Ali Baba, whose full name is Atunyota Alleluya Akpobome is a Nigerian Stand Up Comedian and Actor. He is the father of Nigerian comedy.
Ali Baba, stage name, was born in Warri, Delta State, on June 24, 1965 to the Royal Family of Agbarha Otor, Ughelli North Local Government Area. The first son after several girls. He spent the first 8 years of his life in Warri (Delta State, Nigeria). His father is a retired soldier who served in Lagos.
Ali Baba, perhaps due to his father’s professional background had his Primary and Command Secondary School both in Ojo, Lagos.
He furthered his education at Ibru College in Agbarha-Otor and then went on to the then Bendel State University now known as the Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma where he had a Bachelor’s degree in Religious Studies & Philosophy.
After acquiring a degree from the then Bendel State University, Ekpoma in 1990, he relocated to Lagos, having discovered his comic talent and funny bone in his 3rd Year in University.
Ali Baba, we learnt had planned to return to Ekpoma to read Law but that dream was abandoned, since he discovered he could make more money from making people laugh than defending them.
He began his professional career with corporate events, appearing on television shows with the likes of Patrick Doyle, Charly Boy and Danladi Bako. He also made cameo appearances on radio shows with Bisi Olatilo, Sani Irabor and Mani Onumonmu. He also worked briefly with Dapo Adelegan of DP Lekki Limited as executive assistant in 1991.
He had made up his mind that he was going to do everything to enhance himself, improve his skills and the service he offered However at the time there was hardly any precedent to follow because the funny men then were not into Stand-up comedy. Patrick Doyle, John Chukwu, Bisi Olatilo, Femi Segun, Femi Jarret, Leo Onwudi, Smart Otemu, Tony St. Iyke and many more were funny, very funny but did not do full-time comedy.
Through guts, sacrifice and creative dynamism, Ali Baba made for himself as a comedian for both corporate and non-corporate events. In less than 4 years, he had also become the preferred Master of Ceremony at some events.
We learnt that Ali Baba made the rules, broke them and sometimes even discarded them depending on how effective they were. These days no event is considered complete without a Comedian to MC that event.
In 1993, he registered his company Alibaba Hicuppuray 3rd and from then on his focus was on ensuring that the perception of comedians being never do wells changed and instead is seen as a profession that has come to stay and command respect in life.
In 1998, he hired billboards in strategic parts of Lagos Ozumba Mbadiwe Street, Victoria Island; Osborne Road, Ikoyi and the Marina paying for two years. The message was simple and one he has come to be known by Being Funny is Serious Business.
Ali Baba, has lived with the philosophy that his business is big enough for all who want to make their chosen profession. As such, he has supported, mentored and presented several comedians helping to ensure that standards are maintained and professionalism encouraged.
It is no longer strange to hear a comedian charge impressive fees for events. The industry, yes, the Comedy Industry though yet to be standardized, is growing fast and strong to the credit of the God Father of Comedy. In one of his recent appearance in Aliko Dangote’s daughter’s wedding, Ali Baba was asked how much he billed Dangote. His answer was that he has had a long standing relationship with Dangote and such would be pleased with whatever offered him.
He has been a professional stand up comedian for the past 30 years and has in the these years received several awards.
Alibaba’s Awards: They include the following
|2001||Laughter Awards – Baziks Theatre Abuja||Outstanding Performance|
|2002||Laughter Incorporated||Immense contribution to the comedy Industry|
|2003||Delta State University||Achievers Merit Award|
|2004||Pendulum Awards LASU National Association of Physics Student||Icon of Comedy|
|2004||1st Nigeria Entertainment Awards||Icon of Comedy|
|2005||National Comedy Award||Comedy Enterprise|
|2006||Eric’s Entertainment Inc||Recognition of his solid support to young entrepreneurs|
|2006||Lagos State University||Award of Excellence|
|2006||City People Entertainment||Invaluable contribution to the Entertainment Industry|
|2007||RCCG||Enablers Merit Award|
|2008||The News||For turning stand up comedy into a viable business|
|2008||Diamond Award for Comedy||For helping the growth & development of the Comedy Industry in Nigeria|
|2009||City People Entertainment||Invaluable contribution to the Entertainment Industry|
|2009||National Daily Award||Comedian of the decade|
|2010||Comedy for Change||In commemoration of his 20 years on stage|
He was inducted into the Johnnie Walker ‘Striding Man’ Society in 2009 which recognizes men who have achieved great strides in their chosen fields of endeavour and who share the strides they have taken to motivate and encourage others
In 2012, he was given the privilege of ringing the Year End Closing Bell of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, the first Nigerian comedian to do so.
He is also a Special Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Corps.
In March 2015, Alibaba was featured on CNN African voices, speaking about his goal to make Nigerian Comedy is trade worthy of mention in proper business realm.
In April 2018, Alibaba received the Paul Harris Fellowship by Rotary International for his contribution to the Nigerian Comedy industry
Alibaba is married to Mary-Bassey Udoh. They are blessed with five children Xsara, Brandi, a set of twin boys, Ejiro and Tejiri, and Valerie.
He is an avid reader and constantly seeks information. In one of the interviews granted AIT, Alibaba said people often ask or say that he is gradually leaving the comedian industry. In his words, he has not left nor planned to leave but that he is operating on a higher level with top class business moguls like Aliko Dangote, Otedolla, Adenuga and others where he could feature for like one hour and has a handsome fees.
Alibaba’s Net Worth
Alibaba’s net worth is well over $30 million dollars with mansions and other investments in Nigeria and beyond. Indeed, he is a successful comedian and father of Nigerian comedy.