Nigerian comic Tee-A, whose full name is Tunde Adewale, hosts the popular show “Tymeout with Tee-A.” Tee-A has made a name for himself as a clean, corporate-friendly comedian, but he is also an entrepreneur, with several lucrative businesses such as event planning. Here are 13 things you didn’t know about Nigerian comedian Tee-A.
Tee-A was the first Nigerian comedian to sell out a one-man standup comedy show with “Tee-A, Live ‘n Naked.” He was also the first Nigerian comedian to perform at the Hackney Empire Theatre in London in 2001, and the first Nigerian comedian to record a comedy album.
Tee-A told PmNewsNigeria he first realized he could make people laugh when he was on his secondary school’s Literary and Debating Society. Tee-A was always called on when it was time to create riddles for the group. In college he went on to “mimic lecturers and people would laugh.” He didn’t set out with the clear view of becoming a comedian.
Nigerian comedian Ali Baba (pictured here) brought Tee-A into the comedy game. Ali Baba would bring Tee-A to shows, and eventually got him some paid stage time. Tee-A said that Ali Baba inspired him to read a lot to get ideas for material. Ali Baba has done professional standup for more than 22 years and won the National Comedy Award, the Comedy for Change Award and the first Nigeria Entertainment Award to name a few.
Tee-A described himself as “mischievous” as a kid to PmNewsNigeria.com, saying many of his early forms of humor could “hurt somebody in the end. Things like removing chairs from somebody who wants to sit on it…pouring water on somebody’s chair and everybody feels the person has urinated on his clothes.”
Tee-A said in a PmNewsNigeria.com interview that he no longer finds doing live standup challenging and that he stopped “appearing on the comedy circuit about five years ago.” He is focusing more now on hosting TV shows. He said “TV was more mentally stimulating for me and I went for it.”
Tee-A told PmNewsNigeria his Christian background trained him not to look down on anybody. His grandmother, who was actually the headmistress of his school as a child, told him, “…don’t…be abusing people under the guise of comedy.” Tee-A said he only makes jokes about people he has personal relationships with.
Tee-A tweets regularly about soccer matches. In fact, he tends to live tweet games so if you ever want to get into a Twitter spar with him, you probably could. On March 9 he tweeted about English Premier League Arsenal, “Its a superstory”@biolakazeem: Congrats Arsenal. United were never gonna beat you guys forever. The occasional rare win must happen. Enjoy.”
Tee-A auditioned for Season 5 of “Nigerian Idol” in 2015. He posted to Twitter on March 8 of 2015 “The hustle is legit when you travel from Port Harcourt to Ibadan just for Nigerian Idol audition. #Passion #dedication and #Selfbelief.”
Tee-A told TheYesNg.com that his favorite thing about being a comedian is “to know that you are in control of people’s emotions for a specific time frame.” And within that time frame, he hopes to do, “…that which edifies people rather than bring people down.”
Tee-A said nothing about comedy specifically bothers him, but rather stardom. He told TheYesNg.com that, “There are times you are definitely not in the mood for any attention, you just want to chill on your own, in your own little corner, you wish nobody recognizes you.”
When asked by TheYesNg.com who he respects in comedy, Tee-A said he has respect for everyone at every level of the craft but specifically Ali (Baba). “You talk about people like Basketmouth, you talk about Julius (Agwu), you talk about Okey (Bakassi), Basorge (Tariah), Teju (Babyface), those are men who have done standup comedy, they’ve veered into something else, into another aspect of comedy. Even AY. They’ve done stand up, they’ve done concert, they’ve done TV, they’ve pushed the boundaries beyond just being stand up.”
When asked what inspired his show, “Tyme Out With Tee-A” the comedian told TheYesNg.com he’s a huge fan of Saturday Night Live and he thought, “there’s nothing that stops us from having our own Saturday Night Live.”
In addition to being a comedian, Tee-A is the founder of First Class Entertainment, a talent agency that focuses on booking corporate events, casinos, resorts and cruise ships. Tee-A is also a restauranteur and founder of production company First Class Screens.