Comedian and content creator, Massterlee, bares it all on how he started comedy and his journey to fame.
Content creators are the new big deal in the world and Nigeria isn’t limited. With the outbreak of the pandemic and the lockdown, a lot of content creators are adjusting and getting more creative with the contents they dish out.
The phenomenal Massterlee was a guest on Lockdown Convos with Gold Nne and he explained his name, the origin of his craft and so much more.
How long have you been creating funny contents?
I'll say I started comedy as a whole in 2013 but it wasn't professional until 2014. So, I started going for stand-up comedy. So, when I got back from starbiz I started creating content, that was 2016.
You started with the Chinese content or was there one before the Chinese content?
There wasn't. It was the Chinese content that started everything, though I started the Chinese on stage. I didn't make a content like I wanted to start doing skits, no. I started Chinese on stage like stand-up comedy.
Why Chinese, though? Why did you start with that?
I started Chinese because, well, I see more of Chinese movies. So, I'm always interested in it. Then when we were in school, we always do this rap battle in the hostel, so when people come out and say let's compete. When people start competing, when I forget my lines, I try to infuse Chinese into it. You know people call it rubbish, but I was doing the Chinese stuff. People were like "this thing sounds so real." So, that was how I started making Chinese content because I was funny. Being funny and using it as a content, that is how everything started.
At what point in time did you decide to diversify and start the Ghanaian accent?
There's an adage that says "one way no be way." So, I'm not just good in Chinese. I'm good at mimicking people. I studied international relations, so I'm good with languages. When I say languages, I mean the accent. You can tell me you are Kalabari and when you tell me how they speak like two or three times I'll get it. So, I decided to let the world know that I'm not good with Chinese alone. Not that I know how to speak Chinese. So, if you check my contents, you'll see it’s not only the Ghanaian, I've done Arab accent. I've done different types of languages, including French and Spanish. To make people know that it's not the Chinese alone but the Chinese is the main part.
Med Oh! has become such a common exclamation and a lot of people use it now. How did you come up with it?
I was trying to make a skit for the Ghanaian man. After bringing out this Chinese person and people loved this Chinese person, I started noticing that some people are doing this Chinese stuff too even before I started doing it. It's not like they are focusing on it like I do. I had to find something else, the same way I found the Chinese man. I do the Chinese and I do different kinds of people too, and I noticed people loved the Ghanaian accent. So, it was now looking like a competition between the Chinese man and the Ghanaian character.
Whenever I post, people started contemplating the character they loved more. So, I decided to start the Ghanaian cap series. I was making a script and started wondering what the punch line for this Ghanaian man should be and then "mad oh" just started reigning. You know how Ghanaians pronounce. So, I was like why not "MED OH"? I was like if it's "mad" then for Ghanaians it is "med." That is how "med oh" came about. And then the first skit ended with "Med oh" and it became a sensation. So, I started making more series like that.
Have Ghanaians reacted to your new content?
Well, many Ghanaians have reacted and some of them have reacted negatively. Majority of them have reacted positively. Why I mentioned negative part is because I don't know why some people will react negatively. They are like, I'm Nigerian so am I mocking them? Some of them that slide into my DM and come to my comment section, I tell them I'm a fan of Ghanaian accent, I love everything about Ghanaians and I'll like to be there again and again.
This negative response started when I was making the different kinds. Like in a video you will see the Ghanaian, the Nigerian and the Chinese. Sometimes, you'll see the Arabs, the Ghanaians, and so some of the Ghanaians were taking it personal. But I'm so glad that when they come to my comment section, their fellow Ghanaians go to tackle them there. Their fellow Ghanaians are telling them, this is just a joke. So, sometimes, I don't say anything except when I just feel like replying them. But later some of them become calm down and see it as a joke
Are you fully Nigerian or are you partly from another African country?
The truth is, I'm fully Nigerian. My dad is from Lagos State, Nigeria, and my mum is from Imo State. People are always shocked because, sometimes, they will be like, I thought you were Ghanaian. But I'm not Ghanaian. I love Ghanaians. I have Ghanaians as friends and I go there and it's cool.
What do you plan to do in the future with content creation? Do you want to continue with the Ghanaian character or do you want to delve into something else?
I'm this kind of person that wants to keep doing something. Now, I can't really say to an extent. But I know in the future I will be into something more - be it acting, be it putting it on social media, YouTube and all. I will always act as the Chinese man and the Ghanaian also, but I have other characters as well from this same Massterlee. At the beginning, my name was Ibrolee, but I had tochange it to Massterlee. I noticed that Ibrolee is limited but masster has the 'mass' in it, so it has varieties. The double "S" is deliberate. It is 'mass' and we have different people. The character in one of my skits where I was a conductor, that's another character I want to develop.
Have you started getting the movie roles yet?
Yes. Last year I was in three to four movies, and this year, I featured in one that is not yet out. And I was supposed to be in one this April but because of the coronavirus. They called me and they already booked me for two to four scenes.
Are you also learning different languages while doing this?
Yes. You know people think the Chinese is not real. Whenever I make a video. 50-60 per cent of what I'm saying in that video is correct. So, I tend to mix it up with Yoruba to make it funny. I actually know how to mimic the accent but I try to make it funny and at the same time, people will be like, you said something correct there, those that understand Chinese. So, I decided to learn the language. Not now, though. I've been learning this language for a while. That's why it's sounding correct most times.