Houstonian Tales: Ku Egenti
It wasn’t too long ago that this series of articles fell under a different name, where the main focus was interviewing comics from or based in our fine city. When that was the case, I knew there’d be a couple of comics that I’d wished we would have gotten to, if not for their onstage antics, but more so for their life story. Because our city is so diverse, we have many people calling Houston home who weren’t born here, but who seem to have astonishing tales of how they came to be Houstonians. One of those people is comic Ku Egenti. In a short time frame, he went from being a Nigerian kid living on a new continent, to filling rooms as a stand up comic. The fact that he did so with more determination and ease than most people who were born here, made me want to find out which of his stories were jokes, and which were actually true.
FPH: You were born in Nigeria, how long have you been in the states?
KU EGENTI: I was born in Lagos, Nigeria and I’ve been living in the states for over 18 years.
FPH: What’s the number one misconception people here have about people from Africa?
KU EGENTI: They constantly ask me, “do you walk around naked outside?”
FPH: How long had you been living here before you decided to get into standup and what made you want to do standup?
KU EGENTI: I started comedy in 2008 in Memphis, Tennessee. I did it off a dare by my son’s mother at the time. She told me I couldn’t do stand up in front of strangers and I was determined to prove her wrong. The rest is history.
FPH: You have a joke about women in Houston having sex for Taco Bell…is any of that true?
KU EGENTI: Yes I do and it’s 100% true. I lost my virginity when I was 20 years old. It happened on my birthday weekend, my best friend at the time told it would be a great idea for me to have sex with his side piece. I truly didn’t know what to expect because I’d never seen a naked lady before. My friend decided to call her and put the phone on speaker, so I heard the conversation and it went like this; “Hi, I got my boy from Nigeria. He’s a virgin and needs some sex from you.”
“Hell yeah! I’ll do it with no problem.“
“How much you want?“
“I’ll sleep with him for Taco Bell.”
So, when I heard that, it blew my mind and I couldn’t believe American women would sleep with you for some soft tacos from Taco Bell. But never the less, it was a horrible sexual experience, but I’m still a fan of Taco Bell.
FPH: You lost your job at a car dealership and it turned out to be the best thing for your comedy career. How long had you been unemployed before you decided to do comedy full time?
KU EGENTI: When that happened, I didn’t know what I was going to do. I decided to persue this full time since I finally had the time to do it. I became a full time comic over a year ago and it’s been the best thing to ever happen to me.
FPH: You’ve sold out shows at Joke Joint multiple times, you’ve played all over the state of Texas, and you’ve done several comedy fests..what’s next in your game plan?
KU EGENTI: Hopefully, I would like to become national touring comic and eventually an international one as well some day.
FPH: Kevin Hart recently said that when one person in front doesn’t laugh, it throws him off. Do you ever focus on just one person or is everyone your focus when you do a set?
KU EGENTI: I totally agree with Kevin Hart, one person can absolutely throw you off as a comic. Especially if you’re doing well at the time but the competitor in you wants to make everyone in the building laugh. But, you can’t please everyone, you know. So you try to get over it and move on.
FPH: You have about an hour’s worth of material, have you considered dropping an album anytime soon?
KU EGENTI: Absolutely. I am working on dropping one in the end of the year, Lord willing.
FPH: Growing up in Nigeria, did you ever think you’d be doing standup comedy as a profession?
KU EGENTI: Nope. It never crossed my mind. I was too busy skipping school and watching too many kung fu movies.
The fact that Ku is touring and headlining shows is nothing short of amazing. His determination and upbeat spirit truly embody what it means to be an American, while his humor is always one that makes me feel like he’s a threat in the comedy world. You can catch him live when he performs at the Houston’s All Star Show at Houston Improv on April 20th, at Joke Joint Comedy Showcase on May 8th, and at MATCH theater on May 20th.