What does it mean to be a man? Surely, it’s not one thing. It’s a series of little moments that add up. Man Like is a weekly Zikoko series documenting these moments to see how it adds up. It’s a series for men by men, talking about men’s issues. We try to understand what it means to “be a man” from the perspective of the subject of the week.
Koye Kekere Ekun first gained popularity making short Instagram skits while practicing as a lawyer. Since bursting out onto the entertainment scene, Koye, popularly known as “K10”, has made appearances in films like Namaste Wahala and Three Thieves, as well as shows like Inspector K, where he plays the titular character. Actor, comic, event host, content creator and now, husband, K10 juggles a lot, but how does he do it all?
In this special Valentine’s episode of Man Like, he talks about navigating life after moving out of his father’s house, the job that makes him the happiest, going back to practicing law after years working as a creative and how his wife is the best thing Nigeria has ever done for him.
K10, before we get into this, I need a list of all the jobs you have because I can’t keep up.
First and foremost, my main job is being a sweet boy. lol But seriously, I’m a lawyer by training, an actor, a content creator, a comedian and an event host.
Only you? In all this, I’m curious about when you got your “I’m a man now” moment.
It has to be when I turned 30 and decided to move out of my parents’ house. Nothing triggered it, I just felt the need to be independent. I wanted to learn how to run a home and deal with bills on my own. I also wanted to know what it’d be like to build a relationship with whoever I decided to date within my own space and free from monitoring eyes.
lol Ater moving, what did you find out?
Living by yourself is freeing, but at the same time, I had to start dealing with stressful things I never interacted with before like electricity bills and Nigerian artisans that like to promise and fail.
The hardest part was food. In my parents’ house, I had guaranteed meals, but by myself? I had to learn responsibility and control. There I was, conscious of money, checking how many pieces of chicken I was eating. The expenses I was dealing with made juggling these different creative outlets handy because money was coming in one way or the other.
Tell me about how you became a creative.
I know law is not a part of the creative scene, but it came first for me. Then at my old law firm, I started doing Instagram skits, which led to the content creation part of my career.
Funny story: I got worried people wouldn’t take me seriously as a lawyer after putting up my skits on Instagram, so I deleted my skits page after a while. It was my boss at the time who told me to bring it back because it showed that I was multifaceted, so shout out to him. From skits, I eventually transitioned to acting with my show Inspector K, and then event hosting followed.
Mad. With all these creative gigs, do you still have time to practice law?
The answer to this question a year ago would’ve been no, but I’m pivoting back to law with a firm I recently set up with a friend.
You’re successful at being a creative, why this pivot?
I’ve tried to shake off my law degree, but it’s something I feel like I started for a reason, and I’m not done with it yet. Now that I’m in the entertainment space, I can explore the combination of both in the form of entertainment law.
In the long run, practicing law is something I’d like to do. Don’t expect to see me in court sha!
lol Content creation started as fun for you, but now it’s a business. How’s that been?
The way I approached it changed for sure. When it was a hobby, I did it whenever I felt like it. Now it’s a business, whether I like it or not, I have to produce content, especially when I’m working with clients who give me deliverables. So, consistency is key. If you’re not putting out something new, there’s a high chance the buzz around you will fizzle out.
That being said, I still enjoy it. I like that I can make people laugh, and the creating process still gives me joy. In a country like ours where there aren’t that many things to make you happy, that’s a plus. The feedback I get also makes the whole process fulfilling for me.
On the subject of Nigeria, how do you balance being funny in this country that’s always moving mad?
There’s definitely pressure to always have my funny button on. When I first started, people would walk up to me and expect me to just have jokes ready for them as soon as they turned on their cameras. It was awkward, and I handled those instances awkwardly, but now I’m more comfortable navigating those situations. Sometimes, I have my jokes ready.
But other times, finding humor can be hard, especially in a country like ours where there are uncountable things competing to steal your joy. During the EndSARS protests, some people shared their views with humour, but I just couldn’t find a way to do the same and I’ve learned that it’s fine. We deal with things in our own way. When there are less weighty events around me, the humor is everywhere. I love satire, and the real news in Nigeria already sounds like satire.
Of all your jobs, which one gives you the most joy and which stresses you out the most?
Acting and creating skits make me happy. I love how I get to explore emotions that might not come naturally to me in my daily life. You read a script and immediately start to think of ways you can be convincing in your delivery of your character, not you. That type of thing makes me happy. I’ve also been in a lot of comedies and have been lucky enough to work with directors who encourage me to improvise on set, and I think that’s when I do my best work.
The hardest part has to be practicing law and hosting, especially when I have to host these big events with a lot of dignitaries with different titles and names. I remember there was a time I tried to be woke at an event, and it didn’t fly.
yes I was announcing dignitaries at an event and saw a woman who was apparently the chairman of a company. In an effort to keep with the times, I referred to her as chairperson instead of chairman and she lost it. The moral of this story: know where to carry your weekness to. Other than that, I don’t think I’ve made any serious blunder I couldn’t come back from.
I know Nigerians don’t like talking about money, but which one pays more?
Ahh! Currently, for me, it’s hosting. If you’re able to plug yourself in a way that you’re hosting something — usually weddings — every weekend, that’s some cool cash.
Talking about weddings, you recently joined the married men’s club. Tell me about your love story.
She was chasing me.
K10 but don’t lie.
LMAO. Meeting my wife was the best thing Nigeria has ever done for me. I saw her at an independence day event and was just like, “Who’s this damsel?” I didn’t speak to her that day, but we just kept running into each other after that. Finally, I did at an event I hosted. I checked for her on Instagram that night, asked if she got home safely and we just started talking.
A couple of weeks later, she had an errand to run and even though I don’t like leaving my house, I offered to drive her on this errand. At that moment, I thought, “Ye, won ti get me”. I had turned into a bolt driver.
The rest, they say, is history.
Give me about the proposal, how did you run it?
This is getting personal o! So it was right at the beginning of Covid in 2020, and we had gone into lockdown, so the original plans I had been making scattered. I had to improvise. Most people don’t know this, but I write romantic poems and fictional short stories. Just before we started dating, I had written something about her, which I had shared with her when we actually started dating. For the proposal, I decided to re-word certain bits of it. Where I had written ‘her’ or ‘she’ in the original version, I changed it to ‘you’. So for example in the original one, there was a line that said ‘I hope I can be her happy place’. That became ‘I hope I am your happy place’. Cheesy I know. lol So yeah, while we were chilling one night, I asked her to read through this new version, and when she was done, I had positioned myself with the ring, and ‘popped the question’ as they say.
Shakespeare, sorry oh! A whole poem? But h
So all I need to do is become a bolt driver? Got it. How did you know you were ready for marriage?
I didn’t necessarily know if I was ready for marriage as an institution, but I knew I had found the person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. I also knew that if I was waiting for conditions to align, those things would never happen. Most of the time, we’re waiting to be financially capable, but when you hit your target, you end up getting a new one. It never ends.
I always wonder with proposals, what if she had said no?
She couldn’t have said no because our relationship has always been open and honest. She knew it was coming; she just didn’t know when in 2020 it would happen. Even with the ring, she had pointed out what she liked before I got it. We talked extensively about marriage.
You guys have been together for four years now. What’s a typical valentine’s day like for you?
Flowers, dinner, spa and sometimes a hotel or resort getaway type of thing. Nothing complicated. We also like food, so anything to do with food. I’m not particularly into Valentine’s, but I’ll do it and do it well.
Valentine’s Day means a lot of proposals are coming. What would you say to those of us trying to follow in your footsteps?
My wife is tired of me saying this, but genuinely liking the person you’re with is more important than love in a marriage. I think that’s what ensures longevity.
What are you looking forward to this year?
My brother, myself and a friend of ours are currently writing a feature film which should be interesting. Generally, I want to take more risks and put myself out there some more. I also want to believe in the work that I’ve done as evidence that I can do more.
And for your marriage?
For my marriage, I hope we grow from strength to strength. She’s an amazing businesswoman, and I hope her brand keeps smashing ceilings. I just want her to get everything she wants.
I asked what you wanted for the both of you and you turned into a prayer for your wife. You’re gone in this love thing. lol
She’s gotten me. But that’s what it’s about.