Julius Agwu, a quintessential artiste who is known more for comedy, is an all-round performer with a very kind disposition. This exemplary artiste is versatile with the capacity to move smoothly and continuously too, from one genre to the other without any difficulty. However, one thing that distinguishes this great actor and comedian from others is his willingness to share his creative space and gifts freely with his colleagues, particularly the up-and-coming performers.
Agwu may be guilty of some sins but very few people in his industry match his generosity of spirit and talent. It is a well known fact that some younger comedians, actors and producers today making waves were at one time or the other, encouraged by this comedian. Over a dozen of them benefitted immensely from his generosity.
He was a pioneer of a few things that still stand out. He created Nigeria’s version of music-comedy, a fusion of music and comedy which is now a major offering in the entertainment industry. The comedian was also one of the first performers who exported our unique kind of comedy to the outside world. Crack Ya Ribs, Laff 4 Christ’s Sake and Festival of Love are all his creations that were at different times staged in Lagos, London and Port-Harcourt, Rivers State. Reellaif Limited, his music and movie production company suggests that his hands are also in other pies. Apart from his incursion into music, he was also one the major actors in Rattle Snake, a movie; Paradise Park, a television programme and other film, radio and television appearances.
However, at some point in his career, Agwu did not enjoy the best of good health and that seriously affected his happiness, family life and work as a creative mind.
In 2015, tumours were discovered in his brain but he was lucky to have survived after a successful surgery and recuperation abroad. In fact, he literally travelled to the land of the dead and returned. This continues to gladden the hearts of his family and friends who were with him in prayer during those trying times.
“De Genius” is not fully back on his feet but he is making every necessary effort to get back his groove. He is currently working on his network, reaching out to people and seeking ways to bounce back in the shortest possible time.
Azuh Arinze, a journalist and Julius’ close friend remembers the comedian’s great creative gifts and how he uses his art to expand the creative space. In Azuh’s tribute to his friend in his latest book, Encounters: Lessons from My Journalism Career, the author recalls Julius’ contributions to the entertainment industry and shares with readers, their memorable moments in a friendship of over 20 years. His title, A Genius Slowed Down By Ill Health is remarkably apt, this moving homage acknowledges Agwu’s position and importance as an all-round entertainer and a great soul who touches life with his talent.
For this endowed comedian, it is still morning. In a short time, Julius will be back to his old ways of sharing joy and happiness and making people laugh even in the worst of conditions.