Full servings of laughter at Comedy Cook-Up
Now in its 12th year, the annual Christmas Comedy Cook-Up, held in the ballroom of The Jamaica Pegasus hotel, New Kingston, has become a staple in Jamaica's entertainment industry. As has become customary, laughter reigned on Boxing Day as some of Jamaica's best comedians put on a show.
The show attracted an even larger crowd than usual this year. Guests started turning up from as early as 5:30 p.m. in a bid to secure a good seat. By the start, the huge venue was filled to capacity, so much so that people who arrived mere minutes past 7 p.m. had difficulty finding a seat.
By 8:30 p.m., the venue was completely full. Not even extra white chairs brought in could suffice, and so some guests had to stand.
Rozah Rose offered the opening number, and in his usual fashion, delivered a good dosage of laughter. His witty remixes of some popular songs had the audience in stitches, whetting appetites for more.
Leighton Smith, who is also a teacher, served up laughter as he addressed several controversial issues, from politics to terrorism. Although they were serious topics, Smith's comedic twists had persons laughing so hard that they were close to tears. He made way for the first overseas act of the night, Yvonne Orji.
Orji, a Nigerian, was well prepared. Obviously aware that a Jamaican crowd is one of the toughest audiences, she came armed with heavy comedic artillery and had patrons laughing from the start of her set to the end. She made fun of everything - from her last name to problems she has faced while dating.
While speaking on the latter, Orji highlighted the difference between dating a black man and a white man. Her comparisons were hilarious and obviously hit the right note with the audience. When her set ended, one of the night's hosts, Dwight Ross, commended Orji on a job well done, stating that Jamaicans could be tough, and the fact that she was allowed to finish her set without being booed meant she did well.
Orji made way for Bajan act Trevor Eastmond. Despite having a broken leg, Eastmond did not disappoint guests by being a no-show. Although he had to be assisted to the stage by several persons, the comedian showed patrons what it meant to be a true professional and delivered an awesome set. Guests appreciated Eastmond, so when he asked for donations to help with the cost of his upcoming surgery, they gave generously.
Kathy 'Tan Deh Deh' Grant was the evening's closing act. Grant, who missed the show last year, returned with a bang. She had the Pegasus Ballroom in a complete frenzy with punch line after punch line. As one of only two female acts of the night, Grant was rewarded with resounding applause at the end of her set.
Owen 'Blakka' Ellis, Trixx, and Ity and Fancy Cat were among the other acts for a night that saw the comedians giving their all on stage.
In addition, a true gem in the industry was recognised. Described as a comedic legend, Oliver Samuels was honoured by his colleagues for his 40-year contribution.
A performance from Shaggy, followed by the Silver Birds Steel Band, closed the night.