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Interview: T-Boy

1st April 2014

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Tolulope Ogunmefun has been making us laugh for years, facilitated by his Nigerian alter-ego, T-Boy.

His YouTube vlog Don’t Jealous Me has drawn in audience from all over the world, collecting over 100, 000 subscribers and in excess of 32 million views to date.

Now, he has landed his own TV show.

The new show extends from award-winning web sitcom Meet the Adebanjoes, which portrayed the lives of an animated Nigerian family living in London and saw T Boy play goofy Cousin Femi.

Now, fans can look forward to seeing the London funnyman in The T-Boy Show on brand new channel, London Live, which launched last night.

T-Boy describes the show as "a cross between ‘Coming to America and Fresh Prince of Bel Air", inspired by the likes of My Wife and Kids.

He describes his character as “very pompous” and “just trying to make some money, trying to be an actor (which is actually what I want to do), find a girl and come to terms with the fact that it’s very, very cold in London!"

In a generation where everyone and quite literally their cat and dog has a YouTube channel, how does T-Boy find himself breaking through to TV?

"I started of just doing the little vlogs and stuff," he says. "It’s all improvised; I’ll just go in front of the camera and literally just start rapping."

The Don’t Jealous Me vlogs included a series of ‘letters’, featuring side-splitting rants inspired by the bitter annoyances of T-Boy’s everyday-life experiences.

"I started to say to myself, “I’m sure I can do more than just vlogs,” so that’s when I started to do skits."

He adds: "That was just spontaneous, there were no scripts or anything, literally I just thought – “Ok, I’ll create a scenario” and just put that together really. That all started in 2008 and we’re still kicking now!"

His short dramas became a shared platform for UK talent, showcasing the best in young actors, comedians, producers and directors. One of his most memorable performances was in collaboration with Brit comedian Adot (Afolabi Dasaolu) in a comical short film about clashing brothers, ‘Don’t Jealous Me vs. Adot’.

The ‘Smokey’s Barbers’ series was another YouTube hit, featuring fellow comedians Humza Arshad (Diaries of a Bad Man), Bricka (The Vujanic), Jazzie Zonzolo and common collaborator Adot. The series was incredibly popular and whilst T Boy stresses that “everyone’s working hard”, he promises that ‘Smokey’s Barbers’ will not be the last of their collaborations.

A guy of many talents, T-Boy has been pretty busy over the last five years – often jetting overseas to perform.

You may know that he has released a number of well-received Afrobeat tracks including ‘Talking Drum’ and ‘Somebody’, adding the title of singer to his resume. Right now however, he says comedy is his main focus but hints that “new music is a possibility.”

Comedy hasn’t always been the plan for the ambitious 24 year old - somewhat surprisingly, he was previously a nursing student. He says: "I found out I didn’t really like what I was doing, going on wards, waking up early to do placements... so I stopped."

He goes on to talk about the beginning of his career: ‘I was at a friend’s house, eating a burger," he says. "She started recording me and the first thing I said was “Don’t Jealous Me” and she was just laughing’.

What happened thereafter would be the beginning of a new career path for the young, fresh-faced Tolulope.

After making the "no-brainer" decision to leave uni, T-Boy began to pursue his passion for comedy and acting.

He appreciates his parents for supporting his diversion from the ‘conventional’ route of education, saying: "It's very rare that you will find parents who will actually encourage that."

Lately, T-Boy has turned most of his attention to his TV work, although fans can expect a relaunch of his YouTube channel later this year.

"There will definitely be some behind the scenes material coming later on this year," he says, "after the summertime.

"We’ve got some stuff coming and hopefully a documentary about all that’s going on as well.’

What has been the key ingredient to his success?

He responds without a moment’s hesitation: "Consistency, you’ve just got to remain consistent and don’t listen to what everyone else says and just focus and give it 100%.

"With time, everything’s timing – you can’t just start off something and if it doesn’t work, give up. Like Kevin Hart, it took him eight years to get to where he is, so keep on going and it will pay off."

T-Boy sends a shout out to a few of his own comedy idols: "Jim Carrey – he’s a very, very funny guy, Eddie Murphy, Martin Lawrence – obviously the man of the moment is Kevin Hart."

As for the end goal, he simply replies with ‘Hollywood.’

To see the premier of The T-Boy Show, tune into London Live (Sky 117, Virgin 159, Freeview 8, YouView 8) on Tuesday 1st April at 6pm.

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