Houston is the reason Chinedu Ogu is so funny
Jan. 10, 2021Updated: Jan. 10, 2021 1:34 p.m.
Comedian Chinedu Ogu is Houston-born and raised, a fact that’s hard to miss if you’ve ever listened to his jokes.
Houston native Chinedu Ogu has wanted to be a comedian since around the age of 6, but he says what sealed the deal was the time he managed to make the entire crowd laugh during his high school talent show.
“We didn’t grow up in the best neighborhood,” Ogu said. “Comedy was always my escape from the things we had to go through. Growing up in the environment we were in, it was always like my safe space.”
He did stand-up for the first time at 16, and that experience marked a moment of clarity: He had found what he wanted to do for the rest of his life.
Ogu said he had every intention of pursuing stand-up comedy full-time after high school, but his dad got wind of his plans and “kind of scared me out of my dreams.”
He ended up attending the University of Houston, which Ogu says he enjoyed. But eventually, when he got laid off from a job shortly after graduating, he decided to make comedy happen again in 2012.
Houston doesn’t have a plethora of comedy clubs, so he opted to perform at places such as churches and community events. Then he connected closely with fellow comedian Kevin Fredericks.
“My friend KevOnStage was the person who really helped me figure things out in terms of where to go in order to get that kind of stage time to work on my presence and my craft, and also utilize social media as a space for comedy too,” he said. “Not being able to use every stage like I wanted to, I used social media as my stage.”
When he isn’t referencing the Bayou City directly in his stand-up, Ogu likes to talk about the life he lived because of it.
“In my comedy, I always talk about my life and how I grew up and my perspective on things,” he said. “I never try to write jokes about different things I don’t know about, just my perspective.”
While his comedy isn’t all about Houston, the city has impacted Ogu in a major way and he wants it to be known through his work that he will always be grateful and has a great deal of love for it.
“For a lot of entertainers, they usually have to leave to blow or be successful,” he said, noting the number of people who move to New York and Los Angeles in order to catch their big break. “But for me, it was the opposite. I was able to meet next level because of my hometown.”
Ogu said he’s been influenced by the works of legendary comedians like Martin Lawrence and Jim Carrey.
Some of Ogu’s most legendary influences throughout his journey as a comedian have been Martin Lawrence, Sinbad, Keenan Ivory Wayans, Eddie Murphy, Jim Carrey, Dave Chappelle, Will Ferrell and Steve Carell, he said.
Tony Baker once called Ogu the “hardest working man” on Instagram. Baker, in case you’re unfamiliar, is an amazing comedian, according to Ogu.
If you’re looking to pursue comedy, Ogu has some advice: Consistency is important. Believe in yourself and understand that you have to fall in love with the process in order to get there.
“The work that many people try to avoid to get to where they want to get to or the easy way out, that long road is what’s needed to get there,” he said. “Fall in love with that process, and once you fall in love with the process and you love what you do, the money won’t be the focus. Then the real creativity will come out.”
The money and success will come from there, he said.