People have been bringing their best wordplay for the “Don’t Leave Me” challenge on TikTok, and it’s exactly the type of dry humor that’s so silly, it’s actually brilliant.
It all started with an Instagram post from Josh Alfred, an entertainer from Lagos, Nigeria, who originally posted back in March.
“I was just playing around with the word ‘leaf’ and ‘leave’ in my pun skit,” he told BuzzFeed News. “At the end of the video, my hype man Bello Kreb was shouting ‘Don’t leave me’ and that’s what people heard and picked it up.”
In his short clip, the 29-year-old joked that he was “on leave” while standing on a leaf, but it’s his camera operator and friend’s response that has given the challenge its name.
“I think it was the way my hype-man Bello said ‘don’t leave me,’ is what made it funny and catchy for people,” said Alfred. “Coupled with the fact that puns are always engaging and a bit of a brain-tasking game, I think that’s what grabbed people’s attention and why people are giving it a try.”
The hilarious execution of the challenge has been re-created across social media with friends and families all delivering their best play on words, and Alfred is enjoying all of them.
He said: “I’ve seen a lot that really impressed me, people are really intelligent.”
The Nigerian entertainer regularly creates comedy sketches for his 1.5 million followers on Instagram, but the “Don’t Leave Challenge” is his first moment to capture a global audience. Alfred is mindful of how trends accelerate, sometimes leaving the originators far behind or erased altogether.
“It’s bound to happen, but what I’m worried about really is another person taking the credit I deserve,” he said.
Alfred credits comedians like Kevin Hart, Dave Chappelle, and closer to home, Basketmouth, as inspirations for his style of comedy, a gift he discovered he had from a young age.
“I’ve always had the ability to make people laugh unintentionally and so everybody around me had been advising me that I should do comedy professionally.”
From church performances and the occasional party booking, Alfred was encouraged to take his talents online and has been growing his audience with consistent content, memorable characters, and now the “Don’t Leave Me” challenge.
People are getting very creative.
Sometimes it’s the simplest ones that have major impact.
And you have to do the run. The run is always laugh-worthy.
It’s also taking off on Twitter, no props needed.