“A Week In The Life” is a weekly Zikoko series that explores the working-class struggles of Nigerians. It captures the very spirit of what it means to hustle in Nigeria and puts you in the shoes of the subject for a week.
The subject for today is Maryam Apaokagi, popularly known as Taaooma. She’s a comedian, video director, recent ex-corps member, and the hottest comic sensation on the block. She walks us through what a typical day in her life looks like.
The first thing I do when I wake up every morning is to pray. Then I eat. Followed by work. Work involves going to my favourite place in the world: the studio. In the studio, I get to do what I love the most, which is video editing. It helps that my studio is in the same building where I live so, sometimes; I sleep off there. That’s kuku where I spend all my time because I’m always editing one video or the other.
I am up till 4 am today editing a video because it is due soon. I edit myself because no one can do it to my satisfaction. I pay attention to the little details and seeing a video come together is something I really enjoy. If I did not enjoy editing, I’d have probably not been a comedian. I started acting because I needed material to work with while editing. So, acting is my way of getting material to practise my editing skills.
The only other things I do apart from editing are sleep and eat. Editing takes a lot of energy and when I am done, I just want to sleep. While editing, I take breaks at intervals to go to the kitchen and eat. It’s just that I can’t eat my favourite food which is Amala and Gbegiri every day, if not. Sometimes, I play Mortal Kombat when I need to relax. But if my brain is hot and I need to cool down, I go to the mall or go out to play before returning to the work.
I can’t help but remember one shoot that made my brain hot – the collaboration video with Twyse.
That day was super stressful. We started shooting around 8 pm and we didn’t finish until around 1 am the next day. I have one mic because I shoot for just one person and on the day of the shoot, I did not make plans for a second mic. So, we had to share a mic. Imagine playing several characters while sharing one mic – We’d shoot his part, change mic. I’d also shoot my own part and exchange mic. There was one part where we had to speak at the same time, with only one mic. That was very stressful.
I am just happy that it was worth the stress at the end of the day. Before adding background music, effects and all the other things to that video, I was already laughing. Normally, I don’t like to think about whether a video will perform well or not, but I was rooting for that one. Sometimes, the video I expect to do well doesn’t do well, so I don’t bother. I try to enjoy myself while making the video, post it, and go. I don’t check how a lot of my videos perform because I don’t want to be disappointed.
These days, it feels like I am doing the same thing – work, pray, eat, edit, sleep. It’s only last week that was different. I finished NYSC and that was really exciting for me. It’s just that Corona spoilt everything. There was no party, no corpers to jollificate together, nothing. They chased people away after collecting the discharge certificate. Regardless of everything, finishing NYSC hale and hearty was a dream come true for me. Even though there was no celebration, I was still very happy.
I am just thinking about my future and the next step. I hope my brand grows bigger and bigger. I hope that one day, I’m able to provide employment opportunities for people. But it’s too early in the morning to be thinking about these things.
For now, the next step is to sleep. I need to be up early for prayers. Tomorrow, we go all over again.