Exalted Madness: Interrogating the Paradox of Lunacy and Fame in Akpororo’s Stand-Up Comedy

Stephen E. Kekeghe
Keywords: Stand-up comedy, exalted madness, psychopathology, paradox, Nigeria, Akpororo
Tropical Journal of Arts and Humanities 2021 3(1), 10-19. Published: February 28, 2021


Abstract

Most celebrated artistic works ranging from literary, visual and performing arts in the world history reflect both the nature of the conscious and unconscious processes which manifest in individual‟s mental and social activities. This is because moments of intense artistic meditations and creation have profound impacts on the mindscape. Absurdly, features of lunacy which are evident in the art of creation or performances are dignified as a reflection of artistic perfection. This article examines the paradox of exalted madness in selected comic performances of Jephthah Bowoto (Akpororo), one of Nigeria‟s most celebrated Stand-Up Comedians. The analysis explores psychiatric episodes from the gait, utterances and physical dispositions of the performer, foregrounding the thin line between genius arts and psychosis. The researcher relies on Akpororo‟s comedy series in YouTube, which are transcribed and analysed, bringing to the fore, indices of deviation from normal mental composition. Effort is also made to examine the socioeconomic factor that engenders such radical drift from normal human behaviours as evident in the comic performances of the aforementioned Stand-Up Comedian. The analytical content relies on the psychoanalytic theory which helps to penetrate the inner-life of the character or performer. Besides the humour embedded in the selected comedic performances, the researcher argues that such mock-madness is an indication of how poverty does intense blow on the individual‟s mentation, stressing that s/he could employ every mental resources to attain prosperity and fame. This rare energy and deviation from the norms of mental composition as a means of navigating the route of success and fame constitutes the examined paradox in this article.