Dami “AphricanApe” Olatunde
Illustration by Ayo Arogunmati
Mr. Olatunde, Houston is known for its car culture, have you been influenced?
Well, I’m not really a car guy so I don’t pay much attention to the car culture, unless I see something extraordinary. I used to live in Miami, where the car culture is a little more pronounced, as people “pimp” up their cars in several ways like painting it in ridiculous images. So you’re more likely to see a “water melon” or “frosted flakes” themed car in Miami than in Houston.
How about the music scene, anyone standout to you?
Bils is my favorite Houston artist; he always kills it every time he hits the stage.
Is Chamillionaire popular among the Nigerians in Houston?
I haven’t heard anything about Chamillionaire since I was in college, that was over 5 years ago, so I don’t know whether or not they embrace him.
Do you attach any responsibility to your comedy?
Absolutely. Making people laugh is a huge responsibility. People look up to you for daily humor, relief from stress, and a mini get away from whatever challenges they’re dealing with. I’ve gotten so many messages from supporters about how my videos helped them get over certain trying times. And I don’t just make funny videos, I also perform on stage. I have a huge responsibility of delivering laughter whether on stage or online.
What prepared you best for the business of comedy?
I honestly think it’s a gift. Comedy for me was never planned or anything. I didn’t go to school for it or take any class or anything. I just woke up one day and started tapping into the gift, slowly but surely.
How do you balance humor with certain restrictive aspects of Nigerian traditional culture?
Once you command and demand respect from the beginning of the event, letting it be clear that you may be younger than them but you’re able to grab their attention, and you’re fully in charge, everything usually flows easily from there. Once in a while though, you’re bound to run into some older folks who love going against the grain just to shove the age thing in your face.
Do you worry about staying funny?
Not really, I have plans of venturing into other things besides just comedy so I believe and hope the hunger and fire will always be there, regardless of what I’m doing at any given time.
As your career grows, are you anxious about the responsibilities that come with fame?
To a certain extent, yes; like they say, with great success comes great responsibility. Humans in general are very demanding, so I know a lot will be required of me. I just hope and pray I’m well equipped to meet those demands and responsibilities in the very best ways possible.