Come Mek Wi Laff, Sell Off
Before a near-capacity audience, several of the island's top comedians 'tek serious ting mek joke' at the 10th edition of Come Mek Wi Laff at the Karl Hendrickson Auditorium, Jamaica College, on Sunday night. Veteran Johnny Daley, Bobby Finzi-Smith, Leighton Smith and Dufton Shepherd, were the most outstanding acts on a night that must have pleased the administrators of the Best Care Foundation - which will directly benefit from the funds raised.
Topical issues of the day - the effects of chikungunya, Ebola, Outameni, Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller and the general mismanagement of the country's affairs - provided the fodder for the comics. And they went to town, which delighted but occasionally shocked the large audience gathered.
As master of ceremonies Dr Michael Abrahams put it, Jamaicans are fortunate to have many options for comedy, the Ity and Fancy Cat Show and Gordon House. As it did for much of the night, the audience erupted.
As promised, Daley delivered on a wide range of issues, including Jamaica's lack of preparedness to handle a potential outbreak of Ebola. Using the Ebola scare involving Dr Bob Banjo at the Mandeville Hospital in October, Daley painted a hilarious picture of how things might have unfolded when the doctor, with his thick Nigerian accent, walked into the hospital for the first time.
Using physical comedy to demonstrate, the 20-year veteran had the audiences in stitches, as he explained how quickly the hospital emptied, from the nurses to the patients in wheelchairs, after Dr Banjo outlined his symptoms. "Thank you, Dr Banjo," he said, "for showing us that we are nowhere ready for an Ebola outbreak."
Daley had it all to do following Leighton Smith's hilarious set. Dressed in black pants and white tee shirt, under a floral print jacket, he walked on to the stage and promptly declared, "Mi no like de jacket ya!" It immediately got the audience, still catching their breath from Smith's performance, laughing once more.
He went through a wide range of issues, including the Outameni controversy, and declared that we should all go down to Trelawny and claim the property since it was bought with our money, and stories surrounding roots-play actor Shebada fathering a child. "What woman would do that to herself?" he asked as laughter erupted once more.
He also mocked several entertainers who used gimmicks to try and achieve fame, mentioning some who were bleaching their skin to others who were "blacking up dem eye".
Earlier, Leighton Smith arrived onstage after the audience had lost patience with Mutabaruka's skit in which he interviewed long-dead cultural icon Miss Lou. Several times during the piece, they made their displeasure known with handclaps and the atmosphere grew tense. Smith arrived and immediately broke the ice by declaring that things are different in the USA where he recently performed. In the USA, he said, audiences clapped when they liked your performance. In Jamaica, they clap when they want you to go.
He then delved into his act, declaring that the Jamaica Labour Party in four and a half years 'mash up the country'. He paused and then declared, and now the People's National Party just putting on the finishing touches on the job. He told the audience that politics was a contradiction. In school, he said, the teacher would mark an 'X' beside anything he got wrong. How was it then, he asked, that in politics, the person who got the most 'X's gets to be prime minister?
Bobby Smith, more popularly known as Inspector Madden on the popular local television series Royal Palm Estate, 'revealed' the secrets to speaking 'woman', a language that more men needed to learn. He took the audience through several scenarios on how women are much smarter than men when it came to infidelity and threw in a few lewd jokes for good measure.
Shepherd was irreverent as he also took on the prime minister, making reference to her intellect or the lack thereof, which drew gasps from the audience. He delivered an entertaining routine discussing the effects of chikungunya and the differences between how kids are raised uptown and downtown.