The Spot: Behind the Scenes
It took me a while to find the best words to describe ‘The Spot’ which screens on Ebony Live TV (DSTV Channel 165). I’m not quite sure I’ve found the right ones though. Just so you get an idea of the show – it is three people and the odd guest gisting. This definition feels grossly inadequate, but I am a bit tongue-tied at the moment, so it will have to do.
If you’ve seen the show before, you would understand what I am talking about. If you haven’t, what rock have you been living under?
Ebuka, Lamide and Zainab are the occupants of ‘The Loft’ where they hang out on every show. They talk about almost everything and at random, from entertainment to culture, sports and even a little bit of politics. This is in total contrast to the rather rigid format which most shows tend to follow. The Spot is built on the premise that unedited youthful banter is entertaining and educating enough for television. Seeing how successful the show has been in a short while, that premise is probably right.
After watching the first few episodes, I wondered what the chemistry was like behind the scenes. Are Ebuka and the girls really THAT cool? How much of the banter we see is scripted? Is Lamide really that assertive? Would I get Zainab’s number? Every time I caught an episode, I wondered..
And then I got a call.
Some guy called Folarin (the producer of the show actually though at the time, I thought he was a prankster), called to say they wanted me to be a guest. My friend, Onoja had been on a few weeks before so I thought it was his prank when I got the call, thought they were stringing me along with follow up calls, till I got flight tickets in my email, courtesy ‘The Spot’.
The trip itself was straightforward. I flew to Calabar via Akwa Ibom because there were no direct flights from Abuja on the day. ELTV had a chauffeur at the airport to take me to Studio Tinapa, Calabar where the show is recorded.
I probably had more fun driving down than I would have had if I flew in. Apart from taking in the sights and sounds, the driver kept urging me to try some street food, till I had some Ube, cooked pear and a specie of very white corn which I hadn’t ever seen before—it was awesome and delicious.
Now the biggest question I had and I get asked now is what the chemistry is really like behind the scenes. My arrival was perfectly timed to gauge that. It was raining heavily when I got in. This caused some challenges with the sound so they had to take a break from shooting and just chill.
The chemistry you see on The Spot between Ebuka and the ladies isn’t just on-screen, or between them – it cuts across the entire crew, everyone from the make-up lady who powdered my face (yes, powdered my face) while giving me a quick lesson in Calabar cuisine and asking about me, to Emily, who handled my logistics and made sure I gained a few pounds on that two-day trip, to the producer, Folarin whose quiet demeanour deceived me at first, till he started making jokes—starting with why sane people shouldn’t carry as many phones as I do. They are all super-chill and laid back.
Thinking about it, if you had a camera rolling on the whole crew behind the studio scenes, it would make an equally interesting show. The gist and jokes off camera set the mood for what they shoot so that the two days I spent with them was endless fun.
That’s not to say they didn’t mean business when it came to shooting – I remember the director asking his assistant to stay out of the studio for a whole episode for coming late. The atmosphere is close to what you would expect in places like Google (yes, I know I am stretching it a bit) – playful but serious at the same time.
Have I mentioned how pretty the set looks?
On the characters, Ebuka is Ebuka. He’s pretty much the same guy on and off screen, with the off-screen one a wee bit more serious. There isn’t much I can tell you about him that you don’t already know – he’s as real as they come.
I didn’t get to spend that much time with Zainab (or get her number) – she got in on the day I was leaving. She’s pretty cool in person, loads prettier than the cameras show. Even her Instagram photos don’t do her justice. Trust me. She’s very laidback off the camera but warm and friendly, with none of the attitude you’d expect from IJGB’s like her. Note
I get the feeling that she might be the one to start whatever pranks are played on and off set.
Then there is the beautiful Lamide, who my sister in-law thought was crushing on me. After the episode I ‘starred’ in aired on DSTV, she called to ask about Lamide. I laughed at the question but I was a bit taken back by it, not for what you are thinking though. I was amazed at how much of her off-screen character was brought on screen. Regardless of what impressions you get watching the show, she is the nicest of the bunch which is a huge deal seeing how nice they all are.
She dotes on everyone like a mother hen with chicks. “Are you okay?” “Have you eaten?” “Are you bored?” “Are we boring you?” on and on she went as she slid from place to place lighting up the place with her smile. And she’s cute—especially when angry.
The combination of their characters and the chemistry they have off-screen, spills onto the camera. This for me is why I think the show will be on screen for a while – they don’t try hard to have fun, they just do and it’s a delight to watch.
If I ever get invited back, I’d want to pick Zainab up and carry her about. Something about her just screams pick me up. And yes, I’ve gotten into trouble so many times for hearing these pick me up screams that no one else hears. And I would get Lamide to carry me.
As for Ebuka, I pray he has forgotten the gist we had about iPhone replacements.