A skit maker, Joshua Sunday, aka De General, speaks to TOFARATI IGE about his career, his travails with the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency and other issues
What were the lessons you learnt from your ordeal with the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency?
I learnt that the seven fundamental human rights we were taught in school were just for teaching’s sake; they don’t apply in reality (in Nigeria).
It must have been a low moment for you. Did it at any time make you depressed?
Yes, I suffered severe post-traumatic stress syndrome. However, I was able to get over it with the help of my loved ones.
To get out of it, I constantly reminded myself that I was innocent.
In what ways did the incident affect your brand?
It actually had a positive impact on my brand. The Bible says a good man cannot be brought down. After that incident, I became more popular, and I made more money.
Do you have plans to make a skit or create other content based on what happened?
Many people have real-life stories to tell. I don’t know if I will tell the story myself; or if someone else will do that.
What projects are you working on?
For some time, I have been releasing some funny clips. That is in preparation for my series and movies that will be released in 2023. I want my fans to watch out for me in Nollywood.
What is your driving force?
To whom much is given, much is expected. I know God has blessed me with several talents, and I think the time is now for Nollywood to experience ‘real’ action movies from me.
How did your journey into skit-making start?
It started in 2017. After going for several auditions in Port Harcourt (Rivers State) and not getting any opportunity to display what I had in me, I started making skits. Thanks to God and the media, I became popular through. I will still switch to my first love, which is filmmaking.
Which skit brought you to the limelight?
I have done several skits that went viral. There was a particular one I did mimicking Korean movies. However, a particular skit with another skit maker, Sydney Iwundu, in August 2019, titled, ‘When your Guy is a Real Gee’ was the one that really brought me to the limelight.
What is the lowest amount you have ever been paid to influence/advertise?
I was actually paid N7,000 in 2019 to promote a song.
Many skit makers, including you, have bought expensive cars and properties in recent times; and some people believe that such money could not have come from making skits alone. What is your response to that?
I don’t blame people out there who think that most skit makers also make money through illegal means. I had the same mindset when I was still broke. I used to see my senior colleagues with cars and I used to think, ‘Is it not the same thing I’m doing with my phone’? It was not until God ‘blew my whistle’ that I realised that one can make a lot of money from just making skits. Social media platforms such as Facebook and YouTube pay creators from Nigeria. I wonder why people question the wealth of skit makers, but believe in that of music artistes? All I can say is that content creators actually deserve more.
What are your most memorable moments as a skit maker?
That was when I got my first pay (N7,000) to promote a song. I was so happy that at least, I could contribute something for the upkeep of my family.
Many skits these days are too sexualised, with a lack of depth as many skit makers just feature curvy ladies and don’t have rich scripts. What’s your take on that?
I see a lot of comments about skit makers using curvy ladies in skits and it’s sexualized. But, the same people who make those complaints watch music videos with half-naked girls on the television in the presence of kids. Yet, they come to social media, which is for adults, to criticise skit makers. Are we supposed to be using animals in our skits? Every skit maker has their unique style. People should look for the content they find suitable and watch them. They are not under any compulsion to watch a particular kind of content.
Have you ever had cause to turn down an influencing gig?
Yes. I turn down gig most times if I feel they will put me in trouble; such as those advertising Ponzi schemes.
How do you come up with your skits; from the moment of conceiving the idea to coming out with the finished work?
Most times, they are inspired by real life experiences that many people can relate to. I just fine-tune them to make them funny.
How do you deal with negative comments on social media?
I check to see if my account balance has reduced. If it has not, I move on with my life (laughs).
Have your parents and other family members always supported your skit-making career?
My parents actually wanted me to focus on my studies.
You recently got a house for your parents. Did you buy it or built it from the scratch?
I built it from the scratch, and completed it in about five months.
What inspired the gesture, especially at the time you did?
My parents and siblings were tenants in a two-bedroom apartment. As God had blessed me, I thought it wise to give them a befitting place to call home.
Aside from skit-making, are you involved in other businesses?
For now, I am a full-time content creator.
What advice do you have for young skit makers as regards monetising their contents?
They should follow their dreams. However, they should ensure they make quality contents, and not take every advert that comes their way because of money. Nothing is sweeter than seeing one’s skits fetching one money.
What are your long-term plans for your career?
Filmmaking is my final destination.
Who are your role models/mentors?
I admire the Chinese actor, Jackie Chan; and the Hong Kong actor, Donnie Yen.