“I dey laugh o!”

Does anybody remember who said that?

“I still dey laugh o”

Who said that?

Is it covered by copyright?

Is this a tagline?

Comedy is no longer a laughing matter as it is now big business.  In the early days there was Chief Chika Okpala, aka Chief Zebrudaya of the New Masquerade fame in the 80s. Then along came John Chukwu in the early 90’s.  Meanwhile, Gbenga Adeboye held sway in the comedy circuit from the 70s till he passed on. Some of the comedians we have are Basket Mouth, Patrick Doyle, Julius Agwu, Jedi, AY, Gandoki, Teju Baby Face, Mandy, Princess, Lepacious Bose, Seyi Law, Holy Mallam, Julius the Genius Agwu and Ali Baba. 

Landmarks Events…

The Opa Williams “A Night of a Thousand Laughs”…

The programme took a life of its own and the organisers excelled at brand extension by churning out a number of goods like Cds, T-Shirts and other souvenirs.

Then along came Atunyota Alleluya Akpophiohuobo Akpobomerere, better known as, King Ali Baba.

He is said to have practically rebranded the industry by giving it a new face and direction.

At the onset people were a bit conservative, but overtime, with television, travel, information technology and yes freedom of speech (democracy) the industry evolved very quickly.

In Nigeria comedians often neglect their intellectual property and its legal power and commercial potential to develop their unique images, fend off competition and maximise profits by commercialisation and extension of their brand identity.

Find below the legal regime for the protection of Intellectual Property Rights in Nigeria.

Copy Right Act, Cap. C 28 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004

Patents and Designs Act, Cap P2, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004; and

Trade Marks Act, Cap. T13 laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004


Is Comedy without Intellectual Property Protection and commercialization really a laughing matter?

Intellectual Property Registration and Enforcement Strategies:

The Nigerian Experience:

Innovative Jokes…

In other climes script writers pen the jokes that comedians perform.

Improvised routines?

One Liners?


Borrowing of Jokes/ Comedy Routines is not a laughing matter

More established comedians claim that they are getting fewer laughs when they perform because audience members have often already heard their jokes on the internet or from upcoming acts.

Intellectual Property for Borrowing…

The Federal Government under President Goodluck Jonathan released US$200 million as the Entertainment industry Fund. The Nigerian Entertainment Fund is being managed by Nigerian Export and Import Bank, NEXIM, which has since released guidelines for the operation of the Nigerian creative and entertainment Stimulation Loan Scheme.  According to the guidelines released         by        NEXIM, (

‘Applicant shall forward in addition to other requirements Collateral security / Intellectual Property Assets that are properly patented, trademarked, copyrighted, etc. to be pledged/assigned.


New Jokes in the house…

The experience in other climes:


Self help


Cease and desist letters



A Possible Paradigm shift


Basis for protection

While Nigerian Intellectual Property Right owners need to get smarter about the way they protect their I.P., there is still a foundation upon which the other strategies are built.



Which Wan Be This I.P. Sef?

Nigerian Comedians should show concern about infringement of their intellectual property, at the minimum they need to get up to date with IP and comedy.



Registration of your intellectual property is the first step to properly managing I.P.

It is not about the form of expression versus the idea in the joke, it is a fine mix of both and it all depends on what angle you are looking from, in the end a mix of I.P. Registration, social normative systems, commercialisation of Intellectual Property  rights and Intellectual Property  asset management may hold the key to the growth of the comedy industry in Nigeria.

Olufola Wusu Esq.

copyright © 2012

Counsel with Megathos Law Practice

Okay that was a mouthful…

So lets get started…Does Comedy really need Intellectual Property?

Your thoughts anyone?

Legal Disclaimer

by Olufola Wusu Esq

(1) No advice

This note contains general information about [law and legal practice]. The information is not advice, and should not be treated as such.

(2) No warranties

The legal information on this article is provided without any representations or warranties, express or implied. We make no representations or warranties in relation to the legal information on this website.

Without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing paragraph, we do not warrant that:

(a) the legal information on this article will be constantly available, or available at all; or

(b) the legal information on this article is complete, true, accurate, up-to-date, or non-misleading.

(3) Professional assistance

You must not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to legal advice from your lawyer or other professional legal services provider. If you have any specific questions about any legal matter you should consult your lawyer or other professional legal services provider. You should never delay seeking legal advice, disregard legal advice, or commence or discontinue any legal action because of information on this website.


Filed under Comedy and Intellectual Property


  1. Coming soon.

    It is going to be interactive so please share….

  2. looking forward to this 🙂

  3. fantastic Fola , so looking forward to all your online events

  4. Esther

    Let’s get the ball rolling…

  5. Oluseun Joseph

    Let’s see….I anticipate loads of legal fun… I’m definitely in

  6. I’m looking forward to it sir

  7. Adewale Olusesi


  8. Hello Folks!

    It is going to be an interactive session on Saturday
    at 19:00.

    Please visit the event armed with your questions, thoughts, suggestions, innovations and observations.

    Really think about it, whats comedy got to do with Intellectual Property?

    Laughter, patents, copyright, geographical indications and trademarks whatever do they have in common with jokes and comedians?

    “I dey laugh o!”

    Does anybody remember who said that?

    “I still dey laugh o”

    Who said that?

    Is it covered by copyright?

    Is this a tagline?

    • kjedi

      I think its about time Nigerians got serious about IP. What is unsecured today could be stolen tomorrow. And what the comedians are doing is talent…they should protect their jokes

  9. afur femmy

    Welldone bro,a good one,let’s hope they buy into it.

  10. Benjamin Bassey Esq.

    Of course comedy needs IP so as to further take their trade to further heights. We live in a country where a lawyer is viewed more as a meal ticket to be done away wit but when the chips are down, their services are now required. I have lost count of clients transactional agreements I go thru and wonder where their lawyers were. IP is big business, novel as it is, for comedians, I can only wish they read this or liaise with experts in this field for direction. Kudos to u Fola Wusu U can be sure, am in!

  11. Caleb Oghenetega

    Hmmm…very insightful. Way to go brov. Need I say you’re building…
    Well done boss. I’m in.

  12. nancy sena

    Well done. Keep it going.

  13. Ceres

    Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, i feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic.

  14. Vitamin B

    Really interesting…

  15. Bartira

    Awesome blog.

    I enjoyed reading your articles.

    This is truly a great read for me.

    I have bookmarked it and I am looking forward to reading new articles.

    Keep up the good work!

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