Atunyota Alleluya Akpobome popularly known by his stage name as Ali Baba is a famous Nigerian stand-up comedian, television host, master of ceremony, actor and a television personality. He has been described as the king of comedy in Nigeria and currently the founding father of Nigerian comedy industry.
He was born on 24th June 1965 in Warri, Delta State in the south southern part of Nigeria. He is currently 53 years old. Ali Baba was born in Warri, Delta State, Nigeria to the Royal family of Agbarha Otor, in Ughelli North Local Government Area of Delta State in the south southern part of Nigeria. He is the first son in a family comprising of many girls.
His father is a retired military officer and a soldier who served in Lagos State in the south western part of Nigeria. Ali Baba completed his primary school education at Ojo Primary School in Lagos State, Nigeria and obtained his First School Leaving Certificate. After completing his primary school education, Ali Baba proceeded to Command Secondary School in Lagos State, Nigeria and obtained his West African Senior School Certificate.
After completing his secondary school education, Ali Baba proceeded to Ambrose Ali University Ekpoma in Edo State, Nigeria and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Religious Studies and Philosophy in 1990. After acquiring his first degree from Ambrose Ali University Ekpoma in 1990, Ali Baba relocated to Lagos, Nigeria to hustle for survival.
While in Lagos, he decided to harness and develops his talent in comedy, having discovered his comic talent and funny behavior in his 3rd year in the University. However, he had planned to return back to Ekpoma in Edo State, Nigeria to study Law for his Master’s Degree, but unfortunately, that could not happen, since he has discovered that he could make more money on stage from making people to laugh than defending people in court.
Ali Baba began his professional career performing at corporate events, appearing on television shows and making cameo appearances on radio shows. In 1991, he worked briefly with Dapo Adelegan of DP Lekki Limited as an executive assistant and later quit the company to focus on his comedy career.
He thereafter made up his mind that he was going to do everything possible to enhance himself, improve his skills in comedy and make stand up comedy more professional.
Through his guts, determination, sacrifice and creative dynamism, Ali Baba carved a niche for himself as a comedian for both corporate and non-corporate events. In less than 4 years, he had also become the preferred Master of Ceremony in many events in Nigeria. He is currently the highest paid comedian Nigeria.
In 1993, he registered his company “Alibaba Hicuppuray 3rd” which he uses in training and showcasing new generations of comedians in Nigeria. In an interview he stated that being funny is serious business.
Ali Baba has supported, mentored and presented several upcoming comedians in Nigeria, thereby helping them to ensure that standards are maintained and professionalism encouraged. Ali Baba has been described as the king of comedy in Nigeria and has been a professional standup comedian for the past 30 years and has received several awards both locally and international.
In 2001, he won the award for Best Outstanding Performance at the Laughter Awards in Baziks Theatre, Abuja, the capital city of Nigeria. In 2002, he received an award for his immense contribution to the comedy industry in Nigeria at the Laughter Incorporated Awards. In 2003, he won Achievers Merit Award at the Delta State University in Abraka. In 2004, he won the Icon of Comedy award at the Pendulum Awards in Lagos State University, hosted by the National Association of Physics Student.
Other awards he has received include Comedy for Change Awards, Eric’s Entertainment Awards, 1st Nigeria Entertainment Awards, National Comedy Awards, City People Entertainment Awards, Diamond Awards for Comedy, National Daily Awards, amongst others.
In 2009, Ali Baba was inducted into the Johnnie Walker Striding Man Society, which recognizes men who have achieved great success in their chosen career and who share the steps they have taken to motivate and encourage others. In 2012, Ali Baba was given the privilege of ringing the Year End Closing Bell of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, thereby becoming the first Nigerian comedian to do so. He is also a Special Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC).
In March 2015, Ali Baba was featured on CNN African Voices, where he speaks about his goal to make Nigerian comedy industry a booming business realm. In April 2018, Ali Baba received the Paul Harris Fellowship by Rotary International for his contribution to the Nigerian Comedy industry.
Ali Baba aside from comedy is also an actor. He has acted in few Nigerian movies which include My Guy, The Last 3 Digits, Head Gone, The Wedding Party, Alakada, amongst others. Ali Baba is currently married to Mary-Bassey Udoh and the marriage is currently blessed with five lovely children.
Ali Baba is currently one of the richest and most influential comedian in Nigeria with an estimated net worth of $7 million.