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Nkem Owoh: King of Slapstick ~Omonaijablog

Sylvester Asoya 
He is a deliberately awkward comedian who creates with anything within reach. With his creative skills and biting humour, Nkem Owoh holds the prize as the king in the comedy genre.  Over the years, he has distinguished himself as an unmatched comic actor and a provocative performer in the movie industry. And for many years now, he has kept many lovers of his unique comedy laughing and even asking for more. Owoh is well known all over Nigeria for his clowning, miming and physical stunts, and these define his life as a comedian. 

But he is more than just a local champion in his field. In 2003, he took his exhilarating humour to the United Kingdom with Osuofia in London, a highly successful Nigerian comedy movie produced and directed by Kingsley Ogoro. 

For Owoh, humour is second nature; he loves and lives it. 
This love affair began many years ago in Enugu, Enugu State where he received his primary and secondary education. He later proceeded to the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Ogun State where he got a degree in Engineering.
As an undergraduate, Owoh was a very active student who made impact as a campus clown. 
But after graduation, he shunned engines, machines, tools, structures, designs and everything engineering. Rather, he pitched his tent among artistes and other categories of people in the creative chain. Osuofia, as he is fondly called, continues to grow in stature and relevance in the movie industry.
But his activities and unique comedy did not go unnoticed in high places. At some point, he stepped on powerful toes with his suggestive song, I Go Chop Your Dollar, a biting comedy and the theme song of the movie, The Master. In this controversial film, Owoh performs the role of a scammer, one of the major characters in an evocative and condescending manner believed to have glamorized crime. Unfortunately, the consequences were immediate and dire. This song which was very popular among young people and lovers of his art was summarily banned by the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission, NBC and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC. 

Owoh moved on but soon encountered more road blocks in his artistic journey through life. However, he remains a survivor. 
Despite the unfortunate experience of his arrest in Amsterdam during a musical tour and his kidnap saga, he still stands out as the ultimate humour man and a jolly good fellow. Everyone remembers him for his role in the television adaptation of Chinua Achebe’s famous book, Things Fall Apart in 1987. Owoh is also a principal actor in Rattlesnake, Ukwa, Big Man…Big Trouble, Onye-Eze, Fake Doctor, Long John, Police Officer, American Visa and hundreds of other appearances across genres. 
Owoh who is a recipient of many awards holds the Africa Movie Academy Award for the Best Actor in a leading Role for his performance in Stronger than Pain.  

 This article was first published in alice, the in-flight magazine of Air Peace.

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