Comedy in Nigeria is not usually associated with women but Helen Paul, also known as Tatafo, is that one woman who is in the business and slaying in it. And comedy is not just the only thing she does? She is equally an actor, a TV presenter, writer, and business owner. These you might already know about the artiste, we are out for the whole gist and here are five things you need to know about the star, the full details.
1. Helen Paul background: She was raised by her grandmother
Born in Lagos, on January 29, 1978, Helen Paul grew up under the guidance of her grandmother for a large chunk of her childhood. It was a tough childhood for the entertainer as the family wasn’t rich. Besides the absence of the silver spoon, her grandma was what Helen referred to as “a core disciplinarian” the kind of disciplinarian whose presence alone is the harbinger of trouble for her. “I couldn’t express myself,” the comedian said in an interview with PM News in 2010, pointing that only when she left to leave with her mother did she gain freedom from the dejected life she had lived under the older mother.
Helen Paul isn’t complaining because she points to her worth today as a consequence of her grandmother’s toughness. “If not for those things that she did to me, I wouldn’t have been where I am now, a strong and better person growing up.
2. Helen Paul Family: She is married to Femi Bamisile
Helen Paul got married to Femi Bamisile in 2010. Femi Bamisile is a legal practitioner and not to be confused with the politician and former Ekiti State Speaker of the House of Assembly also of the same name. It is believed that Helen Paul was not coy about the matter of her romance. When she met Femi and liked him, she made the first move. She asked him to buy her doughnut and soft drink.
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Such was her charm that it didn’t take a seer to know that the matter goes beyond buns and soda, that Helen was the woman for him. He went down on one knee, or both or standing, we don’t know, we don’t care. In no time, however, the couple wedded.
The couple is blessed with two sons. She delivered her first child in 2011 and the second came three years later, in 2014.
3. She was involved in a hijab controversy
Helen is not one to court controversy but when controversy is brought to her 18-yard box, she doesn’t scamper away, asking for help. She hits back. This was the case in June 2018 when she released a video skit in which she wore hijab where she was involved in a funny prayer. A certain Instagram user who started his reply with “nonsense” before asking, “Must you do your nonsense joke with religion? Other people’s religion to be precise…”
Helen was precise in her response. She went for his brain. “Your two brain cells need to be thawed out” because “evidently, they are overheated.” Two brain cells? So we asked Google, “How many brain cells does a human have?” Tens of thousands of brain cells, says Google, although the brain is in two halves. Perhaps the fan was not the only one with overheated brain cells.
Then she went for his means, associating him with the mosquitoes that won’t let him sleep, that make him slap himself all night long. “If you don’t like the vid, go watch some more of the depressing ones you’re used to.” And she signed off by calling him “Doofus”. What does that mean? We have done the brain cells search for you, don’t be stingy. Ask Google.
Helen later wrote a clarification post on Instagram. “I am an actor that uses costumes to depict a character,” she said. “Hijab is a head covering. Hijab is not a religion. Islam is a religion of peace not of war.” She dared anyone unhappy with this to take her to court. The tennis court.
4. Helen Paul Career: She started her career by accident
Although Helen’s talent is anything but accidental, her cameo into the rib industry is accidental. While Helen had always cracked jokes and entertained small groups of people growing up, she never thought of going professional with this. So she went to the University of Lagos to study Theatre Arts in preparation for a career on the screen.
Fate moved a pawn and her queen shone. The comedian billed to perform that day was absence. You can do this, her friends urged her and Helen stepped up the stage and never stepped down since then. She has remained on top of her game.
And no, not just comedy. Helen Paul is an actor. She has dozens of roles up her sleeve. She is the lead actor in Mama Put, When Love Happens, The Return of Jenifa, Akii the Blind, The Johnsons etc. Besides the screen, Ms. Paul also featured in stage plays including plays by legendary playwrights like Wole Soyinka, Ola Rotimi, and Ahmed Yerima.
Helen Paul is a musician. She released a full album in the 2012 Welcome Party. Never heard any of her songs? She is that kind of musician.
Helen Paul is an OAP. She is the presenter of “Tatafo Gist” on Naija FM and “Comedy Drive with Tatafo” on Metro FM. Her other radio experience includes Radio Continental and Eko FM. She also had presented shows on TV most notably African Magic “Jara” with Uti Nwachukwu.
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Helen Paul is a writer and playwright. Her play Life Burial has been staged in her theatre academy and a handful of universities in the South West.
Helen Paul is a businesswoman and entrepreneur. She owns a boutique and Helen Paul Theatre and Film Academy. On top of all this, Helen is a scholar with a master’s degree and gunning for a Ph.D.
5. Helen Paul should be tired of winning awards
Helen’s list of awards and recognitions read like the cast of a Korean soap opera. Not exactly, it is long. She has won many female comedians of the year including by City People Entertainment Magazine (2011) and African Film Awards (2012). She has won awards for TV which includes Nigeria Broadcasters Merit Awards (NBMA) Outstanding TV Presenter (Female/Talk Show) and Exquisite Lady of the Year Award for Female TV presenter of the year. In 2012, she won the peculiar award of Children’s entertainer of the year given by Sacramento Production.
Helen is tired of winning awards and awarders are evidently tired of her as there is no record of her winning any award since 2014.
Image source: Guardian Nigeria