We recently caught up with Twitter funny man, Ajibola Grey. Among other things, he told us about receiving surprisingly huge cash gifts on Twitter and how he quit his job as a lawyer on his very first day. Since that incident, he has found fame (and money!) as an online comedian.
He tells us all about his career trajectory and his big plans for the future.
Were you a naughty kid?
I think there were stages. I was about my books and football. But as I grew older, I started turning into a notorious kid. Everything started changing when I clocked ten.
What was the stimulus?
It was school, I think. It had to happen. My parents dealt with it spiritually. They came to school to ask about my friends, whether I was in a gang. You know what they didn’t realise?
I was the leader of everything.
I wanted to be a man of my own. It was tough for them. I became really stubborn, but I was a mummy’s boy before then.
Where were you guys living?
In Lagos. Oke-ira in Ogba.
What did you study when you got into school?
I studied law. I had always wanted to study law.
While studying, did you take on jobs given your humour and personality?
No. My university life was basically law and parties. I really didn’t think I was going to end up in entertainment, even if I was funny. I don’t exactly tell jokes.
Did you work as a lawyer?
Yes. For a day.
Tell me this story.
Well, my dad introduced me to one of his lawyer friends and we agreed I would resume on a Monday. On Monday morning, I wore a three-piece suit and drove to the office. When I got there, I was introduced to everybody by my dad’s friend. After that, I was given a seat.
Within five minutes, someone dropped several files on the table. “Oga said you should find the legal issues in these files.” I said okay but after 30 minutes I got tired of looking at files. I got up and told them I would be back in a bit. I left the office and never went back.
LOL. You know how big those law files are.
Where did you go?
I went to the Shrine.
I got home later in the evening. I told my mum I didn’t want to work in an office and she told me to go tell my dad. I told him. He was like, “Do what you like with your life. I have wasted my money anyway.” It didn’t move me. Not that I was a wicked kid but I saw it coming so I was prepared.
What happened next?
I started a food business. I cook very well. I delivered food to schools and offices. I also got into property law. My dad is a realtor.
Who were your initial customers for your food?
Friends initially. But I put up a photo on Twitter where I talked about my food business. That gave me some visibility and customers.
So how did humour come into the mix?
All thanks to Jack [Dorsey, former Twitter CEO]. He gave us the voice feature. I did a voice note in which I sounded like an agbero. It went very far and then I just kept doing it. People started telling me to be more intentional about it. But in doing so, I realised I wasn’t having fun anymore. I then took it back to having fun with it again.
At what stage did money come into it?
That was quite unexpected. I remember the first time someone asked for my account number. He said he was having a rough day and then he listened to my voice note and started laughing. “Please, send your account number,” he said in my DM. He sent me ₦200,000.
I am not playing. He sent me ₦200,000.
I didn’t think it was ₦200k initially. I thought it was ₦20k. I went to my DM to say thank you and then he sent the receipt. See the way I rushed back to check my alert again!
I started saying thank you repeatedly. I thought that was it. Then the next week someone sent me ₦500,000.
Out of the blue again?
Yes. I didn’t ask. From there, people started approaching me to do things. “Help me record a voice note about this, about that.”
A business is born!
Yeah. People do not even know that some of these things are paid for. Some brands also reach out. I just realised that I was making money from this thing.
So what happens with it going forward?
I am working on a podcast. It came out one time but I didn’t like it, so we are doing it again. I am kind of a perfectionist.
What is the podcast about?
My co-host, Jennifer, and I talk about things happening. We are direct. We are taking out all of the sugar-coating that you see on Twitter. It is total madness.
Of the things you do related to humour, what has been the most lucrative?
Ads. Brands are coming through.
What’s a great month like?
Seven digits. Thinking about it now, I see that I am making money.
You just realised?
LOL. Saying it out loud is different. And it is also about how I live my life.
How do you mean?
I care about my mental health, so if I am not in a good place, I am unlikely to take some gigs.
That’s a position that would sound strange to Lagosians. Do you still live in Lagos?
LOL. I am now based in Abuja. But I came to Lagos for a few things. I’ll go back.
You have the forthcoming podcast and you have the ads. What else are you working on?
I still do law and I want to establish a restaurant. I have one leg in the realtor business and my team and I are trying to make it work using the clout I have online.
Great idea. What about your comedy?
I want to take advantage of streaming. So, there is a sitcom I am working on with Agba [the popular Twitter comedian we interviewed here] and one other guy. It should go on YouTube. We want to do our thing but still stand out individually.
I also want to get into the movie industry. I don’t want to force it but I want to be intentional by going for auditions and all. I might also try stand-up. The closest thing now is the sitcom. I think you would love it. It will be ridiculous!
I’ll be looking forward to it. Can you tell me the name?
LOL. No way! I can’t tell you that now!