Happy Birthday to the Grandmaster of Nigerian Comedy Industry, Alibaba

by Duchess Magazine

Atunyota Alleluya Akpobome, popularly known as Ali Baba is a Nigerian stand-up comedian, master of ceremonies, and actor.

The royal family of Agbarha Otor welcomed Ali Baba into the world on June 24, 1965 in Warri, Delta State, Nigeria. His father is a former soldier from Lagos.

He graduated from Bendel State University (now Ambrose Alli University), Ekpoma with a degree in Religious Studies & Philosophy after attending Command Secondary School, Ipaja, Lagos, and Ibru College, Agbarha-Otor, Delta.

After earning his academic degree in 1990, he moved back to Lagos to pursue the comedic skill he had discovered in university. Although he had originally intended to study law, he changed his mind and realised that he would be more successful by making people laugh.

At first, he worked as a corporate entertainer, made cameo appearances on radio shows with Bisi Olatilo, Sani Irabor, and Mani Onumonmu, and performed on television with Patrick Doyle, Charly Boy, and Danladi Bako. As an executive assistant for DP Lekki Limited in 1991, he also assisted Prince Adedapo Benjamin Adelegan.

A yearly comedy show named the 1 January concert was first held in 2014 by Ali Baba. During the comedians’ recap of the previous year’s events, a first-class graduate from the year before is given an award.

He founded Spontaneity, a quarterly gathering for aspiring comedians, in 2015. In the 2016 competition, Woli Arole was among the finalists.

According to Ali Baba, his company is successful enough for everyone who wants to pursue a career in comedy. In order to ensure that standards are upheld and professionalism is promoted, he sponsors, coaches, and presents a number of comedians.

In 2009, Ali Baba was admitted into the Johnnie Walker “Striding Man” Society, which honours men who have made outstanding progress in their respective fields and inspire and uplift others.

He was the first comedian from Nigeria to ring the Year End Closing Bell of the Nigerian Stock Exchange in 2012.

He is a Special Marshal for the Federal Road Safety Corps.

Ali Baba enjoys painting and reading a lot. He is married to Mary Akpobome and their union is blessed with amazing children.

Recognisions and Awards

Ali Baba was interviewed by CNN African Voices in March 2015 when he discussed his desire to elevate and mainstream Nigerian comedians.

For his contributions to the Nigerian comedy business, Ali Baba was awarded the Paul Harris Fellowship by Rotary International in April 2018.

2001Laughter Awards – Baziks Theatre AbujaOutstanding Performance
2002Laughter IncorporatedImmense contribution to the comedy Industry
2003Delta State UniversityAchievers Merit Award
2004Pendulum Awards LASU National Association of Physics StudentIcon of Comedy
20041st Nigeria Entertainment AwardsIcon of Comedy
2005National Comedy AwardComedy Enterprise
2006Eric’s Entertainment IncRecognition of his solid support to young entrepreneurs
2006Lagos State UniversityAward of Excellence
2006City People EntertainmentInvaluable contribution to the Entertainment Industry
2007RCCGEnablers Merit Award
2008The NewsFor turning stand up comedy into a viable business
2008Diamond Award for ComedyFor helping the growth & development of the Comedy Industry in Nigeria
2009City People EntertainmentInvaluable contribution to the Entertainment Industry
2009National Daily AwardComedian of the decade
2010Comedy for ChangeIn commemoration of his 20 years on stage

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