In the Instagram world of comedy and memes, Agba (@oli_ekun) might not be the most popular, but he is on a steady ascent.
His impression of an educated, middle-class and middle-aged Yoruba Ibadan man who has had a stint in the West, is one of the most delightful things to a Yoruba speaker.
At every instance of his act, Agba is poised on a serenade. His gift of the garb is aimed at dazzling a sexual interest. His promise, with a brisk lick of lips, is toe-curling orgasms, vacation in exotic locales, and a shitload of dash money.
This tendency is obviously Yoruba Nollywood, but it is improved. Those who remember the squat and portly Chief Kanran will note that his MO was clearly more about his posture than brag. Lekkinson was closer to what Agba does. The light-skinned straight-face talker knew exotic places by heart and droppped them effortlessly, giving the impression of a well-travelled and knowledgeable man whose company will be a tragedy to lose.
Agba takes it further by digging deeper into the rather perverse nature of sexual desires. There is Freaky Nikky whose jolt is BDSM. There are transgender persons on the much vaunted queue. Yet there is Mrs Coker of Blessed Memory, who taught Agba salient aspects about exercising on the bed.
In the Instagram world of Nedu Wazobia, Omo Iya Ibadan, Lasisi Elenu, Arole, Woli Agba and so forth, originality is what piques the interest of fans but constant reinvention is what keeps you relevant.
In this brief interview, Dami Ajayi, a huge fan of Agba, made the mental trip to the city of Ibadan via technology to catch up with Tobby Olubiyi, the man behind the impression.
Dami Ajayi (DA): Why the name, Agba?
Tobby Olubiyi (TO):The name “Àgbà” is the short form of “Àgbàlagbà”. It means an elderly person. My friends and I call each other that so it just stuck.
DA: How did you come about that impression?
TO: That’s the way I am. I’m not acting or anything. That’s just me. There was a challenge on Twitter where we were asked to record ourselves saying “How do you know her eyes are hazel”. I recorded mine but I decided to flirt with the woman that created the post, it was a minute long and it caught people’s attention. They really loved it.
DA: As a rider to that question, were you influenced by Yoruba Nollywood or living in Ibadan?
TO: Yes I was influenced by both. You pick up a few things here and there. My Yoruba used to be terrible back then but Yoruba Nollywood fixed that. Living in Ibadan has done more though. I usually hang out with my father and his friends at the club. I observe a lot. It’s so fun.
DA: How does your impression speak to sexual hypocrisy within our culture?
TO: In our culture, talking about sexual topics so openly is met with serious criticism but it shouldn’t be that serious because it’s something we all engage in and there’s nothing to be hypocritical about. Also, as an entertainer it’s my job to always bring out the funny in every situation and to be honest, sex comedy is fantastic. I’m not saying it to be crass,I’m saying it because it’s funny.
DA: How does your work speak to sexual otherness?
TO: Everybody has a right to be whoever or whatever they want to be as long as it makes them happy. I’m a very positive person and I know what happiness means so it would be unfair to put anyone down or judge them because of their sexuality.
DA: What are you views about homosexuality?
TO: I really don’t have any views. This is 2019, Love wins. Everyone should understand that.
DA: When did you discover you could tickle people’s funny bones?
TO: Since I was in JSS 1. I noticed I loved making people laugh and it made me really feel good that I could trigger such an emotion from another person. It’s such a great feeling.
DA: How did you come about the signature, Konibaje baby
TO: It was from that Twitter challenge. It was just a random statement I made and that’s what people kept typing in the comments section. I didn’t know I had coined something that would become popular.
DA: Do you see a relationship between your humour and a kind of activism?
TO: Yes I do. Comedy is flexible. You can talk about anything as long as you’re brilliant enough to. It’ll make the audience laugh and at the same time, reflect on the seriousness of your message. Comedy and activism go hand in hand if you know what you’re doing and I know what I am doing.
DA: You are also a rapper and singer? Which came first?
TO: All these things are just natural for me. One didn’t precede the other. I’m just a man of the arts.
DA: Give a list of your other talents
TO: I’m a fine artist. I play numerous instruments. I also write.
DA: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
TO: I never saw myself doing comedy nor did I see comedy doing so much for me right now. A lot has really changed for me in just three months. I planned a future for music until comedy surfaced so from what I’ve seen, in the next ten years, I will most definitely be a global entertainer doing comedy and music. I also see myself living in England and traveling in and out of different countries as an entertainment guru. I will definitely achieve this.