How Canadian comedian Ola Dada spends his money

Donair burgers, bright-yellow Crocs and pre-show haircuts are all in the budget for Dada
Kelsey Rolfe
Illustration by Selman Hosgör

In 2017, Ola Dada got his start as a comic by roasting his friends at Vancouver’s Comedy Basement. Now, the 27-year-old Fort McMurray native—and former semifinalist on Canada’s Got Talent—is gearing up for his first appearance at Toronto’s Just For Laughs festival in September. During a stop in Edmonton on tour, Dada shelled out for shoes and snacks. 


I try to eat healthy on tour, but when I got to Edmonton, I bought a donair ($12) from PrimeTime, a place my friend recommended. Then I saw that there was a donair burger ($10) on the menu, so I bought that, too. I was pretty full, but today was my cheat day, so it’s all gucci.


I was scheduled to perform with the American comedian Donnell Rawlings at the Comic Strip. I grew up watching him on Chappelle’s Show—I was starstruck. I wanted to make sure my set was tight and my hair was tight, so I got a pre-show haircut ($25). I couldn’t have a weak lineup; this event was going to have the most Black people I’d see in Edmonton.


I found Converse sneakers at the West Edmonton Mall. I knew my 13-year-old brother, Nathan, also wanted some, so I got us each a pair ($152). Nathan is the type to show up at school in pyjamas—my mom’s excited that I’ve elevated his shoe game.


I ordered some roses ($68) as a little surprise for my fiancée, Chelsea. I wrote a nice note in the card, spell-checked everything and still made an error. My dyslexia strikes again! I also wandered into Wee Book Inn and bought Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari ($25). I’m a book collector—as in, I collect books and fail to read them. I hope I get past the first 50 pages. Either way, it’s going to look great on my shelf.


I bought some bright-yellow Crocs from SoftMoc ($80), which wasn’t planned. My friends are now talking about how ugly they are, but they’re Crocs. They’re supposed to be ugly.


I’d been working for three straight weeks, so I needed a day off. I went to see Lightyear at Landmark Cinemas in downtown Edmonton ($12). I got popcorn and a cherry Coke ($15). I’m super lactose-intolerant, so obviously I got extra butter, too. If you have a problem with my lifestyle, take it up with the manager.


For the last five years, my buddies and I have celebrated my birthday by renting jet skis ($120), which we booked in advance. We’re departing from Kitsilano Beach this year. My friend Idris can’t swim, but he still risks his life to do it with us. What a great guy. 

—As told to Kelsey Rolfe

This article appears in print in the September 2022 issue of Maclean’s magazine. Subscribe to the monthly print magazine here, or buy the issue online here