Ayo Makun Biography: Ayodeji Richard Makun, whose stage name is AY, is a popular Nigerian actor and comedian. He has also worked as a radio and TV presenter. AY’s portfolio extends to screenwriting and producing movies. Ayo Makun (a short form of his birth name) has been in the business of making people laugh and generally have a good time for over two decades now since the late 1990s.
He started out as an entertainer on campus when he was still an undergraduate. AY gained fame and was popular among those who knew him back then. He gradually made his way to the forefront of Nigeria’s entertainment and show industry. Before we look into Ayo Makun’s early life and rise to stardom, let us consider some important fact which is part of the biography of AY.
10 facts you should know about Ayo Makun, AY
- Ayo Makun, popularly called AY, will be 49 in 2020 as he was born on 19th August 1971.
- AY’s full name is Ayodeji Richard Makun and he was born in Warri but his parents are from Ondo State. AY is a Yoruba man.
- He has been married since 2008 to Mabel Makun and they have a daughter together.
- AY allegedly spent nine years at Delta State University to get a degree from the Theatre Arts Department.
- He worked for Alibaba, Gbenga Adeyinka and The Sun Newspaper before setting off on his own.
- AY’s career took off after he performed at Opa William’s show, Night of A thousand Laughs in 2006. He was subsequently named the Best Up-Coming Comedian in Nigeria that same year.
- Ayo Makun runs the AY Live show as well as AY’s Crib and AY Open Mic.
- Four of AY’s five movies are among Nollywood 10 highest-grossing movies of all time.
- In 2017, Ayo Makun won Nigeria Entertainment Award for Best Supporting Actor for A Trip to Jamaica.
- Ayo Makun is the CEO of Corporate World Entertainment Nigeria. the company is focused on curating live events as well as providing content for radio and television.
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AY Biography: Early life
AY, whose full name is Ayodeji Richard Makun, was born on 19th August 1971. He is from Ifon, Ose local government of Ondo State where his parents are also from. AY is Yoruba despite many times claiming to be from Warri in many of his jokes and statements. However, most of his formative years were spent in Warri, Delta State, which gives an explanation as to why he is always found shouting, “Warri! Warri! Warri!”
Ayo Makun was the first male child among seven children his parents gave birth to. It is likely he attended both his primary and secondary schools in Warri since that was where he mostly grew up.
After secondary school education, AY got admission into the Theatre Arts Department of the Delta State University. It is from there onward that Ayo found that he has a thing for the stage. The comedian allegedly spent nine years at the university, which was nearly more than double the years required to normally graduate. And he seems to be rather popular too as he was awarded The Most Fashionable Student on Campus in 1999 and 2000.
As his talent was made manifest he was recognised as The Most Celebrated Student on Campus in 2001. He also won the Best Showbiz Promoter Award in 2001. Then he claimed the Jaycee Club Socio-Cultural Personality Award and also The Most Celebrated Theatre Arts Student in 2003, the same year he graduated from the school.
Another clue into Ayo’s fame during his University days was that he was the first graduating student to direct a convocation production in the history of the Theatre Arts Department of the Delta State University.
Ayo Makun AY Biography: Early professional career
On graduation from the university, AY had to switch from being the campus entertainer to a bigger stage. It was not easy but he found a niche he could execute perfectly. He started off by imitating then-popular Rev Christopher Oghenebrorie Okotie, usually called Rev. Chris Okotie. Rev. Okotie is a Nigerian televangelist and the pastor of the Household of God Church International Ministries, a Pentecostal congregation in Lagos since February 1987.
The reverend had a special way of talking and Ayo Makun seized on this in most of his performances, which immediately endeared him to fans who found it extremely funny.
From then on he had the privilege of meeting veteran comedian Ali Baba. Ali Baba, whose full name is Atunyota Alleluya Akpobome, is a Nigerian stand-up comedian and actor. Working with him, Ayo Makun was exposed to many of the inner workings of becoming a top comedian in the Nigerian comedy business. However, he also offered his early mentor some services.
With his wit and talent for entertainment, AY became Ali Baba Akporobome’s personal assistant and event manager at the time. He also got the chance to perform at Ali Baba’s Fans Club show at Victoria Garden City (VGC).
Ayo Makun got his best chance when he performed at a comedy show, Night of A Thousand Laughs, hosted by Opa Williams in 2006. He grabbed the opportunity and hit gold. Ever since then, he kept on rising to the top of the game. Not long after, he became known not just in Delta State but all over Nigeria and by the end of 2006, AY was named the Best Up-Coming Comedian in Nigeria.
But Ali Baba was not the only comedian that played a major role in AY’s professional development. The entertainer also wrote for Gbenga Adeyinka’s Laff Mattaz. Gbenga Adeyinka is a multi-award-winning Nigerian actor, comedian, radio and TV presenter, writer, and MC. He hails from Abeokuta in Ogun State and he usually refers to himself as CFR and now GCON. CFR means (Comedian of the Federal Republic) and GCON means (Grand Comedian of Nigeria).
AY Makun also worked for The Sun Newspaper writing a column titled AY Wire as a guest columnist.
At a time, Ayo Makun also presented The AY Live on The Morning Drive every Friday from 6 am to 10 am on Rhythm 93.7 FM, Lagos.
Ayo Makun Biography: Later professional career
This is a yearly concert where Ayo Makun thrill fans with rib-cracking jokes along with performances by other comedians, artistes and dancers. The first edition was held in 2006 in Lagos and though it was not a memorable one, the second edition was. The turnout for AY Live 2007 at the Muson Center Lagos was so huge that AY had to hold the show for two days instead of the one day he had planned.
Again, in 2009, Ayo Makun shook the city of Abuja with his AY Live Abuja Invasion concert. It became the most attended entertainment show the federal capital territory (FCT) had ever witnessed. It is also memorable as Comedian Seyi Law used the opportunity to launch himself into stardom as well.
The AY Show
This is a televised TV show run by the top comedian himself. It has been running for more than a decade now and has been described as “… arguably the best Comedy Show on Nigeria TV.”
The AY Show airs on AY TV, which is available daily on HI TV across Nigeria and other countries as well. It had won the Best TV Comedy Award in 2008.
AY said he had been inspired to start the show after travelling abroad and seeing a CD of the Chris Rock Show. He then decided to start something like that in Nigeria.
In 2009, a year after his awards claiming feat, the comedian was appointed a UN Peace Ambassador. Ambassadors for Peace are leaders from all walks of life, dedicated to building a worldwide community of peace through applying the principles of peace of the Universal Peace Federation. The award honours achievement and signifies a new appointment to a mission to serve the common good.
AY’s Open Mic Challenge
This is an initiative that Ayo Makun set up to help upcoming comedians find their audience and become stars. AY had said once about this programme:
“If I have something to give because, at some point in time, I was like them where the likes of Ali Baba was there to give me. I know God will definitely punish me if I can collect from people and I am not willing to give to others. For me, I create opportunities, I am not the one who gave them the talent, they have the talent, all they need is a platform. So, if I have a platform other people should use the platform.”
It had produced popular comedians like Seyi Law, MC Shakara, Elenu and Emeka Smith.
Ayo Makun biography: AY TV and movies careers
Television Series: AY’s Crib
Following his success on stage, AY Makun, the ever-creative entertainer decided to venture into the TV business. He started out by putting together a show titled AY’s Crib, which first aired in March 2013. Almost every artiste that plays a part in the comedy series has become quite a big name in the Nigeria entertainment industry. Some artiste Ayo Makun acts with are Alex Ekubo, Venita Akpofure, Buchi Franklin and Justice Nuagbe.
The sitcom follows the life of AY, who lives in a house with his two university friends, a distant cousin and a rich spoilt girlfriend.
It has been running since March 2013 after the first episode was aired. Alexx Ekubo won the 2016 Late Ambassador Segun Olusola NBMA for Actor of the Year for his acting in AY’s Crib.
Having successfully explored the various ways to market his talent, Ayo Makun popularly called AY moved into producing movies. And just like his other ventures, the comedian has also been and continues to be successful as a filmmaker and actor. So far, AY has churned out five hilarious comedy movies, most of which have been successful at the box office as well won awards.
1. 30 Days in Atlanta
The first movie AY produced was 30 Days in Atlanta in 2014 and it was directed by Robert O. Peters. The movie was about Akposa (Ayo Makun) who won a 30-day holiday for two to Atlanta, Georgia, USA and decided to take his cousin Richard (Ramsey Nouah) with him on a hilarious soul-searching vacation.
First released in the United States, the movie made N163 million at the box office. It also won Africa Movie Academy Award for Best Comedy and City People Movie Award for Best Movie of the Year (English).
2. A Trip to Jamaica
Ayo Makun’s next movie was A Trip to Jamaica. In this movie, he plays the lead character trying to propose to his girlfriend (Funke Akindele) during the trip. Both of them encountered many adventures in a movie filled with action, suspense mystery and fun.
Again, it was directed by Robert O. Peters and released in Nigeria. It did not do as well as 30 Days in Atlanta at the Box Office but it won awards. It clinched the Nigeria Entertainment Award for Best Supporting Actor and the Nigeria Entertainment Award for Best Actress.
3. 10 Days in Sun City
AY Makun produced his third movie in 2017, just a year after A Trip to Jamaica. It was directed by Adze Ugha based on a screenplay written by Kehinde Ogunlola. Many popular stars featured on the set including Richard Mofe-Damijo, Adesuwa Etomi Wellington, Mercy Johnson, Innocent Idibia (2face Idibia), Folarin Falana, Faithia Balogun and Gbenro Ajibade.
However, the movie was not as successful at the box office as 30 Days in Atlanta. It was, however, nominated for City People Movie Award for Best Movie of the Year (English).
4. Merry Men: The Real Yoruba Demons
In 2018, Ayo Makun released his fourth movie titled Merry Men. This was at a time when the slang Yoruba Demons was trendy. The movie, directed by Toka MacBaror, immediately caught attention. It was about four promiscuous businessmen who schemed to save the poor people of a village after a corrupt politician challenges them.
It featured the likes of Ayo Makun, Folarin Falana, Ramsey Nouah, Richard Mofe-Damijo and Jim Iyke. On the first weekend of its release, the movie made N36.89 Million and went on to make a total of N228 million at the box office.
5. Merry Men 2
In December 2019, AY Makun released a sequel to the first Merry Men movie. The sequel was directed by Moses Inwang. It features the same group of four businessmen who now have to run their business. On its opening weekend, Merry Men 2 made about N36 million at the cinema.
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Currently, Ayo Makun has four movies among the top ten list of highest-grossing Nigerian movies according to a Wikipedia ranking.
AY has also starred in many movies such as Being Mrs Elliot, The Wedding Party, American Driver and The Accidental Spy.
Ayo Makun Biography: Entrepreneurship
Ayo Makun, known by stage name AY, is also the chief executive officer of Corporate World Entertainment (CWE), Nigeria.
Corporate World Entertainment is a media and entertainment organisation focused on curating live events as well as providing content for radio and television.
CWE also helps show organisers to easily book the biggest names in music, comedy and entertainment industries in Nigeria. It has been operating for over 15 years and has gradually grown to be recognised in Nigeria as the producer of top-notch award-winning comedic content.
Corporate World Entertainment sponsors the annually sold-out AY Live, AY’s annual Comedy and Music Concerts.
According to NDMb, the show is the most attended Concert in Lagos, out-selling for the 5th Consecutive time the 6,000-Capacity Eko Convention Hall of Eko Hotels and Suites.
CWE is also in charge of producing the AY Live VCD’s (the Nation’s highest-selling comedy VCD’s) and Nigeria’s most-watched Comedy TV show, The AY Show. AY Comedy Skits and AY’s Open Mic Comedy Club are other products in the studios’ portfolio.
in addition to all these, AY is also an owner of a clubhouse. He is a foremost investor in the stand-up comedy in the country.
Ayo Makun Biography: personal life
AY got married to Mabel Makun on 29th November 2008. The Nigerian comedian Ayo Makun celebrated his eleventh wedding anniversary with his beautiful wife, Mabel on Friday, November 29, 2019. Ayo Makun has a daughter named Michelle.
Ayo Makun Biography: controversies and criticisms
In 2014, rumours spread that AY’s success can be attributed to rituals. However, there was nothing worthy of note about the rumours.
Despite the financial successes of Ayo Makun’s movies, movie critics have pointed out that most of them have shallow plots. They also accuse the comedian of parading all-star casts to just get attention.
AY net worth
After researching thoroughly online, we found no trusted source that publishes Ayo Makun’s net worth. However, many online blogs and magazines claim that the talented comedian and entrepreneur popularly called AY is worth about $94 million. As we said, this is mere speculation and should be taken with a pinch of salt.
Ayo Makun is, however, a wealthy entertainer as is evident from the success of his various shows and events. Also, AY secured a multimillion naira endorsement deal with Haven Homes as a brand ambassador, which was reportedly worth 60 million naira in 2011. There was also an endorsement from top Nigerian telecommunications company Globacom in 2015.
Final thoughts …
Ayo Makun turned out to be a successful comedian because he is innovative, enterprising and always find ways to make use of every opportunity he comes across. AY also uses his platform to launch the careers of upcoming comedians. He is a profound example of someone who has been able to adapt his talent across different media platforms.
Ayo Makun has basically placed his stamp all over stand-up comedy, skits, shows, tv production and movies. As a highly successful entertainer, he has won many awards and has amassed wealth in the process.
Bonus Ayo Makun Information
Ayo Makun Awards
Comedian of the year: Diamond Awards for Comedy
Comedian of the year: Teens Favorite
Comedian of the year: MBG Abuja Merit Awards
Comedian of the year: National Daily Awards
Comedian of the year: Arsenal Award for Excellence
Comedian of the year: Mode Men of the year Awards
UN Peace Ambassador
Comedian of the Year: Nigerian Entertainment Awards
Most creative Entrepreneur of the year, (comedy category): C.E.A.N
Best Event AY Live: NELAS Awards 2018, United Kingdom
Nigeria Entertainment Award for Best Supporting Actor for A Trip to Jamaica.
City People Movie Award for Best Movie of the Year (English) for 10 Days in Sun City.
Films Ayo Makun produced
- 2014 30 Days in Atlanta
- 2016 A Trip to Jamaica
- 2016 10 Days in Sun City
- 2018 Merry Men
- 2019 Merry Men 2
Other films AY starred In
- 2014 Being Mrs Elliot
- 2016 The Wedding Party
- 2017 American Driver
- 2017 The Accidental Spy
- 2017 The Wedding Party 2