Once referred to as the ‘unfunniest’ comedian by social media, Ajeezay has now globally been acclaimed as the King of Wordplay Comedy (Nonfa).
Even without family support for the past 8 years, Ajeezay has not relented on his desire to push his specialized wordplay comedy termed as Nonfa.
Nonfa simply means putting words together that do not make sense but can make you laugh.
Named Nathaniel Mensah from Birth, Ghanaian Ajeezay reveals he got his stage name due to a combination of looking like Jay Z and Lil Wayne’s A Milli song.
A product of the University of Cape Coast, Ajeezay had a rough start in 2020 when his Dad passed away early.
He still remains emotional when he talks about his time with his Dad and the lessons he learnt from him.
The comedian nearly went into depression but thanks to comedy and music, he bounced back stronger than ever.
His rise was met with the viral #Dontleaveme challenge credited to Nigerian comedian Josh2funny.
The trend takes its inspiration from the Ajeezay powered Nonfa comedy and that has left social media divided on who deserves the credit.
Ajeezay doesn’t care about who gets the credit but he is happy, wordplay comedy has taken centre stage after years of investing his time and soul into Nonfa.
How did you end up doing comedy?
Comedy began right after national service. I decided to chase my dreams.
How did you know you can be a good comedian?
I’m half Fante and GA, so my friends says am a FAN GUY.
And you know in Ghana when we really trace down the root of comedy, you know the Fante’s are in the game, so from birth am funny but because it’s a craft that you are about to do for people to appreciate, you’ve got to learn the craft basically.
I knew I had it but I had to groom it.
But you know, one thing about your comedy is you are distinct from what usually we see, we know standup comedians, comic actors but you have a nitch called Nonfa which is unique to you. How did you discover that nitch?
Entering the comedy space, I believe in being unique and standing out will get you noticed because I realized it’s a market and a group of people is selling the same thing, what will make people come and buy mine?
That’s when I realized I have to play with words and people will accept it.
And what was initially Reception when you began?
Ooh! It’s wasn’t easy, I’ve been the unfunniest comedian Ghana has ever produced. (I’m not funny oo). My wavy started on Twitter.
Shouts to chuks… When I came to Accra that I wanted to do comedy.
I went out on one of those errands and I met this man a trotro wearing a shirt with Comedy court embroidered to it, sitting by him, I spoke to him ” chairman please I’m Ajeezay, I’m a comedian, I didn’t know what I was doing by comedy.
He was like” wow, I’m Chuks a Nigerian, I’m in Ghana and I have a comedy court, I’m also into comedy” so we connected.
So it’s Chuks that introduced me and broaden my perspective about online. THAT ONLINE IS LIKE A VAST LAND, NO ONE OWN’S IT.
So you can go and buy one and that entered into my head and I started my thing online so that why up to date, am not mainstream but a that hardest comedian online.
Chuks did it for me. I started my thing online on Twitter, and I kept going and I saw people blowing Nonfa.
From on-set family didn’t like it, even now they don’t support it.
Family doesn’t support what I am doing. I have to be in the ‘space’, close to 8 years.
So if you dey there wey you dey hate on me, am a not the one that buys you data or Phone; and you say I didn’t am funny so you won’t support, what can I say.
So it kept going like that then I started shooting skirts, I started shooting Skits before the rest (Kalybos and the rest).
I’m the one who shot first Skits in Ghana. At the point what we were enjoying was Romanus, the theater stuff then I dropped the Skits so months from there I saw people drop Skits, (Kabos and Ahofe Patri boys Kasa).
So as it went on I started serious stand-up comedy, and I will do wordplay comedy. So I started playing with words.
The people don’t know the thing, this style is for a particular class of people. I don’t follow trends I will come and do my thing.
My thing appeals to the brain. It’s either you appeal to the heart or you appeal to the brain.
When you appeal to the brain; you stay forever because you will go home and think about it.
How did you come by the name Ajeezay?
When I was in college the boys call me, Jay-Z because of my mouth. I didn’t know who was until I checked online.
And I found out he was a superstar so I decided to keep the name. I look like Lloyd Banks, and also Jiga. And along the line, Lil Wayne drop “A Milli”. And I added A to make it Ajeezay.
So ebi boys that gave me that name.
So locally you are the Nonfa king, 2020 Corona season boom social media #dontleavemechallenge. The concept was similar to yours but you weren’t Credited. So in the initial stage of the ‘don’t leave challenge’, what was running through your mind?
Let me take my people back in 2016 what we are seeing in 2020 happened, the Nonfa trend.
Then it went off and it’s had surfaced again in 2020 with Josh leading it.
This spark a conversation on Twitter; people noticed and complained that is this was Ajeezay’s thing.
I even post that I see a wavy coming. I didn’t come to fight anybody.
But Africa has never had somebody go all out for wordplay comedy like the way I have done. It’s been 8 years of Nonfa on stage.
It has taken the time and hard work for this to happen when you are doing something different.
I feel Ghanaians feel how had I have worked for this, that’s they are coming through for me. I when it’s time for it to shine, nobody can stop it.
The whole world is calling you are the original Nonfa King after the interview with Citi TV with Josh. How did you feel?
Kwame Dadzie made that happen, he called me to tell me he would interview me on his entertainment show. It’s was a plus, first time talk to Josh.
Your brand is different when it comes to comedians in Ghana, What’s your trick?
I want to big up my mentor, the man I look up to, Bishop Bob Okala, I learned branding from him and I really kept going and going.
I have seen you evolve from you not getting the timing on the beats to you now getting your timing right and enjoying massive reviews. Gringo was massive.
This year hasn’t been good for me because I lost my dad.
He was one of the few people who motivate me. Everything you are seeing here is that man.
He was one person that really wanted to make it from this site and make him feel the success but unfortunately, I lost him in January.
But I kept it going, So Corona has been a blessing unto me.
I applied for my blue tick on IG. AY Poyoo is a good standup comedian. He’s a beast, I have watched him perform
Now we. Have App remix features AY Poyoo, how did that feature come up.
I started the app challenge. When I start a challenge and it’s going I hit the studio to drop something.
That’s was my first time on the trap and I killed it. And people were like I should put Clemento Saurez or AY Poyoo on it.
So I reached out to Clemento but he was very busy, so I reached out to AY Poyoo. I hit his manager up, they were very busy with media tours. I want to use this platform to thank Kubolor (Wanlov), he’s very real.
He’s very talented, he does all his productions too. He had to shoot a Video my AY Poyoo for their Alcoholics song, he asked me to bring the data so that AY can pick his verse for App.
You are one of the brains behind viral sensations such as Supa, AY Poyoo, Black Sheriff, EB Forson, and others. What motivates you to do that?
Whatever I am today it’s my father, he’s a man full of wisdom.
He gave every advice; he ones told me that, we don’t eat frog but if it happens that you have to chew a frog make sure that you chew a very fat oily frog.
If your life hasn’t benefited somebody, you never lived.
So I decided to help with my little following to help people – We have an NGO called Able Initiative.
We help people who are Able but disabled – We have to help people in society. I know in due time it’s will all work out.
Very soon I will be moving off covers, I will still do the covers if I get the feeling for it but it will be something simple.
Will be doing mainstream projects more, I have an album coming up. It’s called the evolution album – I did the artwork in 2017.
I think now is the time, I have record one with Brella; a very nice song.
But I have already recorded KiDi’s enjoyment it has a political feel and something on his stay cheese too. Keep supporting your boy.
It has been amazing having you. Thank you for helping those in need and also bringing us new talents all the time. We appreciate it.
Story by Yaw Boadu-Ayeboafoh
Interview transcribed by Gloria Saahene-Britwum
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