'Comedy Dons' hit hard at Backyaad
Mel Cooke, Gleaner Writer
Utilising a mix of comedy styles and some having a few topics in common (among them visas, the president, politics, the stand-up comics and, of course, sex) the Comedy Dons were large and in charge at Backyaad, Constant Spring Road, St Andrew, on Sunday night.
Then there was the sole 'donette', Elva, who turned hosting duties into a howling riot with her advice to nagging women (Shut up! Cock up!) and her experience with her teenage nephew feeling his adult oats. She really ripped the house when she demonstrated the Doberman sex style in which the woman sits on her man, grabs him with her thighs then runs around the room with him.
Larger crowd expected
The audience size wasn't overly impressive, though, even though after the 9:30 p.m. break, Elva remarked how much it had grown. Though far from being a flop, the numerous empty chairs indicated expectations of a much larger audience, what with a dons line-up of Leighton Smith, Rohan Gunter, Cedric Newman (Canada), Christopher 'Johnny' Daley, Shang (USA) and Ity and Fancy Cat, performing in that order. In addition, as a backdrop for the performers, the swathes of purple cloth were low-key and microphone glitches, mostly intermittent feedback, were annoying.
Leighton Smith started off the official line-up (Elva ran an audience member joke contest for the warm-up) with a comedic take on a very serious issue, which went down very well. Listing some of the woes that have befallen Jamaica since the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) came into power (including the drought), he said: "Is a wicked act. Suppose Bruce did have two eye? If a one eye him have an him a do we so?" Then there was his spontaneous running away from a police car marked MPD in Half-Way Tree, that acronym interpreted as Murder People Daily.
Backstage protestations about the performance order were audible over the PA system before Rohan Gunter came onstage and he apologised for the mix-up when he stepped out. However, it was not the most auspicious of beginnings; plus, venturing into the audience, Gunter had the night's most severe microphone feedback problems to contend with. He got some chuckles, among them asking a woman to spell 'clock' and then asking a man to take out the 'l' and say what he gets (the man did not reply), but after he closed with a scatological joke and Elva canvassed the audience many had not been overly impressed.
The proudest people
Newman was a riot, getting off to a flying start with his tale of being a second child and getting hand-me-downs from an older sister. So his bicycle had a pink basket, pink seats and streamers coming from the handlebars. Then there was the difficulty of trying to chat up a girl while wearing a tight Barbie T-shirt. From the cultural differences between Canada and Jamaica (where in Ja what's on a restaurant's menu is what is cooked that day), plus yard pride ("Jamaicans are the proudest people till you get to the border. Where are you from? Canada!") and defence of Michael Jackson but indications of R. Kelly's guilt through his recordings, Newman was a hit.
He closed very strong, saying that the KKK was right when they said there wouldn't be a black US president until pigs fly. "Well, swine flu!" Newman said.
After the break, Johnny, dapper in white hat and black vest (as was Cat, Ity asking them to stand together onstage briefly later in the show), went through the comedians' work woes, including a hilarious - at least now - experience at a comedy dance in Norwood when he was part of PAC with Mark Danvers and Donald 'Iceman' Anderson. "A Jamaican audience is a difficult audience. Them no give you no long time fi prove yusself," he said, adding that it is as if a clock goes off in their heads as the routine starts. Then they turn to each other and say, 'Him funny? Yu a laugh? No, me nah laugh'. "Then them start make it reach you, straight up," Johnny said.
There was an experience with the police, which involved a Joshua and some greenery and a gum-chewing Trini who was put in his place.
Shang was a riot, much of his performance centred around sex - his love for Elva declared - and having strong interaction with members of the audience in the front, including Colonel and Lorna. He said when he has an unattractive girlfriend and she wants to go to the movies he asks, "Why would I take an X-Man to see the X-Man?" and recounted declaring his 'vaginatarism' to a gay man as well as running from a camel spider in Iraq.
There were howls of laughter when he asked, "Who is this Bruce?" saying he was hearing how much damage he is doing to the country. He was amazed when he found out it is actually one man - and the prime minister. And the American jokes translated, Shang saying Dick Cheney is the only politician apart from Clinton to shoot someone in the face and get away with it.
In bidding farewell, Shang said, "I hope you have a thousand orgasms at one time and you cum so hard you float off the bed and turn into light."
Ity and Fancy Cat closed the night with a bang, Cat's 'salty salty' protest about oral sex causing howls of laughter. Cat interviewed Ity as Reneto Adams ("I have no enemies - alive") and Portia Simpson Miller, the duo saying that with the 'Comedy Dons' title "If you did have Pressie up ya, the show sell off". And there was a 'click, click' to go with that.
They advised all who want visas to go to the US Embassy and request one of those taken from an entertainer recently and invited up the retired stand-up comedy don of all dons, Owen 'Blakka' Ellis for a brief sit-down (on a chair) appearance.