Fri | Sep 21, 2018

Waiting on some funny songs

Published:Friday | July 14, 2017 | 11:06 PMMel Cooke
Lloyd Lovindeer
Professor Nuts
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Isn't it funny, how we can use 'funny' in so many ways? There is funny, as in strange or out of the norm, like when a woman says, 'it funny how Mark start come home late every Friday') and there is funny as in homosexual male (so we can get a sentence like, 'de funny man dem a plan fi march'). Added to that is feeling out of sorts medically ('me feel funny, me a go doctor') or alert to danger ('me get one funny feeling, so me jus tek whe meself').

For the purposes of the few words that constitute this article, I am using funny as humorous and I am seriously missing the funny songs in Jamaican popular music. I have read about a deejay named Grampa Entertain, but, unfortunately, have never seen him perform. I thought I would have in Ocho Rios, St Ann, a couple months ago, but missed the early performance time. Apart from him, I have not heard about another Jamaican entertainer who is coming to some prominence who is going directly for laughs.

And that is sad, because if Jamaicans appreciate humour in theatre so much that a borderline 'funny' character like Shebada (and I am making a distinction between that stage character and actor Keith Ramsay) can carve out a sustainable career and Jambiz can pull in consistent large audiences with comedies largely centred around Glen Campbell, there has go to be a market for humorous singers and deejays.

Think about the enduring success of rib-tickling songs like Pluto Shervington's Ram Goat Liver and Your Honour, as well as Ernie Smith's Duppy Gunman, Fab Five's Shaving Cream, Stitchie's Wear Yuh Size and Natty Dread, as well as General Degree's Pianist and premise "tink it a go guh so when I hol' yu tonight." Add to the mix, General Trees' Minivan and Tarzan ("fi de man dem whe no have no woman".)

Lloyd Lovindeer, Professor Nuts

Lloyd Lovindeer and Professor Nuts come to mind as performers who have catalogues, especially skewed towards humour. Lovindeer made a funny hit out of a category five hurricane with Wild Gilbert and commented on a controversial statue that there was "hap-penis in the park."

Professor Nuts took a chaotic public transportation system and made, Inna De Bus, and also used the stock drunk character to become Jimmy Bascombe. A couple years ago, I saw Nuts perform at Sting in the morning hours of Sunday and he was a big hit with the crowd, so even at that time on a hardcore dancehall event, humour went down very well.

I am sure that there are performers with humorous lyrics who are making an impact (Devin di Dakta comes to mind), but the dearth of laughter in Jamaican popular music is striking. The Twin of Twins have their own brand of material, where the humour is not to be taken as laughter only for laughter's sake. Still, with the general lack of laughter currently in Jamaican popular music, I have to wonder if cracking a joke is not the way to go in a situation where masculinity is especially emphasised.

Or is it a case like Morgan Heritage said, "Do you see anything to smile about?".

melville.cooke@gleanerjm.com