the altar. I’m not judging anybody, but that’s the truth. There is so much fanaticism in Nigeria. We first marketed this concert to the churches and they rejected it. In fact, they almost discouraged me. Unknown to many, I have won souls for Christ through this show. That you are sociable does not mean you are a sinner.
What is your vision for Laff 4 Christ’s Sake and other comedy shows from your stable?
I see it as a ministry, in fact my own ministry. But I’m still waiting for God to convince me before becoming a pastor or a minister in the Lord or Aso Rock. If stars like Sunny Okosun, Enenezer Obey, and Kris Okotie could be snatched by God, why not I? But supposed someone like late Fela got born again and opened his own church, what would have happened. I’m of the view that God has a lot in stock for me. I believe strongly that Laff 4 Christ’s Sake is my own ministry and I am happy using it to touch and win souls for God. Part of that ministry is what I do every of my birthday and Valentine’s Day by visiting and donating gifts and cash to the motherless baby homes and orphanages. All these are being done yearly under the Julius Agwu Foundation.
Between Laff 4 Christ Sake and Crack Ya Ribs, which comes first?
They both are separate entities and do not clash. Mind you, there is also another called Humour Combat. Crack Ya Ribs is a forum for people to see Julius Agwu as a dancer, comedian, actor, and a total entertainer alongside some of his colleagues. While Laff 4 Christ’s Sake is basically an evening of gospel rhythms and jokes. In the former, you can get crazy but the latter is heavily censored and Christian oriented. Again, I anchor the latter while the former is being anchored by a voice over room from back of the stage.
First published, July 2007.
Culled from Azuh Amatus’ best selling books, FAMOUS FACES…Interactions With Nollywood Stars And Stakeholders (1&2).