He is an all-round entertainer, a media consultant, a stand-up comedian, a thespian and a film maker with lots of accolades to his name. Apart from being one of the judges of Airtel’s Nigeria’s Got Talent Reality show, the brain behind the widely accepted Rivers state yearly carnival “CARNIRIV; Yibo Koko was one time Head of Productions: Africa Magic Mnet West Africa’ which puts him in a very busy schedule everyday. So after waiting for a couple of months to get one of the most creative men in the entertainment industry, the ever super-excited stand up comedian cum film maker Yibo Koko to grant me an interview; he finally woke up one morning and said “sorry i haven’t had the time for your interview, its hard to get me down; i do a lot of things especially now that i am shooting my new movie. I work better when its recorded but let’s see how this goes. So here is an exclusive interview granted Chiazor Daniel of Glamsquadmagazine by Yibo Koko in which he talks about his recent film project, his background in film and his various achievements in the industry.
So what was growing up like for you, did you always know you would one day end up in stand-up comedy or film making?
(Smiles) I was born in Port-Harcourt City in Rivers State Nigeria. Growing up was quite an interesting experience for me. I grew up in the riverine community of Port-Harcourt with a strong passion for the art. But firstly, envisaging and understanding the impact of technology and the future in the creative industry with the foray into film and media arts, I saw a need to reinvent and re-position myself to remain relevant and effective. That took me back to film school.
You have a strong background in theatre and stand-up comedy in which you built your brand. Tell me about your background in film?
In 2006, I trained in Film Making at the New York Film Academy at St Catharine’s College Oxford University and subsequently advanced my Film Making career at the Universal Studios Hollywood California in 2007. My thesis Film: “A Clean Woman” (35mm, Screened at Warner Bros Studio) was adjudged the Best Film September A 2006 Film Makers.
During the Governor Rotimi Amaechi Administration, you held a position at the ministry of arts and commerce. With this experience, would you consider going into politics someday?
On the home front, in November 2008 i served as ‘Creative Consultant to the Rivers State Ministry of Culture and Tourism’. As Creative Consultant, i developed creative contents and implemented the concept for CARNIRIV 2008. The responsibility included but was not limited to technical support, budget preparation and strategy development.
I also served as ‘Concept Designer for Movement/Choreography/Carnival Float’ for Rivers State contingents at the Abuja Carnival-Winner Overall Best 2008 and 2009 Abuja Carnival. Well for going into Politics, I don’t really see that coming anytime soon.
You were head of Operations at Africa Magic for just 8 months and then you voluntarily resigned; what could have led to this decision?
Well, despite my short term as Head of production, my wealth of experience had a great impact on the quality of programs and programming. Upon my resignation I became a Production Consultant: Africa Magic Mnet West Africa. On leaving Africa Magic, I had to canalize my energies on broad based consultancy in the creative industry for media organizations, media entrepreneurs and private investors.
Now away from movies, let’s talk about family relationships. Despite your tight production schedules; how do you manage family time and work time?
There’s always a work time and a family time, I try as much as possible not to let both clash.
You married a very beautiful woman; did you always know that you could win her heart?
Now before we talk about your new film project, a lot of people say you are leaving stand-up comedy for film making; what do you have to say about this?
Am still doing comedy, both in film as a film maker and stand up.
Your first comedy movie was a huge success in which has led to another big project in which has a star studded cast like Nse Ikpe Etim, Gideon Okeke, Femi Jacobs and a host of others. Tell me more about this new movie?
“Three Tramps and The Law” is an amazing project which is being propelled to serve as a prelude to a bigger project to follow suit titled “The Rising – Son” by the late Amaka Igwe. The team and I are excited about this project.
Who is Yibo Koko away from the public scene, how do you spend your free time?
I love to play games like table tennis, spend time with family or maybe go on a street walk with my dogs. Basically I try to do stuffs that keep me 100 perfect happy.
What are your favorite quotes?
Without art the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable.