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Comedians feel street effect of show on cable

Published:Tuesday | January 11, 2011 | 12:00 AM
Fancy Cat (left), CIN CEO Stephen Hill (centre) and Ity. - Contributed

Reality show to extend next Ity and Fancy Cat season

Mel Cooke, Gleaner Writer

The 'Dudus Affair' is still very much alive, with The Gleaner recently reporting a whopping $100 million - and counting - compensation payout after the Tivoli incursion last May and the Commission of Enquiry into the whole matter of Christopher Coke's extradition looming.

In true comedic commentary fashion, Coke's epic pre-extradition drive made it into The Ity and Fancy Cat Show and was one of the standout skits for last season.

However, while Jamaica has long had its bellyful of laughter from the skit, New York got its official dose two Sundays ago on Caribbean International Network (CIN).

It is the second season on CIN and the station's CEO Stephen Hill says The Ity and Fancy Cat Show has had a major impact which he has not seen since the 'Oliver' series which CIN started with 16 years ago.

Impact

And Ian 'Ity' Ellis tells The Gleaner that the CIN programming has had an impact on them which they have not seen over many years of doing live shows in New York.

"You find that now when we're walking on the road it's a different reaction," Ity said. Of course, persons had recognised and reacted to them previously, but he says now the street reaction has multiplied.

The Ity and Fancy cat Show is shown on CIN on Sundays, part of a programming schedule which includes FiWi Top Ten, news from Trinidad and Jamaica, as well as sports.

Hill says he started carrying The Ity and Fancy Cat Show after it was brought to his attention by people who demanded to know why the programme was not on CIN. And he points out that CIN, which is broadcast on Channels 25 and 73 in New York, is a rare outlet for Jamaican programming in the huge media market.

"After you have finished with TVJ or CVM, who do you come to?" Hill asked rhetorically.

There are no adjustments to the actual programme for the United States market, Ellis said, only the advertisements being changed. The Gleaner asks if the duo would ever change the format to suit the market outside Jamaica and Ellis says that there was a time when, performing in Trinidad, they had to speak really slowly and this took away from the impact of the jokes.

"Now we can just talk. People all over are into dancehall and that makes a lot of difference," Ity said. In addition, he said, Jamaica and its culture fascinates many persons who do not have a direct connection with the country and makes the connection between that desire and the skits. "So many people want to know more about Jamaica," Ellis said.

Viewers also want to know more about The Ity and Fancy Cat Show, he said, and in the next season they will. Ellis said a reality show will be filmed around The Ity and Fancy Cat Show, a separate crew doing the behind-the-scenes look at the making of the comedy show. This will have its own 13-week run after the regular season, making for a half-year of Ity and Fancy Cat on Jamaican TV.