Kevin J: Council State of Mind

Star Rating: ***

Pleasance Dome (Venue 23)



Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2015

7th -31st August 2015, 22:15pm Daily. £10

Review date: Sunday 9th August 2015

In his second Edinburgh Fringe run, following last year’s debut show ‘The Urban Truth’, Kevin J delivered his first full length, one hour, Edinburgh show.

Kevin J was raised on a farm

It was an entertaining one, generating lots of laughter in a packed and very hot room. With anecdotes laced with humour, he gave people an insight into his background, education and upbringing on the streets of Broadwater Farm in Tottenham, North London. For non-Londoner’s, no, Broadwater Farm is not a farm and Kevin J is not an animal! Though Kevin J was raised on a farm has a nice ring to it LoL!  Fear not, for all is explained in the show.

His Dad come in for a bit of gentle stick as he poked fun at some of his hilarious escapades and dodgy business plans to do with meters and driving, but please don’t think the two are connected!

Being the “token white guy” made him, in a reversal of the norm, the ethnic minority at his school. This he took full and humorous advantage of and had the audience in stitches with his school day stories regarding what his fellow pupils said they wanted to become when they grew up.

Kevin J

Kevin J

Growing up in that area has shaped him and given him a cutting edge niche as a comedian. It explains why for the first six years of his stand up career he has primarily performed and fitted in well on the Black comedy circuit. I wouldn’t say he is parodying Black culture, for he has lived, breathed and even eaten it! So much so that he is a much sought after performer for shows in Ghana and Nigeria.

It therefore came as something of a surprise that he didn’t do any of the African and West Indian accents he is famous for. He said something about that being misconstrued as racist. Not sure where he got that idea from (though I hear it may have something to do with a Facebook spat some time ago) but from my point of view it’s a great loss not to hear the accents and I never considered it racist in the slightest – even before it was put into context with shows like this one and The Urban Truth. If it was racist, then I hardly think he’d be getting booked and flown out to do gigs in Nigeria, Ghana and other African countries!

The downside of this is that we got the African kidnapping joke, but minus the accent, so it lost some of it’s punch, which is what made the joke work so hilariously in the first place. Bring back the accents Kevin J.

A year ago reviewing his Edinburgh show I wrote that it “was admirable to see someone stretch themselves and not just stay in their comfort zone.” However, on this showing Kevin J hasn’t really done that this time around. Whilst still pretty funny and well received, the show was more akin to ‘The Urban Truth II’ and essentially covered the same ground, with much of the same material as last year’s show. To me that’s not really in the spirit of Edinburgh where acts are expected to bring brand new shows each year.

All the same, the show was still funny and well received by the audience, who may well be new to Kevin J. For me, it would have been even better with an injection of fresh material into it.

©  Tiemo Talk of the Town

If you attended the show, or have a view regardless, we’d love to read your views. Feel free to post them on our blog.

  1. Edinburgh Fringe reviews 2015
  2. No Laughing Matter? Race, Identity and the Humour of Sacha Baron Cohen Symposium – article – 9th March 2015
  3. Top 10 Shows and restaurants – Edinburgh Fringe 2014
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