Some physically-challenged adults see barriers to their dreams; but this boy in his early teens, sees opportunities. Meet a new comedy wonder: Abednego Jacob.
It does not take much to recognise talent. Abegnego Jacob, a 13-year-old Basic Four pupil of the Pacelli School for the Blind in Surulere, Lagos, is a budding talent. While representing his school at a charity performance organised in honour of Tunde Alabi-Hundeyin (CEO of Dudu Productions) who turned 60 a few weeks ago, he unveiled an aspect of him that gives credence to the saying that, ‘some people can see without their eyes’.
Called up to the stage by Yemi Sodimu, the host at the event, the audience obviously never expected more from this child performer. But the moment he got hold of the microphone, he started reeling out jokes, most of them original, in a manner that had several artistes present bewildered.
Taking turns, he engaged Gbenga Adeyinka and Segun Arinze in a comic session that only confirmed that he is not new to the game. For instance, when he was alerted on the stage that Segun Arinze was approaching the podium to meet him, he mimicked his (Segun’s) deep baritone, portraying the character that earned Arinze his nickname, Black Arrow, in home videos.
Abednego is not yet a professional, but for an amateur he shows a lot of prospects. “I started this in 2008. I have friends in school and we would all sit together telling jokes. But each time I spoke, they would all laugh and from then on, they started asking me to join comedy since I could make people laugh. At first, I did not take it seriously until December 10, 2008, when I got the chance to perform on a real stage. That first experience was what opened me to the possibilities I have in me. I did it very well”.
Since he cannot physically see his audience, one would be tempted to wonder if Abednego knows what stage fright is. “I do not feel frightened. That is because what I want to say flows in me. It just runs in me and I say it out. The good thing is that I study my environment to know what to say; I listen to the radio and watch television too. So my ears help me to pick the things going on. Even at shows, I listen to pick comments I could create jokes from”.
While waiting to break into the big league, Abednego says he is contented with the several accolades that come his way whenever he performs. “I have not really started making money but I believe my time is coming. A few days ago, I took part in a comedy show, where they brought other upcoming comedians. At the end of that event, I was chosen as the ‘Best Comedian of the Year’. I have also been honoured at many other events. The truth is that when I perform, people see the potentials and encourage me to aspire to the top; that is exactly what I am doing”.
Getting to the top for him would, however, mean completing his studies first because according to him, that is one task his parents have assigned to him in order to pursue his talent in the creative industry. “Honestly, I thank God for my parents. They have been very supportive but they are worried about my education. Despite their encouragement, they want me to finish my schooling first. Whenever I am with them, they tell me about education and they need for me to have it completed”.
Another unique aspect of Abednego is his versatility in other area of art. “I do not do only comedy; I also sing and I do a little ‘emcee’. Sometimes, I try my hands on DJ jobs too. But ultimately, I want to be a producer. I know I would be happy producing and doing my comedy sketches in future”.
At most shows where Abednego has featured, he quickly opts to do ‘Limpopo’, the popular song by KC. Does that mean KC is his best music artiste? “I just love his song. But I love an array of other artistes too like Davido and Sheyi Shay; but my best rapper is Vector the Viper”.
Of course, he has a word of advice for visually-impaired children like him who believe they have something the world needs. “If you have something in you to showcase do not hide, come out and do it. Opportunity comes only to those willing to grab it”.
Abednego is right about opportunity coming to those willing to grab it. At the event, he was promised a voice-over contract by Dudu Productions’ boss in his next television commercials.