MCPC hosting community event
MCPC hosting community event. Credit: Courtesy of MCPC

For the last 15 years Polycarp Akhigbe has been steadfast in his commitment to producing live comedy shows that cultivate and showcase the talents of creatives in the African diaspora.

Akhigbe, also known by his stage name MCPC, is a Houston-based, multi-talented stand-up comedian, event producer and master of ceremonies, who began his professional journey filling a need for more family-oriented comedy shows in the community.

“Houston has a large Nigerian population along with quality talent to match,” he said. “The Nigeria entertainment industry is taking the world by storm, and the cultural influence can be seen in music with the rise of Afrobeats, television shows and movies, and comedy is steadily making waves.”

MCPC hosting a wedding ceremony.
MCPC hosting a wedding ceremony. Credit: Courtesy of MCPC

Through Akhigbe’s company PC Entertainment, he’s produced several notable shows including “Afro Comedy Night with MCPC and Friends,” the “MCPC Comedy Banquet,” and hosted events of famous Nigerian comics and entertainers such as Ali Baba, AY Comedian and Basketmouth.

After producing 28 live comedy shows and hosting more than 600 events, he doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon.

The Defender spoke with MCPC to talk about his impact in the city and what rising Black comedians should do to become successful in the industry.

Defender: What inspired you to get into comedy and event production?

MCPC: When I was in secondary school (high school) in Nigeria, I realized that I like to talk and be in front of crowds. I joined a drama group in church. That’s where it started. That’s where I knew I was going to be an entertainer. I wanted to study mass communications in school, but my parents only accepted for me to study to be a doctor, lawyer, engineer, or be a disgrace. I did accounting, but when I left school, I told myself that I just love to make people happy. I like to put things together. I’m a natural organizer.

Professionally, when I came to the U.S. from England after completing my master’s degree in 2009, I realized Houston has a lot of Nigerians outside of Nigeria and the only time you get to see your people is when you go to church, weddings, or maybe birthday parties. There weren’t a lot of comedy shows happening during that period. In 2010, I decided to put a comedy show together in church, free of charge, so people could come and see what it meant to do comedy. I do clean, family-oriented comedy. The response was so overwhelming that we had to go to the children’s department to pull out baby chairs for people to sit down. I was working at a bank at the time. Once I discovered there was a market, an opportunity for me as a comedian, as an event producer, and master of ceremonies, I knew I would make my mark in Houston.

Defender: How has your experience been trying to establish a reputable brand in Houston versus what you’ve created in Nigeria?

MCPC: The difference is that back home in Nigeria, we always like to have fun. We have a lot of time to play around, but everyone here works with time, so that was a challenge. Also, when people hear about comedy shows, the first thing that comes to mind is vulgarity. But I needed to prove a point to the African community, that you can put an event together that is family-friendly. The first challenge was to activate all the various ethnic groups that are here. I needed to be the African Nigerian American entertainer who can appeal to everyone. The easiest way to initiate that movement was through church. That’s how I discovered that Sunday evenings are usually very free for most people, so that’s why I set them on those days.

Defender: How have you been able to cultivate the talent in the community?

MCPC: As a natural born leader that I am, I have a big heart to help others. What helped me build a good team around me is coming with an objective to help us grow together. I established a mini group of Houston creatives, and our objective is for us to empower each other and grow in our various areas of the entertainment business. We will occasionally have meet ups where we train each other and review material for our set. We empower ourselves outside of entertainment with real estate, education, media and other careers. I used to do monthly comedy clubs in Houston in African restaurants, practicing jokes with other comedians in a small space before taking it to the general public.

  • MCPC hosts event
  • MCPC hosts event
  • Portrait of MCPC
  • MCPC hosts event
  • MCPC hosts event

Defender: What is one memorial event that you’ve produced?

MCPC: I’ve noticed a strong progression from year to year as far as my career is concerned. I’m a “Tripe P,” a promoter, producer and performer. The one event that took my brand to another level was the first time I brought the king of Nigerian comedy Ali Baba around 2017. He was in London at the time, and I called him to see if he would be interested in doing a show in the states. It took me three weeks to plan, promote and execute the show and it was sold out. I have a signature comedy show on Mother’s Day that I would like to add, as well, because anything built around women will be successful. My recent show sold out to the point where I had to turn people away. It was a good problem to have.

Defender: You’ve accomplished so much. What is next?

MCPC: I see this Afro-comedy being taken to higher levels. My hope is that we sell out the Toyota Center and NRG Stadium. I want Afro-comedy to expand and grow organically like the way Afrobeats has.

Defender: What advice do you have for other rising Black comedians?

MCPC: Don’t be afraid to fail. Second thing is to try small. Don’t be afraid to approach any group that you think will give you an audience. When I started, I would go through Facebook events and search for event flyers, and I would attend them and started reaching out. Also, don’t put money first. Put in the work and the money will come. This is why it’s called show business, you want to be able to show for the business to come. Be ready to do a lot of free gigs to test out your stamina and hosting skills, record it and fine tune.

I cover Houston's education system as it relates to the Black community for the Defender as a Report for America corps member. I'm a multimedia journalist and have reported on social, cultural, lifestyle,...