Any given discourse and analysis of comedy in the Yoruba movie industry remains incomplete until the name of Babatunde Omidan, popularly known as Babasuwe is mentioned. In the past two decades, Babasuwe has showcased how acting could be matched up with comedy in the process of entertaining the viewers. Little wonder that he became a magnet of attraction to all and sundry since he began acting in 1971. Despite the popularity and love for Babasuwe from time immemorial, the story seems to have changed as the likes of Sanyeri, Okunnu, and Odunlade Adekola have taken center stage. Hence, the basis of this discussion.
Babasuwe as fondly called is a literate that read and bagged a West African School School Certificate before swinging into acting in 1971. At the inception of his movie career, he has been famous for comedy and funny roles which were why many Yoruba movie lovers were always curious to see him. He came into limelight in 1997 after performing a sterling role in a movie known as “Iru Esin.”
However, the star of Babasuwe began to wane in the past decade due to old age coupled with the emergence of Youngsters who are more dexterous in comedy and hilarious roles. It would be recalled that he was alleged of drug trafficking in 2011 by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) but was eventually freed because the allegation was unsubstantiated.
Olaniyi Afonja popularly known as Sanyeri is one of the raving comedians in the Yoruba movie industry. He is loved and acknowledged by many Nigerian Yoruba movie lovers due to his usual comic and hilarious role. There is no gainsaying that he is one of those that relegated Babasuwe from the entertainment scene and has been enjoying growing popularity in the last decade.
However, many people know little or nothing about the challenges that Sanyeri has faced since he began acting. It is unfortunate that many viewers do not know that his days in the Nollywood industry are as old as the industry itself. In other words, he started acting as far back as 1992 (28 years ago) but was not recognized until late 2013. In 2014, he was crowned as the Best Comedy Actor in the Yoruba Movie Academy Awards. In the same vein, he bagged the best Movie producer of the year coupled with Comic Actor of the Year in 2015 respectively.
As at present, he is one of those Yoruba actors that put a smile on the faces of viewers through comic words and actions.
Wale Akorede is another Yoruba actor and comedian par excellence. He is popularly known as Okunnu. He performs a comedian role without hindrance; exciting and thrilling viewers like other Yoruba comedians. There is no mincing word that Okunnu is humorous and naturally causes laughter with his infectious personality.
However, Okunnu is another actor that has long been in the Yoruba movie industry but was not fully known and celebrated until recently. He was acknowledged and awarded by the City People Movie Award as the best comic actor in 2016 and 2017 respectively. In the same vein, he is an ambassador of many organizations and brands. For now, he is one of the raving comedians that is succeeding Babasuwe.
Odunlade Adekola is a rare gem in the Yoruba movie industry. He is a versatile actor with multiple competencies; so diverse and round. He does not only perform a comedy role, but also an astute singer, filmmaker, producer, and director. His diversity has continued to endear him to many Yoruba movie viewers.
He is one of the most learned Actors with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the renowned University of Lagos. He has also bagged many awards to his credit. As a matter of fact, he is one of the youngest and charming comedians. Little wonder that many people chant his name alongside others thereby forgetting the age-long comedian, Babatunde.
It is all the more glaring that change is constant and nothing stays still. Life, they say, truly revolves and changes over time. This could be justified against the backdrop of the shift of Babasuwe from the popular comedy scene. Nevertheless, his legacy and moments of entertainment remain indelible to us and generations to come.