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|Helen Paul Bamisile|
|Occupation||Comedian, Actress, Singer|
Helen Paul Bamisile is a comedian, singer and actress from Nigeria. She is best known as a stand-up comedian and popularly known as Tatafo. Her style is quirky and spontaneous, and her petite stature and voice range makes her sound like children.
Helen spent most of her early years with her mother and grandmother, both in Lagos. As a kid, she used to entertain small groups of peers, neighbours and friends within the neighbourhood. As she grew, the entertainer in her also developed with time. In many of the interviews she later granted to several media houses, she would recall that her growing up was not easy, as it was filled with "ups and downs" - raised by two discplinarians but meanwhile, the entertainer in her knew no boundaries. She is a graduate of Theater Arts of the University of Lagos.
She has worked as both a freelance and full-time presenter at several media houses, both in Nigeria and otherwise. These include Lagos Television (LTV 8), Continental Broadcasting Service (CBS), MNet (as a co-presenter on Africa Magic Channel 114's "JARA"), amongst others. M-Net Africa Magic’s “JARA” is a programme that provides fans and viewers generally with inside scoops of Nollywood – the movies, the actors/actresses, directors, producers, interviews, countdown of different categories of the who-is-who in the industry and behind-the-scenes clips. Helen broke out as a naughty comic character on a critically acclaimed radio program known as “Wetin Dey” on Radio Continental, 102.3FM, Lagos. She is known on the programme as “Tatafo” - a witty kid who addresses and lampoons societal issues in a satirical manner. The show has, over time, garnered massive and ardent listenership/followership in Lagos and several other states of Nigeria. She also presents programmes on TV Continental.
Helen's journey into the world of Entertainment started when she worked at Eko Reelmix Studios, Radio Lagos/Eko FM as a front desk manager whilst doubling as a back-up and voiceover artiste. During this period, she featured on several music projects with artistes and music groups including P-Square, Infinity, Olufunmi, Yinka Davies, etc. She also recorded radio jingles for a number of companies and brand names, including Bank PHB, Peak Milk, Indomie Noodles, and Cowbell Milk.
As a comedian, her first professional performance happened whilst she was still a fresh undergraduate of the University of Lagos. She attended an event with a group of friends but the stand-up comic billed to perform failed to show up. Her friends practically nudged onto the stage by her friends who believed that she could perform even better than the comedian billed to perform at the show. The organizers, who were at that time agitated, later heaved a sigh of relief when Helen mounted the stage and put up a superlative performance that elicited a thunderous applause from the crowd.
Helen opened a bridal and fabric boutique in Lagos in 2012, called "Massive Fabrics and Bridals". She has since proceeded to open three other outlets of the Boutique in different parts of Lagos. In 2014, she opened a film and theater academy, named "Helen Paul Theater and Film Academy". The Academy is equipped with the latest facilities in the world of technology. It consists of a dance studio, a makeup studio, a recording studio, a rehearsal studio, a photo studio, a mainly digital library, an editing studio, and a hostel for students who enrol for courses in the Academy and are interested in taking up such accommodation. The Academy is a multi-million naira project and Helen would later state, in the various interviews she granted, that the opening of the Academy is a dream come true, "having nurtured the ambition from childhood". She further explained that the initiative is geared towards contributing her own quota to the development of the entertainment sector, and education in general. Some of the courses that will be offered in the institution include Cinematography, Acting, Video Editing, Photography, Dance, Basic Presentation, Costuming and Sewing, Hair Styling, Sound Engineering, and Graphics Design.
Apart from these projects, Helen continues to work on several others that are in the pipeline. These include a talk show, movie projects, music projects, etc.
In 2014, she was appointed as an ambassador by Telecommunications giant, Globacom. Speaking about the endorsement, she admitted that she is extremely happy about it, as Globacom is a massive brand that everybody loves to be associated with. She also has other endorsements to her credit, including GoTV, a cable television station owned by Multichoice, and Olumide Emmanuel's "School of Money".
Helen currently anchors two radio programmes - "Tatafo Gist" on Naija FM, which airs every Friday from 9:00am to 10:00am, and "Comedy Drive Time With Tatafo" on Metro FM every Monday, from 4:30pm till 6:00pm. On both programs, she speaks about trending societal issues in a comic manner, with a segment where people phone in to share their comments on these issues. The programs have garnered massive listenership and continue to put smiles on many lips, as well as relax frayed nerves - according to testimonies from callers.
Awards and Recognition
Helen has bagged numerous awards, including:
2012 African Film Awards (Afro-Hollywood, UK) • Comedienne of the Year
2014 Nigerian Broadcasters Merit Awards (NBMA) • Outstanding TV presenter (Female) (Entertainment/Talk Show)
2012 National Institute for Cultural Orientation • Merit Award in Recognition of Support for Children’s Initiative
2009 Exquisite Lady of the Year Award (Exquisite Magazine) • Female Comedian of the Year
2012 Effizie Style and Effects Awards (Effizzie Magazine) • Comedienne of the Year
2012 Sacramento Productions • Children’s Entertainer of the Year
2012 Doyen - Naija Growing Green Media Dinner Award • Recognition Award as Advocate/Ambassador of Peace and Unity for a Better and Greener Nigeria
2011 Rotaract Club Award • Outstanding Female Comedian of the Year
2011 City People Entertainment Magazine Award • Female Comedian of the Year
2009 City People Entertainment Magazine Award • New Female Comedian of the Year
2010 Life Changers Award (UK) • Best Comedian of the Year
1999 Nigerian International Songs Festival (NISOFES) Award • Best Gospel Singer of the Year
In addition, Helen Paul is in high demand at high profile events, several of which she has anchored and continues to host. As a compere par excellence, she has compered events either for or at which highly distinguished personalities were in attendance. Such include:
• Performed at the Nigerian Reunion in Orlando Florida, USA (2012 & 2011) • Anchored the “Close-Up Loves Naija Concert” (2012) • Anchored “An Evening with Coca-Cola Concert” (2012) • Performed at "Night of 1012 Laughs and Music" in Ghana (2012) • Performs regularly at “AY Live”, a comedy and music concert organized by popular comedian Ayo Makun • Performed at the Lebara Mobile-sponsored Nigerian Comedy Show in UK (2011) • Performed at Dame Virgy Etiaba Foundation’s Charity Ball tagged “A Heart for Life” held at the MUSON Center Lagos (2011) • Anchored the Lagos State Carnival held at Tafawa Balewa Square Lagos (2010) • Performed at Port Harcourt Carnival (2010) • Anchored the Nigerian Woman of Distinction Dinner/Award - an initiative of the First Lady of Nigeria, H.E. Dame Patience Goodluck Jonathan (2010) • Performed at the Akwa Ibom State Banquet in honour of the First Lady of Nigeria, H.E. Dame Patience Goodluck Jonathan (2010) • Performed at Julius Agwu's Golden Jubilee Edition of "Crack Ya Ribs" in London (2010) • Performed at "Night of 1000 and 1010 Laughs and Music" in Ghana (2009, 2010) • Anchored Miss Delta Soap Pageant at the MUSON Center Lagos (2010) • Anchored City People Brand Awards and Entertainment Awards (2009 and 2010) • Anchored former Lagos State Governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu's 50th Birthday Party (2009) • Anchored Senator Ike Nwachukwu's son's wedding in Lagos (2010) • Anchored Captain Roland Iyayi's Birthday Party in Lagos (2010) • Performed at Sleek's Make-up anniversaries and outlets opening ceremonies (2009) • Performed at Night of a Thousand Laughs in Lagos, Abuja, and Calabar (2009) • A regular act at the critically acclaimed ‘stand-up comedy’ initiative of Bunmi Davies - “Stand Up Nigeria”, which holds regularly in Lagos. • Performed at Night of 1000 Laughs (2013, 2014)
Helen bagged a Bachelors Degree in Theater Arts in 2010 and a Masters Degree in 2012, from the prestigious University of Lagos. She also has professional qualifications from reputable institutions, including a "Certificate in Media Enterprise" from the School of Media and Communications, Pan-African University, and a "Basic Presentation Certificate" from the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN). She is currently undergoing her PhD degree in Theater Arts, also in the University of Lagos. Helen continues to demonstrate her unfailing love for formal learning/education with her academic sojourn, particularly her interest in value-adding courses, seminars, trainings, etc. both at home and abroad.
Year Film Role Notes
2011 The Return of Jenifa "Tunrayo", a girl born of rich parents but lacking attention. Film Director Muhydeen Ayinde; Film Producer Funke Akindele. Starring Yinka Quadri, Banky W, Kaffy, Eldee, Freeze, Eniola Badmus, Wizkid, Antar Olaniyan, Mercy Aigbe, Ronke Oshodi Oke, Denrele Edun, CD John, Naeto C, Omawumi, DJ Zeez
2012 A Wish Lead role - a lady who battles cancer. Film Director Elvis Chucks. Starring Patience Ozokwo, Funke Akindele, Hafiz Oyetoro (Saka), Bishop Imeh Umoh
2011 Damage Cameo Film Director Moses Inwang. Film Producer Uche Jombo. Starring Uche Jombo, Tonto Dikeh, Kalu Ikeagwu, Basorge Tariah Jr., Nicolette Ndigwe
2012 The Place: Chronicle of the Book Film Director Desmond Elliot. Starring Uche Jombo, Desmond Elliot, Bishop Ime Umoh
2014 When Love Happens Film Director Seyi Babatope. Starring Weruche Opia, Desmond Elliot, O.C. Ukeje, Beverly Naya, Oreka Godis, Gideon Okeke, Wale Oho, Keppy Epeyong Bassy and Shaffy Bello
2014 Alakada 2 Supporting role Film Director Toyin Aimakhu. Starring Toyin Aimakhu, Bolaji Amusan, Rachael Oniga
2014 Akii The Blind  Supporting role Film Director Ikechukwu Onyeka, Producer Christopher Ozoemena. Starring Osita Iheme, Chinedu Ikedieze, Amechi Muonagor, Charles inojie, Ebube Nwagbo
2014 Abiodun Kogberegbe Supporting role Starring Kola Odunlade, Fathia Balogun, Bimbo Thomas
2012 Osas (Omoge Benin) Comic act Film Director Muyideen Ayinde. Starring Mercy Aigbe, Toyin Aimakhu, Lola Alao, Kelvin Books
2012 Igboya  Film Director Muyideen Ayinde. Starring Bimbo Oshin, Muyiwa Ademola, Damola Olatunji, Antar Laniyan, Rachael Oniga, Jide Kosoko
Mama Put Lead role M-Net directed TV Drama. Film Director Seke Somolu
Pawns Supporting role M-Net directed TV Drama
Apart from the big screen, Helen is also a lover of stage plays and she has starred in the following:
• “The Lion and The Jewel”, a stage drama written by Wole Soyinka and directed by Tunji Sotimirin • “The Wives”, a stage drama written by Ahmed Yerima and directed by Wole Oguntokun • “Moremi Ajansoro”, a stage drama written by Lekan Balogun and directed by Benson William • “Ovonramwen Nogbaisi”, a stage drama written by Ola Rotimi/Ahmed Yerima and directed by Alex Osho
She is happily married with two lovely sons. In various interviews, she describes her husband and sons as "her best friends".
- Olonilua, Ademola (28 July 2012). "Male comedians don’t intimidate me –Helen Paul aka Tatafo". The Punch.
- Akande, Victor (27 May 2012). "A-list comedians for ‘Helen Paul & Tatafo Live’". The Nation (Lagos, Nigeria). Retrieved 11 November 2012.
- Adetu, Bayo (6 August 2010). "Growing Up Was Tough". P.M. News (Lagos, Nigeria). Retrieved 11 November 2012.
- Kettle, James (2 November 2012). "The rising stars of world standup". The Guardian (London, UK). Retrieved 11 November 2012.
- Amoran, Moyosola (20 July 2012). "Tatafo Veers Into Music". P.M. News (Lagos, Nigeria). Retrieved 11 November 2012.
- Ogunjimi, Opeoluwani (11 August 2012). "Helen Paul drops Boju Boju". Vanguard (Lagos, Nigeria). Retrieved 11 November 2012.