In an over crowded industry and stuffing edge of survival, Sanni Michael, known as MC Lively, who became known in 2017 as a creative comedian, has remained a fact of focus in the Nigerian entertainment industry.
Mc Lively makes comedy skits in a way that they address current topics in Nigeria.
In this exclusive interview with All Times News CONVERSATION, he reveals the secret of the uniqueness of his career as well as his turning point in the industry.
Conversation: Can we meet you?
MC LIVELY:My name is Sanni Michael (MC Lively). I am a professional comedian and also a lawyer by profession. I grew up in Ile-Ife, hail from Edo state and grew up in a family of seven. I had a tough childhood, my family didn’t have that much but it was fun to grow up in a family like that because putting great value on a lot of things was taught, for example, Christmas Jollof rice and fried fish. I grew up in a challenging and humble background.
I am a very lively and fun person to be around. Even though I studied law at Obafemi Awolowo University, I currently practice the art of making people happy. I graduated in 2015 and proceeded to the Nigeria Law School late 2015 and was called to the Nigeria Bar late 2016, about the time my comedy career kicked off.
Conversation: What was it like picking up the interest in comedy?
MC LIVELY: I picked up the interest in comedy when I was a kid. I wasn’t exactly sure I was going to be a comedian then until three years ago. But I always had great interest in comedy. I remember when I was a kid, I used to buy Night of a Thousand Laughs CDs, I used to buy every one available because I didn’t want to miss any single one of the shows and of course every foreign sitcom available then I was the first one to make sure I get the CD and watch. So, I had great interest in comedy Also, been that I am a lawyer and a very political person, that is why I do a lot of comedy skits that are social, quite political and commentaries about the way the country is and how people do things, etc.
Conversation: When was the Turning point in your Career?
MC LIVELY: The turning point in my career was sometimes in 2017 when I starting putting on my white shirt and black trousers, I realize before then I was doing some skits but didn’t go quite far because they didn’t reflect who I was enough so I started doing videos reflecting who I was, the person of MC Lively, Barrister Mike, who was a chronic Job seeker and who talks too much and that was when I had my major turning point.
Conversation: Most Memorable Moments?
MC LIVELY: My memorable moments are quite a few, I remember the first time I met Ali baba and he told me that he was proud of me even when he has never seen me before, it really made me happy. I also sometime after my first London show, when I got dm from the great Alibaba and he said that he was told that I performed very well, it made me blush continuously for almost two hours.
When I get accolades especially from senior colleagues, it makes me feel like we are on to something here, that I am not just a clown, makes me feel much more relevant than I think I was and of course, my counterparts, I have had quite a number of memorable moments I know myself and my friends Nedu, Bro Shaggi, JoshToFunny, had stage plays last year, we had in Lagos, Abuja, Port-Harcourt and they were great atmospheres.
Conversation: Any Low Moments?
MC LIVELY: Of course, there has been low moments. My low moment was at the beginning of the career and I discovered I could do this at my fourth year in school and I was almost done with school. I performed standup comedy at quite a number of event and it was very terrible and ten it was difficult picking myself back up and for about 5/6 months, I almost quit and a friend who was also a comedian gave me the “ginger” and told me to organize my own show, and that probably because I performed at other peoples’ shows that was why my performance was terrible. I organized my first show in 2015, “Live and Laugh” and it wasn’t just the regular standup comedy, there were other things involved.
There, I discovered that my style was different from others, it was a bit more of acting than comedy and from there I started grooming myself and instructing myself in getting better.
Conversation: What are your daily work routines?
MC LIVELY: My daily work routines, well I release three to four times a week. Been shooting from morning to late afternoons. Then several times, we have various tv interviews, various meeting with clients, probably go join a shoot with a friend. A lot of other things come in between the daily work routines.
Conversation: What have been your experiences and challenges?
MC LIVELY: I wouldn’t say I am that experienced yet because I started like three years ago. But I have had quite a number of experiences and challenges. The major challenge I have is the quest to stay relevant, be among the best and be the best the world has ever seen and that going to be a major challenge for life. If anyone wants to stay at the top of any industry or any career one is involved in, one has to stay dedicated everyday and that is the major challenge.
Also, the fact that the fans want to see videos every single day, it is quite a challenge because trying to come up with contents and concepts to drop for people isn’t easy but it has to me done (smiles).
If anyone wants to stay at the top of any industry or any career one is involved in, one has to stay dedicated everyday and that is the major challenge.MC Lively
Conversation: How do you manage Career, Family and Relationship?
MC LIVELY: It is always a difficult task. It is quite difficult to manage career because it is quite time and money consuming but virtually every career has it own perks and when you do the right thing at the right time, it helps to solve that problem and helps not to clash between relationship and family.
Conversation: How do you stay relevant in the industry?
MC LIVELY: My relevance with my counter parts is that I try as much as possible to have an open heart and a clear head towards everyone. I like to be friends with everyone, I don’t want to have enemies neither do I like scandal. I know they say that one can please anyone but I try as much as I can to please everyone. I guess that is why I’m friends with quite a number of few in my career lane and when it comes to the kind of content, I put out there I try to put out good content, not any type of content as well as, what people can relate with.
Conversation: You recently had the UK Tour, what was it like?
MC LIVELY: The recent UK Tour was quite a successful one, it helped me figure out that a lot more of people know about the brand. Even though we planned it within a month and despite that people still came out to support in London and other cities. It was quite fulfilling, I felt good and it helped my career go a step further.
I’m not planning any tour soon but there are a lot of package to give out to the fan, hopefully a sitcom
Conversation: Any Role Model?
MC LIVELY: For my professional role models, I have the likes of Frank Donga, Bovi, Basket mouth, Kevin Hart, Trevor Noah. I have always wanted to be the best and look at the best and seen how they have done it, then wanted to follow suit but not necessarily the same thing they have done but to do what they have done and do more.
My roles models have always been people I looked at and decide that I want to do what they have done and achieve what they have achieved. I don’t necessarily want to be like them because I can’t be like them, I can only be like myself but I want to be able to achieve what they have achieved and be able to get to the length they have gotten to.
I choose the best in the game and only the best.
I have always wanted to be the best and look at the best and seen how they have done it, then wanted to follow suit but not necessarily the same thing they have done but to do what they have done and do more.MC Lively
Conversation: Thoughts on Traditional Standup Comedy
MC LIVELY: I understand that the tradition standup comedy has been there for a very long time and in my opinion would always be there. However, when it comes to social media comedy, the way I see is that we are actors, especially for people who make videos or do comedy online. There is no big difference with what are been obtaining and what obtains now because there were people who were comedians and who were actors but didn’t do standup comedy, people like Nkem Owoh, Aki and Paw Paw, Mr Ibu, Mr Latin, Baba Suwe, Odunlade Adekola, etc. there are so many people who are comedians but don’t need to do traditional standup comedy and they are also people who do traditional standup and can still act.
Social media just bridged the gap and took acting to a new level. What we just do is we create very short stories so we are doing what the legends used to do but very short versions of it and we put them on the internet. And about the sustainability, so far there are people who are willingly to create content and as long as the movie industry is sustainable, there is nothing that makes the social media comedy to not be sustainable because it is about demand and supply. If people want to laugh, we just do what will make them laugh without having to leave their houses or comfort zones. They just have to pick their phones, search and laugh.
There isn’t any difference between what was happening then and now except there came a platform where people can upload their contents. It isn’t challenging the traditional standup comedy because there are people who can do the traditional standup comedy and cannot act, there are people that can act but cannot do the traditional standup comedy and there are people who can do both. People like Basket mouth, Bovi, AY started these social media skits in early 2011/2012.
Conversation: What is your advice for upcoming youngsters?
MC LIVELY:Time happens to every man, it happens to us according to our race in life, to win you must remain focused and committed to what drives you. Success may not happen as fast as you want it but will definitely it will happen to you if you reman on your tracklane .
Conversation: What is the secret of your rise and sustained influence in the industry?
MC LIVELY: My biggest asset is my creativity and commitment to partnerships. My secret is to continually remain creative and innovative in the industry.
Success may not happen as fast as you want it but will definitely it will happen to you if you reman on your tracklaneMC_lively