What is A Billion Laughs

A comedy lover? Yes. A curator? Yes. A producer? Yes. A distributor? Yes. A Billion Laughs is an entertainment company that produces and distributes comedy shows. A Billion Laughs was founded by a former comedian who became drawn to the challenges comedians faced, off and on the stage. Infact, our first comedy special, Caveat Venditor: This Joke Is For Sale, explored the highs and lows of young comedians in Nigeria. It was a comedy show about comedy. The performances were a little rough around the edges and the show recording, crappy. But this early effort was a way to show how much comedy matters and how much comedy matters to us. It was a love letter to comedy.

Comedy is catharsis and play. Comedy makes hard truths easier to hear. Comedy exposes hypocrisy. Comedy opens our eyes to experiences that may not be our own. Comedy facilitates community. Comedy challenges the status quo when protocol protects the powerful.

Knowing the power that comedy wields, we aim to be the best at creating comedy shows and distributing them. We simply don’t want to do anything without high quality. We don’t abide by the laws of the attention economy or the algorithm because that drives a “quantity over quality” type of content. We don’t want to feel like we have to churn out ‘content’ even if it’s below our standards of quality.

Our pitch to comedians is

‘Come create the best work of your life’. We’re asking them to spend their days making work no one else is making. High-quality, distinctive work for an audience that cares.

Our pitch to audience is

‘Come let’s help you be intentional in determining your comedy diet’. We are asking them to spend time with artists they deeply value. To spend time with high-nutrition ‘content’.

Just as we strive to make work that is evergreen and unmoved by fads, our distribution approach has to offer an alternative to a virtual world of fast moving pictures and videos. In order to spread our work, we would often need the undivided attention of our audience as well as their money.

Our live shows have always been ticketed but starting with Dexmond’s Servant Of The Most High, our comedy specials would now be accessed for a fee. Great work is valuable and deserves to be rewarded with money. Money is the fuel that makes our entire engine work, and it’s a healthier, more honest metric than “eyeballs” or engagement. It’s no longer about the number of people we can get to click on our reels. It’s about the number of people who see it and love it and are willing to pay for more of it. We believe that comedy has intrinsic value and that it doesn’t have to be given away for free. This is the kind of company we want to be.

Our core purpose is to make the best work and to model work as a way to love.
We aim to not only make the best work but to also model work as a way to love. We believe work is a way to love our creators, community and customers. This core belief permeates our organization, from how we make art to how we make profits. There is a crisis – the rise in the number of workers who earn below the living wage as well as those for whom work has become the centerpiece of their identity. This crisis has  eroded basic worker welfare and depleted the quality of life of workers. While we believe that every worker has a responsibility to choose their work and employer, there is a greater imperative and even incentive for an employer to work towards better conditions for their workers. Every worker is a person, first and foremost. Every person has equal value, whatever their position within society or their role within an organization. But if a worker’s job is so all-consuming that it makes him or her unable to participate well at home or in wider society, then an employer is undermining the worker’s social agency. If a worker’s job is so under-rewarded that it makes him or her unable to afford living expenses, then an employer is undermining the worker’s wellbeing. And if a worker’s job is both all-consuming and under-rewarded, which is many times the case, an employer is undermining the worker’s personhood. 

A Billion Laughs aims to use the resources we have – our art, our business and our community – to do something about this work crisis. 

As a young organization, we are still working out how best we can be part of the solution. For now, one thing we will do, apart from speaking, writing and “joking” about it, is to use 1% of our annual revenue to improve the work-lives of Nigerians. We hope to use this contribution to support innovative work that addresses the root causes of the work crisis. From writers to policy workers to NGOs, we will give grants to individuals and organizations that approach this crisis with a commitment to long term change.

Join us in our mission by buying comedy specials, live show tickets and becoming ABL Friends.

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