Mon | Sep 23, 2019

Baring self for laughter

Published:Wednesday | June 19, 2019 | 12:28 AMMarcia Rowe/Gleaner Writer
Owen ‘Blakka’ Ellis (right) performs with his brother Ian ‘Ity’ at the first staging of the comedy show Ghetto ‘Misfits’.
Comedic brothers Owen ‘Blakka’ Ellis (left) and Ian ‘Ity’ Ellis with Andrea ‘Delcita’ Wright at Sunday’s show Ghetto Misfits.
Latoya Benson and Clarence Beckford could not contain themselves during the show.
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Going on stage and willingly share the unpleasantries of one’s life to a space filled with strangers, takes some grit. But that is what many stand-up comedians do – they take some of their most endearing or painful experiences and present them to persons for laughter.

Why do it?

Stand-up comedians Owen ‘Blakka’ Ellis, Pretty Boy Floyd and Ian ‘Ity’ Ellis spoke to The Gleaner after’s Sunday’s pefromance, with Blakka saying, “It is a continuous act of therapy. It is a way of claiming the right over your own story. I must tell my own story because by doing that, I empower myself to enforce the idea that I have transformed from that story, and it might inspire someone else to tell their own story, and learn from what their story has told them about life.”

Pretty Boy Floyd, shared similar sentiments. “It helps us to get over our challenges growing up. For example, on Father’s Day, you use it to overcome all your obstacles from not having a dad around you. The laughter that you are sharing, it is just to overcome the fact that you do not have a father. We use our life experiences in comedy to continue wi life.”

Ian Ellis said that disclosing his personal stories on stage is new. For most of his career as a stand-up comedian, he has done sketches and impersonation. Half of the duo Ity and Fancy Cat, he believes that comedians tell their personal stories, “because the truth is easy to remember. Also, when you go into your own stories, they are your own, and they are uniquely who you are.” He explains that when a comedian tells his own story, it is an act that is very difficult to copy.

“I have just got to the realm of personal comedy, and people are hearing things that they have never heard before, because I have never shared them on stage anywhere. And as I start to practise that form of comedy, I find that I remember more of my stories which I can laugh at, too. When you talk about your life, you find ways to laugh at your pain.”