You’re known far and wide as Dr. Smile such that a lot of people forget your real name, who is Dr. Smile?
My names are Abegunde Olamilekan Smile a gentle, simple, blunt yet reserved guy, bottled by the environment he lives in, God-fearing and adventurous. A father, husband, chef and a babysitter.
15 years in the game and still waxing strong, how have you been able to maintain a steady presence?
It’s been fifteen years of grace. I say this because I’ve seen a lot of very funny, talented people quit when the going got tough. It’s not always the person with the most talent who succeeds but the one with most endurance and in all it takes Grace.
What has changed about you from the time you started 15 years ago?
A lot. I’m more exposed, with better ability to write materials and deliver professionally. The more you grow and keep mental pipelines open, every minute things change.
As at the time you started did you think you were going to become this big?
To get anywhere in comedy industry, you must be committed to the creative process, (time of birth, crawl, walk and then run which is where the game and money is). That means deciding at the starting gate that no matter what happens on the journey, you must just get to the destination, which I’m still on. Not big yet, about to be.
Looking back at the period you started as a comedian, what will you say are some of the challenges of being a comedian?
Once you are not on television or media so to speak you are not yet a comedian, but I think that is changing now. I pray very soon when you introduce yourself as a comedian your worth will be judge by your ability to deliver and not how popular you are.
What kept you going in the midst of all this many challenges?
My ability to be myself, even though my style of comedy is not generally acceptable yet, due to injection of Yoruba flow, but very soon it will and I’m also working on stepping it up to suit the other tribes and foreigners.
In those early years, what was the first big break for you and how much did you make from that job?
At every stage, you get a new break to get to the next level, but back then it was Spring bank raffle draw 2008 and I was paid N25,000. I almost ran mad. Then, in 2016 when I anchored an evening with Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, the money was so loud that I wasted over seven deposits slips out of tension. Still, the break is yet to come I say.
We have several comedians from South South; Warri to be precise, whose jokes are heavily influenced by their background, what role do you think your background has played in your career?
I do reality jokes, everything I say comes from my environment, background, culture, tradition and belief of my immediate environment. My background made me and to be original I can’t shy away from it, even though education and civilization will definitely dictate the flow. But you can’t take away the background experience.
Lagos has been known to be capital city of entertainment in the country, why do you choose to settle in Abeokuta, or are you in any way afraid of the stiff competition present in Lagos?
There is gold everywhere, but I think some people are not just trained or gifted to see it. Odunlade Adekola is based in Abeokuta, yet, no day is complete without his movie shown on Africa magic. Yinka ruled gospel music industry from Ibadan, so it’s not really a matter of where you are but what you do where you are. With all due respect there’s no competition in Lagos because it’s too big that I even work more there than I work in Abeokuta.
You are known to have a cordial relationship with other comedians in the industry, how have you been able to maintain this?
Minding my business is the secret. Greet when necessary, don’t gossip, respect senior colleagues, ignore rude ones and in all, respect yourself.
In one of your interviews, you said you became a comedian by mistake; do you have regrets or wish you had chosen another profession?
No regret at all because God Grace covered me.
You’ve been one of the most consistent comedians in Nigeria, what do you think are some of the factors that have kept you going all these years?
Originality and being real to my craft. People change style when one form of delivery is in vogue. That’s why you see a lot of Gordons and Akpororo copycats. But for me, like it or not, I do my thing my way.
Your recent concert was held at the Marquee were you celebrated 15 years on Stage and 5th Concert was sold out, how was the feeling like?
The joy that comes with the success, (even though it is not the first time I sold out the venue) but the fact that the ticket fee increased and still sold out, All glory to God who made it possible.
Some comedians have been criticized for repeating their jokes too often. Do you repeat jokes?
Yes, very well but I know how to retell a joke and you will enjoy it anytime I tell the joke.
Why do you think some comedians steal other comedian’s jokes?
Laziness, dead end, fear of failure but I believe if you work on yourself too well, it won’t happen.
Are you working on any new projects and what should your numerous fans expect you?
2020, Dr Smile Unusual Live in 10 countries.
What’s your message to up-and-coming comedians who are trying to follow your footsteps?
Be original, respect your seniors, don’t gossip, be focus and get yourself a mentor.