Friday, April 4, 2014


Nowadays, I just sit back, smile and wonder what the yardsticks for measuring greatness/success are. Is it popularity? Or do you judge someone’s greatness by how many events he gets invited to? Are there people who think your greatness or success is a direct result of what you have been able to create? Is it how many years you have spent doing what you know how to do best? Or could it just be how much noise you have been able to make? Maybe it’s about the number of people who want to be your friend. Definitely not the amount of enemies.

Some will even argue that it should be how much impact you have been able to create and the level of influence you wield. I have a few friends who will say, if the influence has not reached their side, it doesn’t count.

Is it cars, clothes, houses, wristwatches, children, exotic wines and spirits, the number of male or female companionship? The number of mentions in the newspapers or the frequency of references that are made of you, in positive corridors and discussions?

I personally think, as a society, we have mixed up and messed up our yardsticks for measuring greatness. We have so departed from these true yardsticks that we now let anything be used as measurement. It’s no more integrity. We have done away with education. Decency and courtesy have taken the back sit. Even our dress sense have gone to the dogs, the more you show the more hip and hype you are and get. Stealing and coveting is now accepted. No one wants to work. They just believe they can reap from where they did not sow.

Sadly, all of these have been nursed and nurtured by our combined laziness, that allows us accept without asking why, how, when, who, whose, whom, where, Whattttt?!!! We just flow along.

Many times I have been asked by many, if I had quit comedy or being an MC. I often ask, depending on my mood, why the person asking thinks I have. And the answer I always get is, I don’t see you on stage anymore. I usually follow up with, which stages have you not seen me on. The reply I get is always, these shows that they organize every now and then. Or some even say things like, I have been to some events lately and you were not there.

My reply to the above is usually, do you expect to see the Bank MD receiving money as a teller in most branches of the bank you enter to show that he is still a banker? Or do you need to see the Inspector General of police at a checkpoint to be convinced he is still in the police force?

Some even go a bit on the defensive and say something like, but we are not hearing your jokes again. Really? Bob Marley is no more, but every now and then, you hear his songs. Same here. You don’t hear me tell jokes but YOU HEAR MY JOKES, NEARLY ALWAYS. Not from me but they are out there. Remixed, refurbished and relocated. The characters may be changed to hide originality but it’s there.

Case in point, is the joke of the dog in the back of a car that the police entered was an Alsatian, Hector, and it was a police man at the Maroko market hold up by where you presently have the traffic light by Oriental Hotel. It’s going viral now after all the remix. That was a joke of 1998.

There is no need to mention several Akpos jokes. Or the jokes that have been put on CDs and sold and bought and listened to and… Passed on like they were original ideas of the person who put them on tape. That’s a different matter entirely.

So I ask again, what are the yardsticks for success and greatness? You will recall a certain GUINNESS advert that says THAT'S GREATNESS. To me, looking around and seeing ME, in the success of many people’s success, that’s greatness.

And to answer the question of where have I been and why I am not on the regular circuit, like the other hard working comedians and MCs that you see always, I am where they are working hard to get to. Where you work for less to earn more. THAT'S GREATNESS.

Ali Baba


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