Woli Arole is a comedian, actor and on-air personality. Born in Ibadan, he had his primary education at Olopade Agoro Apata, and his secondary school education at Government College, Ibadan.
Arole proceeded to the Obafemi Awolowo University where he studied Psychology. He also obtained a degree in filmmaking in 2020 from the Met Film School in the United Kingdom.
Arole started as an actor and stand-up comedian from university, he embraced social media and gained attention with short videos on Instagram. He auditioned and became a finalist at the Alibaba Spontaneity contest in Lagos. He recently debuted with his live show called ‘The Chat Room With Woli Arole’.
In 2018, Arole premiered his movie titled The Call, which he produced and in which he was featured as the lead actor. In this interview with IJEOMA THOMAS-ODIA, he shares his passion for comedy.
Tell us how your passion for comedy started?
It started when I was in secondary school. I acted in church dramas, and eventually started stand-up comedy when I was in Obafemi Awolowo University. From there, I took it on professionally when I graduated.
How did you realise you wanted to do comedy professionally?
I realised that wherever I am, I like making people happy. I also think comedy for me came from people’s general opinions. They would say, “You’re just funny, you light up the mood”. So, I think it was from people’s observations of myself. But I didn’t even see it that way when they said these things. Then I started developing an interest, I loved stand-up comedians. Then it was ‘Night of a Thousand Laughs’, ‘AY live’, then I saw some Eddie Murphy movies, Baba Suwe, and all the others. I’m just a comedy person generally. I think this stuff ignited the natural talents I had.
What do you consider your big break?
It was the content I was creating. The prophetic pathway was what launched me. The variety also came from me doing different prophetic content, short skits on Instagram where I pray and shout in the bush. That was where the big break came in.
What inspired that prophetic touch?
I just love how the prophetic thing looks. I attend a prophetic church and seeing the mannerisms of those prophets, I realise I could perfectly fit into this world comically, make a saint out of it, make meanings, pass a message hilariously. And so, that was it for me
What inspired your movie, The Call, which went on Netflix
I’m a movie person, so I just met with my friends and told them about shooting a movie. When they asked for a name, we simply called it The Call. We called the scriptwriter and he came out with a very beautiful story that was similar to my story, and everything just clicked. Going on Netflix for me was doing something big first. I love big stuff and love taking risks. I feel nobody kills you for taking risks and it’s about your career. I said let’s see how Netflix goes and we went on, it was good, people loved it.
What inspires the comedy that you churn out?
God does it for me 100 per cent, and then my friends, people around me, and my environment. However, a part of my genetic code is creativity; I am just a very creative person.
What should we be expecting from you?
My stand-up comedy show is coming up and it is going to be big; Ali Baba, AY, and a host of others. This is my first major show since after my university days. Expect to laugh as much, people can come in with their kids, something lively, family, and homely and it has a touch of spirituality in it.
Tell us about your acting career?
I went to Met Film School in London to upgrade myself. I am also working on another movie this year by the grace of God. I am also working with a lot more international people and this is just to break more frontiers. I am having my content on Netflix, Amazon and I am spreading my tentacles to do more stuff. I also look forward to doing the series.
Comedy and acting, which comes first?
Comedy for me; in my acting in everything I do, it has to be a comedy. Even when I am praying, it is hilarious.
Do you ever have sad moments?
Oh yes. I am human. I just encourage myself. Sometimes there are disappointments and then you wonder if it is worth it, but something springs up and I wave it away. Most times I get people who come to me and tell me how I inspire and make them happy and that keeps me going.
What does fashion mean to you?
Being stylish, moderate and colourful.
What is your style?
Smart, decent, modest, and funky. I love my shirt and jeans, my native attires too on rare occasions.
What is your favourite local dish?
I love pounded yam, Efo riro and Egusi. Amala too is not bad.
You recently became a father, how do you feel?
It is quite an interesting journey and I am taking it one day at a time.
You must have faced challenges. Kindly share
A lot. People who look at you and wonder where he is coming from. Acceptability was a huge challenge; people see you and want to check you out, others hope you will not last long and they see you do better by the day. A lot of people just have predictions about you and at the end of the day, you are doing exploits and winning. At times, I attended comedy shows and your fellow comedians look down on you.
How did all of these experiences shape you?
It just made me realise I needed to be a better human and I should spread love. I didn’t have to pass the negative energy I receive.
Describe yourself in three words?
Amazing, awesome, spiritual.
What is your life mantra?
I believe everything starts with God and ends in Him.