‘Last One Laughing Naija’, exposes Nigerian comedians’ struggle between natural and scripted humour

Omoleye Omoruyi
Last One Laughing
Last One Laughing (IMG: Prime Video)

When Basketmouth began a series he titled ‘No Laff Challenge‘, who would have suspected he was putting himself on the hot seat for a new series on Prime called ‘Last One Laughing‘, a show that would put Nigerian comedians on the hot seat for six hours.

In case you missed the memo, ‘LOL: Last One Laughing Naija’ comedy show is a six-part unscripted comedy series produced by Prime Video. Basketmouth hosts the show and features 10 of Nigeria’s top comedians competing to be the last one laughing.

The comedians are challenged to make each other laugh while trying not to laugh themselves. The first person to laugh is eliminated, and the last one laughing wins the grand prize of ₦‎40 million – to be given to charity.

The challenges on the show are designed to make the comedians laugh. Some of the challenges include: telling jokes, acting out scenes, making impressions, and playing games.

The cast of comedians includes Sabinus, Taaooma, Igosave, Kiekie, Okey Bakassi, Dat Warri Girl, Acapella, Buchi, Gandoki, and Senator.

Last One Laughing

LOL is a sequel and adaptation of Prime Video’s global hit comedy franchise currently produced in over 20 countries like Canada, Australia, Mexico, Brazil, and South Africa.

What we think

Well, if you have been to comedy shows in Nigeria, you already know that people will roll on the floor laughing their a** out, while at certain points, you wonder what exactly the comedian is doing on stage.

In fact, you realise that some comedians are not made for the stage, and others not for comedy skits, some should stick to film and on like that.

That is why it is exciting to see some of them understand their strengths and put them on their heads like Champions League fans.

Read also: 6 ‘old but gold’ movies to stream on Netflix and Prime Video this July

‘Last One Laughing’ shows weaknesses, one of which is that there are comedians who are exceptional on stage but cannot, off stage, make anyone laugh. Even Basketmouths ‘No Laff Challenge’ showed that.

YouTube player

The casting is good – A mix of stand-up comedians and skitmakers (or content creators who remind us of our experiences). So you get to see, on stage, if your favourites can laugh at what they dish out.

For context, you will see and hear some of the same things you experience in their comedy shows, including shaming sex workers, making fun of Nigerian stereotypes, using explicit language (even though there is a 16+ warning), doing clowny things, etc.

Interestingly, those are some of the things that make Nigerians laugh like they lost their teeth, but we all know laughter is just a coping mechanism for the sadness that Nigeria is all about. Real comedy is rare in Nigeria, but we take what we get, right? I mean, look at Nollywood.

Some of the things that would count as original in a Nigerian setting include telling jokes that are relatable to Nigerian culture – jokes about Nigerian food, Nigerian celebrities, or Nigerian social customs; using wordplay and puns that play on Nigerian words and phrases; acting out funny scenarios that are based on Nigerian experiences; and so on.

This is what the audience may like to see, but ‘Last One Laughing’ is a great attempt at a TV show, and we are undoubtedly intrigued, especially as it takes us away from the regular scripted shows and allegedly simulated reality shows like Big Brother Naija.

However, a price tag and a housemate setting leave little room for the comedians to wow the audience.

The original: Here, we see how witty Nigerian comedians can be if they are given a blank script to work with. But we still cannot be too sure as it is not a live show.

The forced: For the first two episodes, you’ll see your favourites forcing themselves to act out or say funny things like they did not know it was unscripted and is supposed to be a comedy show. In fact, for the first few minutes, they only walked around the room, looking for nothing lost.

Stream or skip?

‘Last One Laughing’ could make you laugh and fall off your chair. So, no carry last, watch am and keep streaming every Friday, and you may eventually be wowed.

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