Although he grew up as a class clown in Fort McMurray, when Ola Dada graduated high school, becoming a stand-up comedian was not on his radar. Instead, he was interested in studying finance.
This all changed one night when he and his friends walked into a comedy show at a pizza place. Although it wasn’t an open mic night, Dada’s friends wanted him to take the stage.
The event organizer said no, but later changed her mind. If each of Dada’s friends paid $15, she would let him take the stage for three minutes.
“So, I got a chance to go up for the first time,” said the Nigerian-born comedian.
The event organizer was impressed and began booking Dada regularly for performances.
Since then, Dada has gone on to make a name for himself in the Canadian comedy scene. He has appeared in several Just for Laugh festivals in Montreal, Vancouver, and Toronto.
He also was a runner-up in the SiriusXM Top Comic Competition, a semifinalist on Canada’s Got Talent, and he appeared on CBC’s The New Wave of Stand Up.
“I’ve been very fortunate to have people enjoy my stuff,” said Dada, whose comedy covers everything from his career as a financial planner, where he’s often mistaken for “that Nigerian Prince from your email,” to being an incognito fashionista.
Despite all his success, Dada has never taken his comedy back home to Fort McMurray until now. He will be performing for the first time at Bailey’s Pub on Nov. 10.
He is looking forward to reconnecting with old friends and making them laugh. Dada is also hoping to make time for Cosmos Pizza, a favourite of his.
As for young aspiring comics and artists in Fort McMurray, Dada has some advice.
“Try things,” he said. “Sometimes people tend to stray away from things because they fear not being good at it . . . but don’t be afraid to fail. Don’t be afraid to try new things because you never know what you’re going to like.”
Dada’s show in Fort McMurray is the last of a country-wide tour that has taken him from the east coast to the west.
In the New Year, he will be releasing a comedy special on YouTube.
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