Nobody really knows the secret sauce that makes someone successful in the still evolving art of Instagram comedy. Is it just the jokes? The personalities behind them? What are the combination of factors that make us love these Instagram acts so much? We may never know.
However, if you are Sydney Talker and you’ve gone from posting skits in chat groups as an undergraduate to 1.2 million Instagram followers and brands chasing you for ad placements, those questions soon start to take on new meaning. Welcome to the story of the latest comedy sensation to emerge from Instagram.
Though his parents originally hailed from Edo State, Nigeria, Sydney Egere also known as Sydney Talker was born and raised in Lagos as an only child. His parents got separated while he was very young which led to a lot of moving around and staying with relatives. “I always felt like I didn’t belong in those places,” Sydney Talker told Punch in a March 2019 interview. “So I would just be by myself watching comic videos all the time.”
This pastime is what Sydney Talker attributes to his love for creating comedy skits. By the time he got admission to the University of Benin to study Computer Science, Sydney Talker has his sights set firmly on a career in comedy. In 2016, he started to create skits and distribute them online in several chat groups he belonged to as well as the two thousand people following him on Instagram at the time.
“When I gained admission to university, I leveraged on the students’ environment to gain more audience for my page. I joined a lot of groups in school and used to post my videos on their platforms. And since then, it has been booming till now,” he told Punch in 2019. “Also, I will give credit to Tunde Ednut. I used to send my interesting skits to him.”
Today, Sydney Talker has over 1.2 million followers on Instagram alone. His skits focus on daily Nigerian life and rely on a lot of slapstick elements as is common with Nigerian comedy. “Basically, I get ideas from my interactions with people and when I listen to music. My skits are usually very relatable about everyday living. Also, people share their ideas with me and if they are interesting enough, I work on them.” He has also performed at shows like Josh2Funny’s All of Me Live, among others.
Although he says he tries to limit the amount of ads he puts on his page, other Instagram-famous people like Tunde Ednut (who has 2 million IG followers) already charge north of N100,000 to post ads on their page. That means that Sydney Talker definitely makes a handsome living off his Instagram page. Experts say the Nigerian comedy skit industry is now one of the top five in the world and it has already spawned a host of talent from Mark Angel Comedy and Emmanuella, to Frank Donga, Maraji, MC Lively, Lasisi Elenu and Nedu. There are now hundreds of popular names and faces making it big.
According to tech company, Plaqad, it has paid over $300,000 to influencers in the past two years. The average income for a skit per influencer is around $1000 and it is increasing. Some commission up to five skits in a week and they are making money from brands like Pepsi, Coca Cola, MTN, DSTV, Nigerian Breweries, 9Mobile and Budweiser as well as from Youtube and Facebook.
The only way for the towel-wielding comic to go from here is up and we definitely wish him all the success he’s been working hard for. We’re looking forward to seeing more skits, stand up specials and maybe even movies from the exciting new talent.
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