Grass to Grace Series (25): Sabinus’ rise from earning N10k per show to global sensation

 Grass to Grace Series (25): Sabinus’ rise from earning N10k per show to global sensation

Oga Sabinus is no strange name in the entertainment industry. One look at his face and your lungs start quaking from laughter.

Comedian, Emmanuel Chukwuemeka Ejekwu aka Mr. Funny has no intention to waste your time cause his investor moves filled with doom would make you holler in no distance time. His signature dress code: blue shirt holding a bulging stomach, black trousers, fake Nike shoes, and not properly done tie sufficiently does the job of cracking you up, let alone his gimmicks.

The rich and famous comedian and actor from Obiakpor local government area of Rivers state seems to have it all, but his life wasn’t all rosy in the beginning.

The Tough and Rough Start

Although the 29-year-old self-acclaimed Mayor of PH City has the substance to back up his name, the fame, however, didn’t come easy.

Recounting his days of little beginning, he notes that initially when he started as a standup comedian, he was paid nothing and later received as low as 10,000 for shows.

Sabinus couldn’t afford a good device to shoot his skits when he started, as he made use of an Infinix smartphone which made viewers complain of blurry videos. Having no one to guide him, he navigated the success route alone. His requests for assistance from top South-South celebrities were met with rejection and excommunication, yes, he got blocked, but that didn’t stop the young man who was as hungry as a lion for success.

Sabinus who wasn’t born with a silver spoon spoke of his determination to succeed in an interview.

He said, “I am not from a rich family and my dad doesn’t have a dime. There was no time my father had enough. But I always tell myself that since my dad doesn’t have, I will have. That is why I strive to be successful and to change my family narrative.”

How it all started

Mr Funny discovered his gift very early in life, being funny was inborn. It was his childhood dream to become a comedian, although he never saw it as an avenue to make money but to simply make people laugh.

He began exploring his comedy talent in 2015 while in university by engaging in stand-up comedy. His first attempt at that was at a departmental talent hunt, thanks to his coursemates who encouraged him, after which he decided to take comedy seriously.

He started growing his social media as that was a prerequisite for success among South-South comedians, starting by showing his acting skills through skits on Instagram after creating his character.

After graduating in 2017 from the University of Port Harcourt where he studied Linguistics and Communication studies, he remained in Port Harcourt which was so friendly to creatives like him, and in 2019, he moved to Lagos after growing a fan base in Port Harcourt.

Sabinus’ relocation to Lagos changed the trajectory of his career as he started getting the attention of top Instagram influencers who shared his skits. He speaks dearly of Davido’s involvement in his success story.

In an interview, he said, “You can’t stand beside me and say something negative about Davido. I won’t let you. Even my woman knows. We have a portrait of Davido in our living room. After over a decade of being an underground comedian, Davido was the first big artiste who showed me love.

“He shared a video of him watching my skits on his Instagram handle. I messaged him to express gratitude and he sent 2M Naira to get good equipment and start shooting high quality skits. God Bless him forever.”

Blogger, Tunde Ednut, Kraks TV, Yabaleft Online and others also started posting his videos on their pages which led to the growth of his fanbase in a no distant time.

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The content of his content 

The character Sabinus is never lucky, although trying so many means to succeed. Sabinus always thinks that has everything figured out but meets his doom all the time and makes signature funny faces when he meets his waterloo. The character has been likened to that of Mr Bean due to the minimal use of words but enormous use of expressions and body language.

Ejekwu in talking of his character said, “Sabinus is just that character nothing goes well for. He always does the wrong thing at the right time; things never favour him. He goes out for what he wants but it doesn’t work out. He faces drawbacks, yet, shows up where he’s not called for things he shouldn’t concern himself with. Creating the character Sabinus, I just sat down and thought to have a persona that would be unique in terms of whether or not you find something similar elsewhere.”

The character ‘Sabinus’ has however, taken over his stage name, Mr Funny, showing how his fans embraced it and how much impact it had on his career.

A success story that tingles the ears

Breakthrough indeed came for ‘Sabinus’ in 2019 after he left his not-so-comfortable comfort zone. He finally got “Something Hooge” after several failed “Investor” moves and has since become a sensation who’s now in the league of Taaoma, Kiekie, Mr. Macoroni and other top comedians. That Port Harcourt from a poor home, who was barely paid 10,000 now rakes in millions via social media, with tours in the Europe, collaborating with great comedians like Bright Okpocha (Basket Mouth) and others.

Sabinus has now added to comedy acting and has featured in several Nollywood movies, including Dead Serious, Sabinus the BestMan,  A Bag of Trouble, Home &Away, etc with the likes of Tobi Bakare, Nkem Owoh, Sharon Oja, Samuel Perry (Brother Shaggy) and others. He is an ambassador of so many brands including The Shawn Exchange, Omnibiz, etc.

Emmanuel Ejekwu has received several awards, including the Creative Social Media category award in 2021 from DENSA. Elite Nigerian Star Awards for Creative Social Comedian of the Year 2022 and Online Social Content Creators’ Award at AMVCA 8.

The boy who grew up in want has now changed his fate and that of his family forever.

The Ingredients of Ejekwu’s Success

Sabinus believes that hard work, consistency and most importantly, the God factor has brought him far. His name Mayor of PH city was from seeing himself as the most hardworking comedian from the South side. I don’t believe in the hype but works.

He revealed, “In a day, I could shoot up to like four to five times. That way, I get to achieve up to 20 skits a week. I stack them up that way because I travel a lot. I go for movie shoots and standup comedy shows. Instead of being choked up, I just have some videos I can post anytime.”

In a post on his Instastory, he wrote, “The name of Sabinus today is still relevant because of God Almighty. I no go forget when I kneel down promise God say I go give a plot of land to a church if in take my name to another level omo as I gave out that one plot of land Mehn it has been a story filled with glory. Am not a church goer but I challenged my papa for heaven and he answered my prayers and I did what I promised. Have you every tried to sow a seed to challenge the blessings of the lord? Try it today. God is real.”

Sabinus helps other upcoming artists fight their foot in the industry, as well as fans financially as a way of giving back to society.

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