Star rating: *****
Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust Fundraiser
1a Oxendon Street
Monday 8th June 2015
A scorching hot line up of some of the country’s top young comedians assembled at the world famous Comedy Store in the heartbeat of London’s West End with the intention of not only making the audience laugh, but raising money for the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust.
The show, organised by Comedian Imran Yusuf, was held together by a great compere, Jason Patterson. With a nice line in friendly and funny audience banter his wide repertoire of jokes kept people laughing away all night. His interpretation of the things non-Londoner’s criticize about the capital was especially amusing.
There were many outstanding performances on the night, but arguably the stand out set was that from Marlon Davis, 31. His tales of being a new father were achingly funny. His set was full of strong jokes, much of which pertained to his relationships with the mother of his child and his own mother.
In a well thought out, finely structured show, there seemed to be a real element of truth and believability to the stories he told which made them even more memorable and hilarious.
After a slow start, blamed on a poor Chinese meal experience in Soho, but maybe just part of the act, Prince Abdi really got into his stride. There were jokes about his Somalian roots and I don’t mean his amazing crop of hair either, but playing it for all it’s worth re the Somalian piracy stories a few years ago.
The many different accents he mimicked were great and added to the joyousness of his set. Being, presumably, the only Somalian Comedian working in the UK, he brings something different to the comedy table which is refreshingly original and enjoyable. There was nothing too heavy or political, just good old fashioned jokes.
Dane was introduced by Jason as the first Black Comedian to be nominated for the prestigious Best Newcomer award at the Edinburgh Fringe last year for his ‘Citizen Dane’ show. Dane started off by correcting Jason and informing the audience that he was not the first Black nominee (that honour went to American Reginald D Hunter) but the first Black British nominee. He used this to make a fine, running gag re how lowly he stands in the ranks of “great” Black Britons!
He was on brilliant sardonic, dead pan form, with a slightly political edge at times as he poked fun at the absurdity of some police stop and search tactics. With performances like this he will be rapidly rising up the ranks of great Black Britons.
Ola was largely exercised by race and brought a more political edge to proceedings talking about being a minority in Wales and the other circumstances where his ethnicity was an issue, for instance a diversity award, that pitted different minorities against one another.
Referring to the fact he had been nominated for another award, a Black Comedy Award (Tiemo’s own no less) he said whilst that was nice, he’d rather be recognised for being the best Comedian rather than the best Black Comedian.
Point taken, but there is a reason why we’ve had the Black Comedy Awards, BEFFTA’s, The MOBO’s, The Screen Nation Awards etc.. and all manner of award ceremonies recognising Black achievement. If it wasn’t deemed necessary to have unapologetically Black categorisation and celebrations of success, we would not have had such as gig as this entitled #Black Lives Matter.
#Lives Matter doesn’t quite have the same impact and if you read the historical and present day socio-political context underpinning #BLM I’m sure people would over stand that. There is a brilliant article on the #BLM website ( link below) explaining the origins behind #BLM that is well worth a read.
Funmbi was good value for money. Fresh from his week-end appearance on the first episode of the brand new John Bishop show, he was less political, providing more gentle natured comedy poking fun at his Nigerian names and nice guy appearance.
Nabil was a lot more politically strident. However his delivery was at times so fast it was nigh on impossible to make out what he was saying. Overall though he was well received and hit the mark with some astute observations.
Headliner for the night Nathan Caton had the thankless and somewhat unenviable job of topping everything that had gone before. Sadly he wasn’t able to and that was a shame. Being on late in the night, following seven very good comedians is a tough ask.
There were some good gags but over use of the F word and the somewhat nervous delivery, especially at the start did not win over everybody.
Nathan’s audience interaction fell a little flat. I think the front row had largely been left alone by the acts, except for Jason, which they were fine with as they had been promised they would not be “picked on” at the start as Jason encouraged people to fill up the front rows rather than congregate at the back.
He then launched into a routine re being referred to as “my nigga” by an African-American he met in the South of France. He wasn’t impressed at all. Fine. We got that and it was a good anecdote but not necessarily an especially funny one. However as this was meant to be a political comedy night – #Black Lives Matter – that was topically on point.
However his message that people shouldn’t be using the N word, even as a greeting between Black people, lost a lot of it’s currency with me when he liberally peppered his routine with the F word in virtually every other sentence. It was gratuitous, off putting and annoying. It doesn’t sit well to launch a routine re finding a particular word so offensive by simultaneously using another word that many would say is equally, if not more offensive.
You would struggle to recall the likes of Curtis Walker, Dara O’Briain, John Bishop, Michael McIntyre or Slim for instance using that word in their routines and look where they are.
Notwithstanding that, all in all this was a brilliant show and easily one of the very best I’ve seen all year.
Take a bow Mr Imran Yusuf for organising this show. The quality was high and consistent, with each new act bringing something funny to the stage. The show and line up was worthy of Stephen Lawrence’s name. I’m sure he would be chuckling away if he could have seen this.
Review © Tiemo Talk of the Town
#BLM Backstage photo © The Comedy Store
- Black Lives Matter campaign
- Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust – vision
- You can see many of the above acts on the comedy circuit all over the country as well as at the Edinburgh Fringe between 7th – 31st August 2015
- Tiemo Entertainments Funny Ha Ha Amazon Store
- Alchemedians Live review – Best of Asian comedy – 12th June 2015
- Bearcat Comedy review featuring Bob Mills – 29th May 2015
- Black Comedy Awards 2013 review – 9th March 2015
- Stand up for the Comedy School review – 6th November 2013
#BlackLivesMatter is working for a world where Black lives are no longer systematically and intentionally targeted for demise. We affirm our contributions to this society, our humanity, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression. We have put our sweat equity and love for Black people into creating a political project–taking the hashtag off of social media and into the streets. The call for Black lives to matter is a rallying cry for ALL Black lives striving for liberation.
Source: Black Lives Matter