Kojo Chat show II
Saturday 18th January 2014
The second of Kojo’s chat shows at Hackney Empire had a top quality line up including Jamelia, Kanya King, Noel Clarke, Ricky Norwood, Rudi Lickwood, Thanyia Moore, Angel and Dora Martin.
Kojo opened proceedings with a good stand up set that had the audience heartily laughing away and nicely warmed up for the show. His routine involved drawing attention to poor old Dominic (he of You Tube infamy) who was also talked about by Richard Blackwood at his show on 11th January 2014. This is the man who got so out of it on New Year’s Eve he put himself in a extremely compromising position on the stairs of the night club he was celebrating at. Sadly for him, this has appeared all over the internet!
Rudi Lickwood came on stage with a series of “hard life” jokes, which is indicative of how many black comedians start off doing their comedy gigs.
There were some good new gags including an hilarious but un-repeatable one about one of tonight’s guests Jamelia, plus some good old favourites including the expensive date and classic marriage gags, which had the audience in stitches. The jokey message sent out was, “you don’t want to be married or if you do, suffer the consequences!” All in all a good set of good clean jokes.
Roots and culture is the name and Rudi really went back to old skooool, to remind the audience of roots issues which have become funny. This worked well as the audience was really quite young and they took to the jokes well and laughed a lot.
This style of comedy show was new for a theatre audience, though quite similar to a TV chat show.
Kojo had his Capital 1 Xtra side kick, Andre, with him. His role was to ask questions submitted via the audience, but for long periods it was difficult to work out his role as he was just stood at the far corner of the stage saying nothing. When he posed questions of his own or from the audience he was fine. I think he should have been drawn more into proceedings, much earlier. I also think it would have worked better if it had more of a visible, inter-active element to it, with questions taken directly from the audience rather than pre-submitted.
Interviewee 1 – Noel Clark
Noel Clark, Director and Producer of ‘Adulthood’, talked about various films he has produced in England and the hard times he had getting them broadcast. He dazzled the audience with the names and great work of black British actors and the need to support their work. The banter between the two was good and Kojo was clearly having a lot of fun with Noel. There were plenty of questions asked by the public too, which made the show more interactive.
Interviewee 2 – Kanya King
MOBO founder, Kanya King MBE, was next to be interviewed. She is half-Ghanian, half Irish. Ghana is also Kojo’s country of origin. Kanya spoke of her upbringing and the strict disciplinarian parenting she suffered, which many identified with. She also spoke of the “special living room” that no-one lived in!! Many African-Caribbean people identify with that one.
She grew up as one of 9 siblings. Yet having the “special room, aka spare room” and not using it tickled Noel who couldn’t understand the logic of 4 sisters sharing a bedroom when there was a spare room they could be living in!!
Kanya talked about her struggles, including, financial ones to start the MOBOs and get musical talent rightfully recognised. Pity there were not enough meaningful questions for Kanya on how to start up business, as she is a role model black icon whom people could have learned from and I don’t remember any business related questions been asked by the audience. Next time throw the microphone out to the audience and see what happens.
Interviewee 3 – Jamelia
Jamelia looked great on the stage. All the ladies looked great on KoJo’s show and he made sure of that!!!! Jamelia has so much to offer and she talked about her past work and how one day she will come back to entice us with new songs. She started out as a very young woman in the business and still has lots of life in her yet. All the men welcomed Jamelia with light hearted flirtatious jokes, which went down well. She has recently been recruited as a panellist on the hit show ‘ Loose Women’ so she will definitely be bringing her experiences out to the public audience.
She looked like she was put on the spot at times with some of the questions, perhaps not prepared, but we all know she has excellent talent, so it didn’t seem to matter to the audience. She said she loathed the thought of going on reality TV and has turned down many opportunities to do so, but loved the idea of going on ‘Loose Women’ and representing herself and Black women in a positive way.
Interview 4 – Ricky Norwood aka Fat boy
Ricky Norwood confessed he has had a raunchy storyline with Denise. Kojo probed and wanted to know what it was like to do all that kissing with a much older woman. Ricky, ever the gentlemen, would not kiss and tell. There was lots of ribbing and carrying on for a while on the stage. It was quite funny really and definitely borderline!!
We learnt that Ricky had a street dancing background and once that was out the bag you knew he wasn’t leaving that stage without busting some moves. Amusingly, he didn’t do so alone. Andre, Kojo and after much cajoling, Jamelia joined them on stage for some dancing.
Ricky’s a good mover and showed Kojo a thing or two on stage. Great fun.
Another interesting and little know fact we learnt is that Ricky is half Ghanian and half-English. His father is from Bethnal Green, right in the heart of the East End.
The winner of ‘Best Female Newcomer’ at the Black Comedy Awards 2013, Thanyia Moore was the second guest comedian to perform on the night. She delivered a fine, original set of material, regaling the audience with stories of all the adventures she got up to on her recent holiday in Egypt, such as diving in the sea, swimming and sailing. All very funny.
The only criticism I’d make is how she dealt with the audience. A little more respect for them might have been more appropriate. There were a group of boisterous Blonde ladies interjecting from time to time. It wasn’t too distracting though and added to the atmosphere as Kojo light heartedly joked with them.
At one point I recall Thanyia asked a question such as, if anyone had any children? One woman shouted out “yes”. To which Thanyia uses profane language in her response back as if to say she didn’t want to hear her response. It not only silenced the woman and her group of friends, but the whole theatre too as it seemed an overly abrupt response in the circumstances. I don’t believe they were drunk or ruining the show, so that was a bit harsh. If they merited that abuse, then security should have done their job and stepped in to firstly warn, then remove the women if they were perceived to be spoiling the show.
Ironically a few minutes later Thanyia asked another question. The audience didn’t respond and she commented, “you lot are dead tonight,” as if disappointed by the non-response. You can’t have it both ways. Ask a question, get a response then cuss out the respondee. It’s not surprising the audience chose not to respond to the second question.
Notwithstanding that awkwardness, it didn’t last long as Thanyia was good enough and funny enough to win the audience over with her jokes. On this performance it’s not hard to see why she won ‘Best Female Newcomer’ at the Black Comedy Awards 2013 and on 23rd January 2014 was named as one of the ‘Top 10 Black comedians to look out for in 2014.’
The show included singers Dora Martin and Angel who as well as singing, was interviewed. Female singe Tanika closed out the show. Alas her singing was a bit too loud and shouty sounding. Plus she was one performer too many, as the show could have ended nicely with the Angel interview. Her passion was great, but the delivery just needed to be a little more restraint to showcase her voice at its best.
This was a terrific evening of comedy, music and interviews. A real mix of stand up comedy from Kojo, Rudi Lickwood and Thanyia Moore, plus a Graham Norton style celebrity interview show. I look forward to Kojo’s chat show Part III.
© Tiemo Talk of the Town