Iconic comedian, Ayo “AY” Makun is best known for his hit show, AY Live. However, in recent years, everyone has been paying attention to his bubbly movie career. AY has had a string of hit movies since the success of 30 Days in Atlanta which was released in 2014. In this interview we talk to him about his new movie, The Accidental Spy, his work ethic, his plans for 2018 and more.
Howfana: You had great success with the movie, 30 Days in Atlanta. And since then, you’ve put out other popular titles. Was it the success of 30 Days that made you put out more movies, or was this always part of your plan?
AY: I trained in the four walls of the university. That’s what I studied, so it’s like doing what you know and doing what you studied. It’s not just about making money from 30 Days. It’s about understanding what you’re doing and getting involved in it.
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You star in these movies, but what other aspect of the production are you involved in?
I get involved in everything that has to do with my movies, from scripting to directing – you can’t direct yourself when you’re acting. But if you have an approach, you can share and communicate it because it’s your brainchild, it’s your work and you know the way you want it to come out. I get involved in production, promotion… I get involved in almost everything. I get involved in the casting. I know who I want and who I want them to play. Like I said, it’s something that I studied so it’s something that I am involved in one hundred percent.
Tell us about the new movie, The Accidental Spy.
The new movie is in conjunction with another production outfit, Peekaboo Global Consulting (not an outright Corporate World Entertainment production). It’s called the Accidental Spy. The Accidental Spy is a romantic comedy mixed with action. It’s a story that talks about how some people would want to use their power to bring down that which is necessary to society. And of course you have the antagonistic position of trying to stop them. The truth is… I want people to go see it. But the best I can tell you is that it is comedy mixed with action, and of course romance.
From your show, AY Live, to your movies and everything you do, you seem to have a way of reaching out to other entertainers easily and getting them to work with you. What’s the secret?
It’s not just a question of getting them, it’s also a question of interest. Also, people love to work with the brand. There’s a balance and it’s not just about reaching out. Reaching out is a blessing and a gift. We don’t just reach out with our mouth. We reach out with our pockets as well. If I need you to be part of a project, then it means I’ll have X,Y amount of money to pay. Then when you come on board and you enjoy working with us and a call comes through tomorrow – you probably wouldn’t wait for the call. You would be happy… because there’s an understanding, there’s a synergy. So it’s like a phone with a dual sim. It happens from my end, it happens from their end.
What’s your focus for 2018? We understand you have a new reality show with your brothers.
The Makun Brothers, that’s a reality show that’s coming on board. It’s just going to talk about AY at work, day in, day out, how I do my thing. At the same time, my younger brothers as well, Yomi who’s a respected fashion designer in this part of the world. So you’ll see Yomi Casual for his vocation, and you’re going to see Lanre Makun as well, who is also a respected showbiz promoter in this part of the world. People are going to see how we put our craft together – to inspire and to entertain others.
What philosophies or principles drive your work?
One major philosophy that drives my work is dedication. I am usually very passionate about anything that I set out to do. And I am fully dedicated to anything that I believe in. And all that makes the other parts happen; it brings in the money, brings in the joy and the kind of feedback that we get. Because if the passion is not there and I’m just forcing myself to do a thing, it won’t work.
“You need to know the area where you are strong”.
What advice would you give to younger entertainers on the come up?
I always tell people, try as much as possible to be yourself. I already talked about dedication and passion. Also, you don’t need to get involved in show business because other people are involved or because other people are making money from it. You need to understand your calling. You need to know the area where you are strong. And you need to have that basic knowledge of what you’re doing. All the awareness put together, mixed with dedication, mixed with passion and focus, and the sky will be the starting point.