We had a chat with Nwafor Emmanuel Nkem, popularly known by his stage name MC A1. Just like his pseudonym suggests, MC A1 is an exceptionally talented stand-up comedian plying his trade in the United Kingdom.
Born and bred in Onitsha, Anambra state, Emmanuel attended the famous Nnamdi Azikiwe University College of Medicine in Awka, Anambra state, finishing with a major in Medical Laboratory Science. He has since, acquired several other academic qualifications, including a Master of Business Administration Degree (MBA).
However, this lifesaver had an extra calling, one that would see him deliver a different kind of therapy that neither requires cyringes nor incisions. After all, Irish dramatist Sean O’Casey once said “laughter is wine for the soul.”
Tell us a bit about your family background, upbringing and the situations that defined your childhood.
Describing his upbringing, Emmanuel started by revealing he was raised by his mother after losing his father at a tender age. Continuing, he mentioned he had to hustle his way up from that tender age, peddling different items to support his mother.
“I sold a lot of things growing up. I sold pure water, I sold bread, I sold kerosene; there’s nothing I didn’t sell. I did a lot of things to make ends meet. It wasn’t easy but thank God we’re here,” said an upbeat Emmanuel.
Only a select few escape such fate with their education intact in this part of the world. But with determination and focus, and love within his nuclear family, as patchy as things were, he was able to overcome.
How did you get into stand-up comedy?
“I started when I was in JSS3,” said the UK based comedian, citing a catholic show for children as his first ever stage. He began reading comedy books from there, making up his own ideas and jokes. Emmanuel also described his family as generally funny people.
How do you come up with ideas, What inspires you?
Emmanuel: “I don’t even know, it just comes.” For many naturals, that’s often the case. Inspiration rather comes from everything than from a particular routine. “My inspiration comes from my surroundings, observations, from that I make up what I wanna say or want to do.”
Do you consider making people laugh more of a hobby than a job?
This was about the easiest question for MC A1 to answer, immediately stating he’d still make people laugh without being paid. Of course, he’s done that a lot in the past and probably still does it. However, it’s the feel good factor of putting smiles on peoples’ faces that’s mainly keeping him going.
Do you rehearse before you shoot your skits?
Pausing to think about the question before answering, “Not really. No, I don’t really rehearse, I just have to think through it,” said the comedian. With everything moving so fast these days, especially trends on social media, guess it’s simple to understand why creators may not have a dedicatd time for practicing in order to cut production time.
How’s support been from your inside camp?
Emmanuel had earlier referenced his family’s love for banter as one of his major influences for venturing into comedy. They’ve maintained that chemistry growing up, and now his immediate junior brother is also a comedian. Support has generally been great for both of them from both friends and family.
What’s your biggest challenge?
Given the time factor required for medical practice, Emmanuel cites combining comedy with medical practice as his greatest challenge. However, he’s not been scared to confront the challenge, as his mental is fully in-tune with the fact that he’s merely pursuing his passions.
We continued the chat by trying to find out what other talents could be hidden in Emmanuel’s portfolio. “If it wasn’t for comedy, I’d be acting. Maybe anything that has to do with the entertainment industry apart from music.“
Adding some fun to the process, we asked him to tell us what he’d write if he were to write his own eulogy and the response was straightforward, “I would say I’m a great man,” he said, speaking playfully before reiterating that he’s worked extremely hard to be where he is today.
Maybe not as big as the AYs, the Basketmouths, and Bovis, yet, but his confidence and belief in that hard work and grace can get you anywhere in life is perhaps the most intriguing revelation about this star – also really contagious, I must say.
Of course, many are called, but only a few are chosen. nonetheless nothing should ever stop anyone from trying and trying again. And young people from humble beginnings looking to enter into that spotlight will be felling optimistic whenever they hear stories like Emmanuel’s.
“Keep your head down, do what you love, be true to yourself, always,” his take away words.
You can reach MC A1 on Instagram here. You can also book him via bookMceeA1@gmail.com.