Teju Babyface whose real/full name is Gbadewonuola Olateju Oyelakin was born on January 20, 1979.He is a Nigerian political satirist, inspirational speaker, talk show host, Master of Ceremonies, television producer.
Teju started out as an actor and then became a successful stand up comedian. These days he’s widely known as a talk show host. He is widely known as the creator and host of The Teju Babyface Show, a talk show built in mold of American talk shows that showcases the best elements of the African society.
Teju was born and raised up in Lagos, Nigeria. He attended Corona School Apapa, Federal Government College Ogbomoso and the University of Lagos where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Insurance.
According to Teju ‘I never set out to read Insurance. As a matter of fact, I was largely uninterested in all the courses that were on offer and I left the choice of my major to my parents who put in for accounting whereupon I was offered Insurance, which we had to take. In Nigeria, you don’t turn down university admission of any kind and surely not into the University of Lagos in the golden ‘strike free’ days of Late Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Jelili Adebisi Omotola’.
Teju’s first foray into entertainment was as a member of Theatre 15, a vocational acting outfit made up of other students whilst he was in the University. They would rehearse and put on plays in the school’s art theatre for other students and it was during one of such performances, in his second year, that he came to the attention of Award-winning director, Tade Ogidan who was looking to cast the main character in the block-buster movie, Diamond Ring.
Teju auditioned for the role and was selected and the movie was released to critical acclaim. Whilst he would enjoy a lot of recognition from movie goers across Nigeria, it did nothing to help his dreams of being an actor. ‘I kept waiting for something to happen’, he says, ‘and when it never did, I tried to make it happen by going to meet the established directors of that day but nothing I did seemed to work’.
He would eventually get another chance to act a year later as in much the same way. He came to the attention of another legendary director, Amaka Igwe, whilst acting in a play directed by Bunmi Davies at the Muson Center in Lagos. After several auditions, he was given the role of ‘Des’ in Amaka’s forthcoming hit, ‘Solitaire’.
Despite the huge production budget and impressive line up of stars (including Richard Mofe-Damijo, Keppy Ekpenyong, Ireti Doyle, Barbara Soky and others), all the great expectations for Solitaire were not met as the series hit television screens years behind schedule.
In Teju’s words, ‘the lateness of its release was not even a problem with Solitaire as the production was so good and would have eventually become a phenomenon. The problem was that it was stopped just after a quarter or so and was not given the chance to gain enough momentum’. In the same period, whilst waiting for Solitaire to hit the screens, he acted in another TV series called ‘One Too Much’ with a then unknown Desmond Elliot which was received by viewers averagely.
During these times, Teju soon realized that whilst acting was greatly dependent on being cast in any role by producers and directors, stand-up comedy was a field that offered perhaps equal fame and fortune with a freedom to perform that he would never find in acting and so he took a friend up on an offer to act as the Emcee for a departmental end of year whilst in the university. He enjoyed the experience so much that he spent less time trying to act and focused more on comedy and was soon rewarded with success and recognition.
In September 2012, Teju Babyface married his beau – model, former pageant winner and former contestant of MBGN, Tobi Banjoko.
The Teju Babyface Show
In 2010 Teju developed The Teju Babyface Show, which became an instant hit on television in Nigeria and beyond. He had always been of the opinion that stand-up comedy was a means to an end and after a decade as one of Nigeria’s headline stand-up comedy acts, he saw the show as the perfect way to impact and influence more people. The very first of its kind in Nigeria, the show brought an infusion of late night American television with hints of recent projects like the Ellen DeGeneres, Steve Harvey and Arsenio Hall Shows to African television. In production for its 6th Season, the show has played host to many celebrities and important personalities and remains an original African offering with such features as the theme music (Eri Okan/Conscience by King Sunny Ade) introducing viewers to a glimpse of the African soul
Contact him from his facebook account