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Uloma Ezirim: My Experience at the Basketmouth Show in London

Uloma Ezirim

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Anticipation and some kind of curiosity led me to the Basketmouth show of the 14th of February held at the SSE Arena London. This event, albeit being very well publicised, still left some doubt in my mind as to how a Nigerian based comedian with jokes told predominantly in Pidgin English would attract “the crowd” that would fill up “the SSE Arena”.

The SSE Arena, Wembley is an iconic events centre situated right at the heart of Wembley Park. This venue is flanked by the famous Wembley Stadium and the purpose-built London Designer Outlet. Formerly known as the Wembley Arena before it was rebranded, the 83 year old venue, has housed legends like Abba and Madonna. Sell out shows like the X-factor have also graced this centre. Security checks at the SSE Arena is tight and sort of mirrors what you would find at the airport. Organisation for Basket’s show was brilliant with many hosts and ushers strategically positioned at every exit.

The main arena sits 12,500 people, but I noticed that about 2500 seats were cordoned off, which means Basket was targeting 10,000 guests. The show was billed to start at 6:30pm and finish at 11pm.  I was in the arena promptly at 6:45pm to meet only about 50 people sitting down. Guests continued to trickle in initially and then in droves until the hall was at about 75% capacity. The VIP section was completely full. Just so you know ticket prices were from £15 to about £75. Do the Maths and you know that Basket really did great!

The show kicked off at 8:30pm (Naija timing is a disease!) with a Ugandan comedian named Salvador. His jokes were rooted strongly in smartly-crafted stories and each punch line being least expected sent the audience into rapturous applause. Another 2 or 3 comedians followed suit. I don’t know their names, but the energy they brought to the stage was infectious. It was refreshing to see this new breed of comedians using fresh techniques to engage the crowd. I wish I had caught their names as their delivery had me in stitches mostly.

Basket arrived in all his glory at about 9:30pm and gave us a good 90 minutes of unstoppable laughter. His familiarity with the audience and his up-to-date knowledge on news, social media and pop culture in general made his jokes relevant amidst all the fun. Basket is quick on his feet and even when he was distracted by the “kisscam” or special effects, his recovery was always phenomenal. He maintained full control of the crowd from start to finish! By the way the “kisscam” was a nice touch as it went well with the theme of the show. Surprise acts like Burna Boy showing up thrilled the crowd and had them at their feet. It was indeed a successful show for Basket.

On another note, I wonder if the Nigerian restaurant in the foyer of the arena has always been there. Their puff-puff is top notch! I know the Suya guys outside the venue were definitely adhoc. My Naija people never fail to use every available opportunity.

See you Basket – next year February 11th (God willing) you have a new fan!

Uloma is a School Administration Manager. Her mantra in life is Laughter, Love, Relationships = Happiness. Uloma is very passionate about all things Nigerian and this is reflected in her creative expression. Join our community on www.diasporachronicles.com.

25 Comments

  1. Lou

    February 21, 2017 at 7:50 pm

    ” **********show was to start at 6:30pm and I was there promptly by 6:45pm” (smh)

    • Udegbunam Chukwudi

      February 21, 2017 at 8:01 pm

      ????

    • Mannie

      February 21, 2017 at 8:09 pm

      The idea that one can claim to be prompt, after being late by 15 minutes is just too laughable to ignore. LOL!

    • Ottawa Queen

      February 21, 2017 at 8:15 pm

      Lol! Yeah as a Nigerian we would consider that as promptly! Cus that show won’t start until the next 30mins or 1hour.

    • Ify

      February 21, 2017 at 9:04 pm

      Lmao. And then she complained about Naija timing

  2. Mrs Pops

    February 21, 2017 at 8:39 pm

    Is it the same show I attended or another one? Why can’t we tell the truth for goodness sake!

    The show started late and the saving grace were the other comedians because they were genuinely funny, Basketmouth was ok as well but i won’t say he was spectacular.

    The show started late and was rushed towards the end, which is a shame because if they started earlier than 8:15pm or so it would have been great.

    The queue at the Naija food stand was very slow and I left to the queue for a non-Naija food vendor after waiting for 25 minutes or so on the same spot. I didn’t get to taste the food so I can’t comment on that.

    The show itself was ok but it had potential for far more.

    • anon

      February 21, 2017 at 9:41 pm

      Thank you!!! The show was billed to start at 7:30pm but didn’t start till about 8:15pm. I also thought an event is “sold out” when there are no more available tickets to purchase and that isn’t what happened at this show. It was a successful show but farrrrr from a sold out show because that hall could accommodate no less that 1000 more people. If that hall were indeed as full as they’d want you guys to believe, they would’ve taken the photos from the top (i.e aerial view) instead of the deception the camera man is portraying.

    • Seb

      February 22, 2017 at 2:25 pm

      I totally disagree with you Mrs pops, i was also at the show I think the show was wonderful and it was filled to 75% capacity. It is always easy to stay underneath the background and critique other people’s write up whilst lacking the courage to put up one.

    • Mrs Pops

      February 22, 2017 at 9:32 pm

      Seb, I’m not “staying underneath the background” to critique another person’s write up o.

      I gave an objective assesment and not throwing unneccesary punches. It appears a number of people agree with me also.

      What exactly do you disagree with in my comment? Are you claiming they started on time?

  3. Lol

    February 21, 2017 at 9:50 pm

    I honestly wonder how Nigerians survive in countries like Germany, Switzerland, Japan etc… These countries are known value punctuality and efficiency. Seriously though, can anyone speak to that?

    • OB

      February 22, 2017 at 3:16 am

      The Nigerian time is only done when Nigerians attend African/Nigerian Events. This is to show you that Nigerians and Africans in some aspects purposely delay events on purpose. Which to be honest is so annoying and rude.

  4. tolu

    February 21, 2017 at 11:41 pm

    D oda comedian was acapella. Answer to d writer

  5. Chidi

    February 21, 2017 at 11:41 pm

    If the truth must be told, this is a paid press release used in buttering Basket Mouth Brand. Indeed, it failed to capture accurately what transpired on 14th of February at Wembley SS Arena, where Basket Mouth annual show for 2017 held. From the unclear sound system to the parched jokes of Salvador, Basket mouth, Acapella, it was a rip-off and no value for money. The hype for the show was enormous; the venue was not 70% filled, rather 55% filled as significant number of seats were cordoned off. If the record the organizers desired to break was the number of people inside the SS arena, they tried with 55%. But if the desire is to bring new jokes and contents, it was a poor outing. I am writing this from an informed perspective since I have attended all Basket mouth show since inception till the last one. I do attend because I love humor.

    Verdict: Basketmouth must strengthen his humor delivery ability for 2018.

    • tony

      February 22, 2017 at 2:33 pm

      I totally disagree with your comments, but you are entirely entitled to your opinion. I was also at the basket mouth february 14th show and found the jokes hilarious and rip cracking. The SSE arena venue of the show does not come cheap expenses have to be covered.

  6. Uloma Ezirim

    Uloma Ezirim

    February 22, 2017 at 8:37 am

    I am an independent writer. I write for the sheer love of writing and I am gleeful that Bella Naija provides this outlet. You read because you love to read. You comment because you love to comment. I am happy because I started a conversation. See you in a bit!

  7. "changing moniker"

    February 22, 2017 at 10:09 am

    So Uloma from the other comments, it’s safe to ask this: “How much were you paid?”

  8. blessing

    February 22, 2017 at 11:31 am

    Madam Eziirim, the test of a true ‘writer’ is to be able to accept criticism, either constructive or otherwise, look beyond those criticism and work on your craft, by the way, I hope you meant grateful that bellanaija provides this platform and not ‘gleeful’, I wonder what that means

    • Yummy Mummy

      February 22, 2017 at 2:01 pm

      Please learn to use wisdom and knowledge tools readily available e.g google. Don’t act uneducated. She meant GLEEFUL not grateful.

      gleeful
      ˈɡliːfʊl,ˈɡliːf(ə)l/
      adjective
      exuberantly or triumphantly joyful.
      “she gave a gleeful chuckle”
      synonyms: delighted, pleased, joyful, happy, glad, amused, mirthful, cheerful, overjoyed, elated, euphoric, exhilarated;

    • mike

      February 22, 2017 at 2:40 pm

      Blessing or whatever you call yourself you are clearly a coward, it’s so convenient to be behind the closet and negatively criticize other peoples write up. I will like to see your write up in the future. FRUSTRATED HAG!

    • BLUNT ANGEL

      February 26, 2017 at 6:38 am

      MR MIKE,PLEASE
      LEARN TO BE EXPRESSIVE WITHOUT BEING ABUSIVE..YOU CAN DO IT!!!..YES YOU CAN! PEACE AMD LOVE

  9. Cheri

    February 22, 2017 at 11:52 am

    Uloma nne u lie lie lie lie. I was there paid 55pds for the VIP seat. Show Started late as me self I came late knowing it would start late. Yea from previous shows I know they usually start late.

    The other comedians try sha, kiss cam was additional jara. Basket mouth recycled almost all his jokes. They were jokes he told last year at the O2.

    I didn’t see the nig food stall until the guy next to me started eating his jollof rice which smelt really nice sha.

    I had burger and fries. I believe this a paid press release. Some people paid 75pds to meet and greet sef. Basket why bovis no come na? Was looking forward to seeing him sha……

  10. trey

    February 22, 2017 at 4:52 pm

    Father Lord please touch our people to combat frustration, Please give them whatsoever they seek so that they can feel your love oh. Uloms poor soul that never hurt anyone, ride on we gat your back. A pleasant review has been turned to a battle ground. You were always a special one and this just confirms it. Recession is a killer of joy, tufiakwa.

  11. paul

    February 22, 2017 at 6:37 pm

    Love me some Ulomski.

  12. Idomagirl

    February 23, 2017 at 3:09 am

    *inserts Oprah meme*
    So what is the truth?
    Was the show sold out or not?
    Were the jokes dry or not?

  13. OmoKay

    February 24, 2017 at 4:27 pm

    Burna boy’s performance was……. #dead , The DJ messed up Mr Eazi’s performance. All in all average night out

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