Wednesday, September 02, 2020

The Motivation Behind My Skits Is My Father---Comedian Young Elder


Efosa Orobosa Japhet popularly known by his stage name “young elder” is an indigene of Edo State, Nigeria who though being young and a graduate of Electrical and Electronics Engineering from the University of Benin (UNIBEN) prefers to play the character of an elder in most of his comedy and plays. In this interview as Toplflyrs Magazine International’s Entertainer of the Month (September, 2020), he narrates how he got the name “young elder”, his motivation for skits as well as his aspirations and hiccups in the entertainment industry.




Tell us about yourself

My name is Efosa Orobosa Japhet. I go by the nickname “Young Elder” which is what most people know and address me by. I am a comedian, actor, content creator, influencer and brand ambassador. I hail from the heartbeat of the nation, Edo state. I graduated in 2012 from the great University Of Benin where I studied Electrical and Electronics Engineering (Elect-elect).

How did you come about the name “Young Elder”?

Well, young elder was birthed as a result of a stage play I was involved in. I started as a child actor, taking part in plays in my primary, secondary and even tertiary days. I am also an active member of my church’s drama group. You can say acting is my life. During one of our rehearsals, I was picked to play the role of an old man which came easily for me. I have a gift for mimicry and I spent a long time with my late father who was also cantankerous and often funny. In fact, the whole young elder persona is built on my father’s character. I did so well that people took to calling me “elder” and since it became really popular, I adopted the name to young elder and the rest is history.

How was your growing up like?

My childhood was fun. I grew up in a polygamous home, and I learned early in life to be content and make do with whatever I had. I wasn’t born with a silver spoon. My mother was and still is a pillar for me and my siblings. My father played his part too as much as he could. Those days people wanted as many children as possible because they wanted enough hands to work in the farm. Going to school wasn’t really my cup of tea those days but thankfully, we were forced by our parents. I attended a “garri school” (laughs).

What is the inspiration behind your comedy skits? Is it something you are passionate about or a "side hustle" (as they say)?

Ahh, it is my passion! (Laughs). I absolutely love being Young Elder. I don’t have any other job, this is my main hustle (occupation). This whole venture started out as a passion. Those days, I would trek to shows and trek back home without having received even bottled water for my efforts. I would go to birthdays uninvited to play my craft. I will wow people with mimicry and make them laugh. The motivation behind my skits is my father. Like I mentioned before, my father was strict, straight forward, traditional, witty and very out spoken. So I basically look at the ills of society and imagine what he would have said; which always ends up being funny and truthful at the same time.

How has the business of comedy been so far?

Well, typically, it has been full of ups and downs. I mean what business doesn’t experience such these days? But in everything, I am grateful to God. Comedy is currently experiencing a flooding of sorts due to lack of gainful employment and you need to be exceptional in order to stand out. I am unbothered about the crowd though, I always say it is their availability that make me scarce and sought after. So far, God has been faithful.

 When did you start doing comedy and apart from comedy, what other things do you do?

 I cannot really say. Like I noted earlier, I started acting from a young age. Comedy is basically acting or speaking in a way that makes people laugh so it is safe to say, I have been a comedian for as long as I can remember. I don tay, I don see many Christmas. Apart from Comedy, I am an MC (Master of Ceremony), brand ambassador, content creator and social media influencer.

 In your comedy skits, you play the role of an old man, and you do it so well. Do you intend to change the character you play anytime soon?

Currently, the character of Young Elder is what I am running with. However, as a creative, it is dangerous and limiting to put yourself in a box. So, I guess we will see in the nearest future; maybe something else will come up. But for now, I don’t think so.

 What would you say has been your challenge(s) in the entertainment industry in Nigeria?

Challenges? They are many. Lack of funding, lack of suitable equipment, lack of infrastructure and lack of encouraging government policies which is ironic, seeing as entertainment is one of the largest exports the country has after oil.

 Do you have role models in the entertainment industry and who do you look forward to working with sooner or later?

 Well, I have always admired Tyler Perry; you know, Madea. He is an inspiration. He is also very funny and creative. Also, the late Sam Loco is also one of my top inspirations. I look forward to working with Taaoma and Williams Uchemba, two very creative people and lest I forget, Charles Inojie; an icon in the industry who have been a huge support to me and countless others. I also look up to AY, RMD and many others I can’t mention right now.

Currently, COVID-19 pandemic is ravaging the whole world’s economy, do you see this ending soon and what is the way forward in line with your comedy skits?

My father always said, “Every rain wey dey fall dey finish eventually”. I believe sooner or later, this pandemic will come to an end. Of course the pandemic has affected our means of livelihood; with the banning of public gatherings, we are unable to attend wedding receptions and shows. Also, the cost of goods and services have also sky-rocketed due to the COVID-19 scare. However, I try to adapt as much as possible by focusing on monetizing my social media content in order to keep my fans entertained and to ensure I still get paid in these trying times.

What do social media mean to you?

Social media is everything to me right now. If not for social media, I won’t be as popular as I am. Social media announced me not just nationally but internationally also. It also made me more accessible to fans both in and out of the country.

Where do you hope to be in the next five years?

In the next 5 years I see myself touring the nations of the worlds, spreading joy and laughter. I also plan to open an academy to train comedians and actors to ensure the coming generation hits the ground running and the present quality is not lost in transition. I am pleased to announce that plans are already in motion to make both goals a reality.

How can your fans reach out to you?

My fans can contact me on my social media handles. I am on Instagram, Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp and of course, via email. You can search for YOUNG ELDER GCFR on all social media platforms.

How do you unwind?

I unwind by hanging out with my friends and colleagues. We sometimes come together to play games and to laugh and discuss about pertinent issues. I also stay at home sometimes to just reflect and brainstorm. I enjoy playing video games and surfing the internet for news and new material I can use for skits.

What’s your favorite meal, colour, movie and music?

My favorite meal is rice in all its forms, shapes and colors. Jollof rice has my heart. In the absence of rice however, pounded yam comes next, with egusi soup coupled with “bible shaki” and “sexy kpomo” (laughs). My favorite color is black; I am black and proud of it! My favorite movie is a Tyler Perry series named “House of Payne”. I love Rap music, high life and gospel.

A game, just for fun: If you were given the sole power to Award just 3 people who have worked with you or supported you so far. Who would they be?

Haaa! First on the list is “Funny P” a.k.a Angel wey dey bleach. He is the CEO of Home of Lafta and has been a Godsent in my journey as a comedian. Next on the list are “the Winlos”; Pastors Ohis and Anwuli Ojiekere. They are always standing as a reminder for me never to forget who my source is and where I am coming from and to always be appreciative. The third person will definitely be my Mom. She has been a pillar in the good and in the bad times, and my prayer has always been to make enough money to spoil her. I have just three slots, but let me cheat and give a special shout out to Sarah from Georgia. She knows why. God will reward you bountifully and remember you still owe me that phone. I never forget.

Kiss and Date a celebrity: Which personality best fits this description for you?

Tyler Perry, but if he no gree fall for me, Charles Inojie.

Can you Freestyle some of your catch phrases in your comedy for readers (national or international) to get familiar with?

Freestyle? Koyoh! Doh, my dear! Sorrow! (Laughs)

Who would you like to give a special shout out to?

My special shout out goes to my mother, my rock, and the super woman for me and all her children. Also, I would give a special shout out to my team, Home of Lafta and the Winlos club. I also give a special shout out to all the entertainers out there putting Edo state back on the map; they are too numerous to mention. God will cause all you do to prosper.

Young Elder

What is your message to your fans out there and how would they catch up with your updates peradventure they want to collaborate with you?

I will like to say a big “thank you” to all my fans. Without you, the brand is nothing. Without your support and encouragement, we would be nowhere, so thank you. The fans are also the reason we strive to do better. You haven’t seen anything yet. Currently, we are working on starting a production focusing solely on Young Elder and we welcome donations, sponsorships and of course, your prayers.

 How do you feel being featured in Topflyers Magazine as Entertainer of the Month of September, 2020?

I feel very honored and privileged for this opportunity to feature in this prestigious publication. Entertainer of the month is no easy award to give especially with the number of entertainers out there putting out really good content. I don’t take this opportunity for granted and I look forward to bigger things for both myself and the magazine. Thank you and God bless!



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