Wall of Comedy founders became social media stars by delivering funny sketches direct to followers.
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At just 24, Joivan Wade [pictured centre] is still taking his first steps as an entrepreneur. The actor, producer and co-founder of The Wall of Comedy, is one of thousands of young people turning a hobby into a business. He explains how he balanced starting up what is now a social media sensation with the need to earn wages in the 'real world'.
What was your old day job?
Not that exciting but I used to work in retail at Topman as a customer service assistant. It was an opportunity to become more disciplined with things like time keeping and professionalism but besides that I didn’t really enjoy the work.
What made you start your hobby?
I hadn't always wanted to act. When I was a younger, I would tell myself I want to be a professional footballer. But this was really more so because everyone else strived for that and my brothers used to play professionally. But I couldn't deny myself, I always loved to act and I would attend drama classes during my spare time.
I always admired actors like Will Smith, Denzel Washington and Leonardo DiCaprio, and the way they made me feel when I would watch their movies. They would really capture me and ignite a passion. I loved the way they made me think and the emotional connection you got when watching them.
I always then thought to myself, I want to make other people feel that same connection. This led to me to start the journey to become an actor.
Did you always intend to make money, or was it for love at first?
It was always for the love! I never do anything based on how much money I can make. Everyone has a value to exchange and I believe that if what you have to offer is of value you will always be able to exchange it for a currency; whether that be favours, opportunities or finance.
The moment you strive for something just for money, the universe responds to that and you can sometimes lose sight of what’s truly important and what drives your passion. I honestly believe, you won’t receive the blessings you desire if money is your ultimate goal.
Don’t get me wrong, the money helps and I’m fortunate that I can make a good living from my hobby and passions in life. I’m extremely thankful.
When did the business start, how did you get going?
The business started 1st October, 2015, so just about two years old now. It's still a baby although it has grown so quickly. Myself and my co-founders started the business as a means of trying to create an opportunity for those who have come after us.
The Wall of Comedy is a platform for us and everyone around the world to produce and distribute acting and comedy content. We looked around us and saw SBTV, GRM Daily, LINK UP TV, all successful platforms in what they’re doing but only focus on music.
We asked ourselves where are the comedy platforms for people of our age? There were none, and there won't be any until someone decides to make one. So we did just that.
We had learnt and created so much with Mandem on the Wall, our first self-scripted and self-produced comedy show on YouTube that we launched in 2011. Our show instantly went viral and was really the first of its kind in the UK that literally was an overnight success.
It grossed over 50 million views, and we started to be recognised everywhere we went! We tried to really do as much as we could with the Mandem on the Wall brand. Live shows, merchandise, music and it even went to channel 4 for two series. It gave us so much opportunity and so much knowledge.
We said to ourselves, we need to help other young creators like ourselves and with everything we now know - they should be afforded the same opportunities but also avoid some mistakes we made.
So collectively, we decided to change our brand, we changed our socials which at the time were Mandem on the Wall to The Wall of Comedy, and went from 300k followers to 3.6 Million in the space of a year and a half.
Dee Kartier, Joivan Wade and Percelle Ascott in the early days
We now have set up not only The Wall of Comedy also but The Wall of Music, which is our music platform and The Wall Of Talent, our talent management arm which aims to manage the best talent in the world across comedy, music and sport.
We currently have a team of around 20 that encompasses; a production arm, talent arm, social team, brands and creative department. We are growing very fast and currently achieving more views per month than any other comedy platform in the UK. That makes us number one in this space!
Our aims and aspirations are to keep building our current platforms and expand into new areas and sub-brands and platforms. The more we build, drives us to build more and more. And we won't stop until we are the biggest and the best.
What tools do you use to run the business?
The great thing about what we do is that it is all based within social media, which means you can now create the business you want. All of or reach is organic, we reach over 100 million views per week and produce around 300 million views per month. This means we do not have to pay for advertising as our organic reach advertises itself.
We like to look at each social media as a network in itself. Facebook is like the BBC, Instagram is channel 4,Snapchat is ITV and Twitter is channel 5. We use this as a basis to feed each social platform with its own content, you have to feed the platform by itself and people will talk. Word of mouth is the best form of advertising and we do not take this lightly
Our social team is integral to our brand’s growth so they spend a lot of time analysising trends across these social media platforms and how our audience is engaging with content. We’re then able to react very quickly if content isn’t working or we're not hitting a certain amount of views quick enough.
We understand how our audience work, we know what they like, what brands they're interested in and the type of music they listen to. This helps us shape our strategy for content
What are your plans for the business in future?
The future of the business is to create more platforms, manage more talent and produce the best content that the UK has seen in comedy.
The moment you think of comedy for young people you should think of The Wall of Comedy and we’re continually striving to be creative and innovation in every sense from our scripts, to how we produce and who we partner with as well as our affiliate network.
We’re also currently working with the likes of the NHS, Samsung and the Army on some of their nationwide campaigns to engage millennials, so we see this also as an area of growth with brands.