A skit maker, Joshua Onoh, aka Soft Jo, with 116,000 Instagram followers, tells BLESSING ENENAITE about his career, social media and other issues
Tell us about your background.
I am the last in a family of three children. I have an elder brother and sister. I was born in Surulere, Lagos, but I am from Oshimili North Local Government Area of Delta State. My mum was a pastor but she is no longer practising as one, because she has travelled out of the country. She is also a hustler who ensured that we (family) were all well. I used to be a church boy, and I play some musical instruments. But, I am not as involved in church activities like before, because I am away from home. My dad was a civil servant.
I attended Gbemic Nursery and Primary School, and Potters House, for my elementary education. My secondary school was also in Ikorodu. I am currently studying Civil Engineering at the University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
You started your music career in the church. Why didn’t you stay on that path?
When I got into the university, the area (where I lived) did not help me to express myself fully. I was still young, and the church I attended did not have a teen section. Because of that, I could not get involved musically as I did in my former church, so I decided to focus on making skits.
What inspired you to go into skit making?
It was actually not my initial plan to be a skit maker. It all started when I finished secondary school. Most of my classmates then went to look for jobs. However, I did not go down that route because I did not want to answer to anybody (as an employee). I then decided to do something productive.
Then, I used to watch a social media comedian, KlintonCod’s skits a lot, and I was a big fan of his. I enjoyed watching his skits and I proceeded to do mine.
What are the other things you do aside from skit making?
Skit making is actually a full-time job for me right now. Besides, I am still a student.
How do you create time to make skits, despite being a full-time student?
It is basically about creating time and achieving a balance. For instance, I know my time for lectures, and I also create time for making contents.
I usually have lectures from Mondays to Fridays. During the week, an idea could pop up in my head. Then, I would create time to shoot on weekends. Sometimes, I travel to Lagos to shoot for a week or two, before returning to school to continue my studies. During my time in Lagos, I would have shot about five videos consecutively. I am currently a 300 level student. I should have been in my final year, if not for the strike actions of the Academic Staff Union of Universities.
What are the challenges you face as a skit maker?
There are a quite a number of challenges I face. Currently, one of the challenges I am facing is exposure. I might have creative content, but it may not get to many people. I might not get that awareness I crave for that I need to push my career to the level I desire. For example, the Instagram algorithm is not that favourable to many content creators. For a content creator to be popular, blogs have to write stories about the person.
As an independent content creator, I don’t get the financial backing of anyone.
Has skit making been financially rewarding for you?
Yes, I make money from my skits. It is financially rewarding because I am not greedy. What I get is enough for me. I am able to pay my rent, buy food, and settle other bills. I am comfortable. I know I can make more money, and I am definitely going to do that in the coming years.
What are your major achievements as a skit maker?
I have achieved a couple of things. I am becoming more popular. There is practically no day I walk outside my house that people do not recognise me. Seeing my fans everyday and them acknowledging my works is one of the biggest achievements for me. Also, getting to work with some big brands is an achievement for me. In addition, being financially free and independent by doing what I love is a big deal for me. As long as I am alive, I can create content, and that is another big achievement for me. It is not easy conceptualising an idea and bringing it to life.
There are many skit makers in the industry. What makes your style distinct from others?
Everyone has what makes them unique. For me, my swag, charisma and facial expression stand me out. In my skits, there is a facial expression when reacting to certain things. My energy is also unique to my brand. I am not just funny; I am handsome too. I bring abstract things to life as well.
Do you have any intention to delve into acting like some of your colleagues?
That is the goal for me. I want to delve into full-time acting. I believe I will soon get a big break not just in Nollywood, but Hollywood as well. I want to take my brand global, and I am working towards that.
Some people are of the opinion that many of the skits out there lack substance. How do you ensure that fans don’t get tired of watching your skits?
I always ensure I bring in different vibes and originality in my content. I ensure I create videos that are interesting, fun-filled and attention grabbing. I believe that will make people want to see what I have to offer.
Have you ever made a skit you wished you put more work in?
Yes. When making skits, if I know I cannot get the particular materials I need, I improvise. Because of that, there were one or two ideas I could not execute because of money.
What are your most memorable moments as a skit maker?
I have had quite a lot of memorable moments. However, the most memorable of them was when my inspiration, Klinton Cod, noticed my video and followed me back on Instagram. He also encouraged me to keep up with what I was doing. It was a huge honour for me, because he was the one who inspired me to start content creation in the first place. He made me to find this part of myself. Being recognised by the top names in the industry such as Craze Clown, Sidney Talker and Nasty Blaq is a big deal to me.
Have you ever done any collaboration with them?
I have not featured them in my skits, but they have featured me in theirs.
What is your most embarrassing moment as a skit maker?
I don’t really have any. As skit makers, we even make jokes about ourselves online, and I don’t feel embarrassed about it.
Have you ever felt like giving up?
Yes, on many occasions (laughs); especially when I post a video and the algorithm does not favour me. Also, I feel like giving up when I spend a lot of money on a video and I don’t get the engagements I need. At times like that, I get moody and I just sleep. Recently, I have been able to better control it, and I have come to the realisation that things like that should not weigh me down. Most times, when a video does not get the right engagements that I need, I spend time with my friends.
What keeps you going?
I don’t let the present situation determine my outcome. Also, I always feel there are better times ahead. I believe that God has better plans for me. I was not where I used to be yesterday. In addition, I have supportive people around me, which include my family members. They are people I can talk to, cry out to, and they would listen to me. I also have supportive friends I can talk to too.
Who are your role models in the industry?
KlintonCod is one of them, and I highly respect him because I saw something in myself through him. Sydney Talker is also one of the big names who follow me on social media. He even started following me before KlintonCod did. That was in 2019 when I had just 8,000 followers on Instagram. He usually shared my videos. He is one of the people I look up to in the industry. Another person is Nasty Blaq.
What are your other areas of interest?
I am a businessman. I like buying and selling. I always look for things that are not available that I can provide because I believe when one can meet the demands for something, one can create wealth. Aside from looking out for skit ideas, I also look out for business ideas.
How do you unwind?
I play games, I cook very well, and I hang out with my friends. I like my alone time as well, which I use it to watch movies.