The Nigerian comedian, presenter, MC, TV host and actor called Basketmouth, is popularly considered a driving force in the country’s stand-up comedy industry. In this biography about Basketmouth, you will get to know important details concerning him.
For example, you will find out the real name of Basketmouth as well as details from his childhood and education. We will also chronicle how he started his career in comedy and made it big to become one of the most sought-after comedians in Nigeria and other parts of the world as well.
To start, let us first summarise the most important facts about Basketmouth that everyone should know. See them in the section below.
10 important facts about Basketmouth
- Basketmouth was born on 14th September 1978. His real name is Bright Okpocha, he will be 42 years old in 2020.
- Bright Okpocha, popularly known as Basketmouth, is from Abia State, a South Eastern state in Nigeria.
- He graduated from the University of Benin (UNIBEN) with a degree in sociology and anthropology.
- In 1994, when Basketmouth was 16 years old, he and his friends formed a rapping group named “Da Psychophats”.
- Basketmouth began his journey into the comedy business while he was at the university around 2000.
- He and Bayo Adekeye put together shows on campus and promoted artistes like Plantation Boiz, Remedies and others. They also organised Laff n Jamz in 2001, which featured celebrities like Ali Baba, Paul Play, Teju Babyface, Mandy, Mr Patrick and others.
- Basketmouth’s big break came when he performed at the 2005 edition of Nite of A Thousand Laughs.
- Around 2006, Basketmouth started a comedy TV show titled, My Flatmates with popular OAP Steve Onu, who uses the moniker, Yaw and actor Kayode Peters.
- Bright Okpocha, popularly known as Basketmouth, married his wife, Elsie Okpocha, on 6th November 2010. They have two children, Jason and Janelle Okpocha.
- He won the Savanna Comics’ Choice Awards in 2017, an award that recognises African comedy talents.
Basketmouth Biography: Early life
Basketmouth was born on 14th September 1978; his real name is Bright Okpocha. While Basketmouth was born and brought up in Lagos State, his family is originally from Abia State, a South Eastern region in Nigeria.
He started his primary school education in Apapa, Lagos State and went on to complete his secondary school studies in the state. From childhood, Okpocha had developed an interest in entertainment. He could play the drum. He even tried charting a path in the music industry at an early age as we will see in the next section.
However, it is important to mention that after completing his secondary, he got admission into the University of Benin (UNIBEN) and graduated with a degree in sociology and anthropology.
Basketmouth Biography: Career (Before comedy)
In 1994, when Basketmouth was likely no more than 16 years old, he and his friends formed a rapping group named “Da Psychophats”. The group had seven members and they performed at events and concerts in 1995.
Da Psychophats eventually broke up before they could release any song. Not giving up, Basketmouth was soon part of another rap group called “Da Oddz”, the group also included his brother, Godwin, and Muyiwa Osunrobi.
This group also broke up again after they could not get a tangible following for their kind of music. Around this time, Basketmouth started to gradually make a name for himself through comedy.
But how did Bright Okpocha, popularly known as Basketmouth transition to comedy?
Basketmouth Biography: Stand-up comedy career (2000 – 2005)
As the celebrity himself revealed in an interview in 2019, he said he had always liked to make people laugh. Comic American actor Eddie Murphy was one of his earliest influences. Meanwhile, he admitted that he had not even known that Murphy was also a stand-up comedian when he was not acting in films.
According to Basketmouth, his journey in the comedy business began while he was at the university around 2000. After he realised that he was funny and could make people laugh, he started doing it for free. He said that he just liked the feeling of being able to make his listeners laugh.
But he soon got to know that he could make money off of it when his friend suggested that he should charge people to attend his shows at the university back then. Slowly, he began building his confidence from those early shows in UNIBEN.
Then, he and his friend Bayo Adekeye started putting together shows on campus and promoted artistes like Plantation Boiz, Remedies and others. They also organised Laff n Jamz in 2001 which featured celebrities like Ali Baba, Paul Play, Teju Babyface, Mandy, Mr Patrick and others.
Ali Baba allegedly brought Basketmouth to Lagos, and he was running some gigs and shows before he finally hit a major break.
Basketmouth’s big break came when he performed at one of Nigeria’s biggest comedy shows of the early 2000s, Nite of A Thousand Laughs. The comedian stole the highlights at the 2005 edition of Nite of a Thousand Laughs by Opa Williams. Here is a throwback video of the show’s volume 16.
Immediately after eliciting uncontrollable laughter from the audience, Basketmouth became the name on everyone’s lips when it came to comedy. That year and the following one, he bagged major comedy awards. See a list of Basketmouth awards at the end of this article.
2005 till date
After this early start, Basketmouth returned to several other editions of Nite of A Thousand Laughs to crack ribs with witty jokes. He also started to feature at other comedy shows and even corporate events as well.
According to an online profile, he began his own one-man stand-up comedy show in 2006 named Basketmouth Uncensored. That same year, he also started a consulting/event & artist management company called Barons World Entertainment.
In 2008, he hosted the Hip-Hop World Awards (now known as The Headies) with Dakore Egbuson-Akande. He hosted the first edition of Lord of the Ribs in 2010 at the 5000-seater Expo Centre of the Eko Hotel and Suites, Lagos. Big brands like Coca-Cola sponsored the event which featured many comedians and musicians from Nigeria, South Africa, the US and Britain.
The comedian and popular OAP Toolz hosted the 2012 edition of FAB Magazine Fashion Night. He hosted the Nigerian Kings of Comedy show in Manchester, UK, that same year.
Basketmouth hosted the 2013 edition of the Nigeria Entertainment Awards and Nollywood Movies Awards. He also became the first Nigerian to host a comedy gig on Comedy Central, a popular South African comedy channel.
In 2014, Basketmouth and Toke Makinwa co-hosted The Headies Awards. He and Uganda’s comedienne and actress, Anne Kansiime, co-hosted 2015 African Muzik Magazine Awards (AFRIMMA). In 2016, Basketmouth hosted Soundcity MVP Awards.
He, Idris Elba and Trevor Noah were in contention to host the 2016 MTV Africa Music Awards (MAMA) but he lost the spot to Noah. In 2017, Basketmouth, whose real name is Bright Okpocha, won the Savanna Comics’ Choice Awards held in South Africa.
He was nominated for the award again in 2018 but failed to win it the second time.
Basketmouth hosted the comedy festival themed Lord of the Ribs in 2018 in Enugu State. It featured comedians such as Capone, JJ Williams, Kevin J, Alfred King, Salvador, Buchi, Okey Bakassi, I Go Save, Senator, and Dan D Humorous.
He repeated the festival in 2019 at the same location and it turned out to be a success as there was more turnout than the previous year. To show that Basketmouth is a dynamic comedian, his art extends beyond stand-up performances.
Basketmouth Biography: TV and skits comedy
Around 2006, Basketmouth started a comedy TV show titled My Flatmates, with popular OAP Steve Onu, who uses the moniker Yaw, and actor Kayode Peters. The comedy show was a testament that Basketmouth could also deliver effortlessly on screen as he could on stage.
Basketmouth had mentioned that while he had conceived of the idea, they could not afford a proper camera or even a location. Thus, they were shooting the scenes at his flat.
The original My Flatmates stopped airing after some time but in 2017, DStv revived it. Basketmouth still plays the character he had started out with on the show.
Besides this TV series, Basketmouth has also shown his versatility in making skits and succeeded as well. He once trended the #TwoThingsChallenge on Social Media and currently runs many comedy series on his YouTube Channel like Mambo & BonnyFace and The Secrets of Lulu.
In 2014, Basketmouth starred in a Nigerian film titled Head Gone. He once announced that he was working on a Nollywood horror film, The Exorcism of Alu. However, the film had been set for release in 2019 but that hasn’t happened as of the time of writing.
Bright Okpocha, popularly known as Basketmouth, married his wife Elsie Okpocha on 6th November 2010. The couple met in 2003, according to sources close to them, and started dating in 2004. They have two children, Jason and Janelle Okpocha.
In a 2014 interview with Linda Ikeji blog, Basketmouth confirmed rumours that he had a child outside his marriage. The report says that he had the child just before he got married to his wife. However, he adds that his family is ready to move on and that he will take care of all his children.
In November 2019, Basketmouth was caught in a gender-based violence mess after a joke he made about rape some years past raised dust. The general interpretation of the joke was that he encouraged men to rape women if they refuse to have sex on the second date.
The issue allegedly led to the European Union to cancel the comedian as an ambassador against domestic abuse and gender-based violence.
In December 2019, Basketmouth published an apology on Instagram concerning the issue. Part of his apology reads (lightly edited for clarity): “I was recently presented an opportunity to create awareness on the efforts of the EU to bring support to fighting this scourge, it was a no-brainer for me. I refused any compensation for it and volunteered to lend my voice because… it’s our fight, it’s not for the EU…it’s for my girl’s future.
Unfortunately, a few years ago I shared up a Facebook post that I thought was shedding light through humour to the entitled crude and very present behavioural patterns of some African men who equate spending to sexual favours, but I also realised then that women actually have to face this daily and it’s harrowing and I deeply apologise for it.”
The same controversy had trailed him when he originally made the joke in 2014. At the time, he had defended his right to tell such jokes, but five years down the line, he sees his error.
Basketmouth Biography: Net worth
Basketmouth is considered one of the richest comedians in Nigeria. This is because he sells out tickets to his shows both in Nigeria and in other parts of the world. However, we could not find a verified figure on the net worth of Basketmouth.
Trend Celebs online blog estimates that Basketmouth is worth between $4 million to $5 million in 2020. While we are not certain of this figure, we know that he rakes in money through brand endorsement deals and adverts.
In 2018, Basketmouth was unveiled as the brand ambassador for a Swedish app, Rebtel, as well as for Malta Guinness as well. He has also been a brand ambassador for Glo telecom since 2010.
Additionally, he lives in a mansion in Lagos that has a swimming pool. Basketmouth allegedly has a fleet of cars that include Honda Crosstour, Lexus LX570 and a Toyota Highlander. He hosted Nigerian billionaire Otedola in his mansion in 2018.
Bright Okpocha, also known as Basketmouth, is undoubtedly Nigeria’s foremost comedian. He is at the forefront of the comedy industry and he achieved all this via creativity and hard work.
As we see from the biography of Basketmouth, he did not waste the opportunity he got. He was prepared and used it wisely to set himself on the path to success.
Also, another key point from this biography is that when in the wrong, it is best to tender an honest and unreserved apology to the offended parties. Now, let us consider additional information about Basketmouth.
Additional Basketmouth information
- National Comedy Award (2005)
- The award for Best Stand-up Comedian of the Year (2006)
- Savanna Comics’ Choice Awards (2017)