Date: 13th February 2021
Host: Darran Griffiths
Comedians: Shawn King, Mo ‘Real, Kazeem Jamal, Michael Akadiri, Dana Alexander and Athena Kugblenu.
We’ll bring the comedy, you bring the food and drinks. Sounds like a good lock down recipe for a Valentine’s Saturday night in.
In what was a first for the 100 Black Men of London (100BMOL), the charity organised and hosted a 100 Comedy Fundraiser via Zoom on Valentine’s week-end.
A good on-line turnout was kept amused and entertained by host comedian and 100BMOL Member Darran Griffiths, who kept proceedings flowing nicely with his jokes and audience banter. One of the highlights occurred when he went around the “virtual room” seeing who’s in the house and engaged with, literally, one couple who looked so cosy and loved up. Whilst the smiling lady seemed enamoured by the idea of spontaneously getting engaged on-line at the behest of Darran, the giveaway constant shaking of her beau’s right leg seemed to tell another story! Anyway, we wish them well and I’m sure if they want to do that in real life, they’ll do so in their own sweet time. I suspect Darran was just trying to give love a little helping hand and do the “Wright thing” by throwing out his Cupid arrows.
Shawn King was very well received due to his unique Irish-Nigerian accent and Irish tales. The jokes about whether sending gay men to prison was the best punishment for their crimes went down a storm. I enjoyed his material, but thought his delivery could have been improved.
That was the case for a few of the acts and I appreciate for many it was their first or second ever Zoom gig so it’s not difficult to see problems with making a virtual audience laugh, especially if you can’t see them and/or hear their reaction to your jokes. On-line LOL’s doesn’t quite cut it for comedians! Muted applause is no applause. They need to hear the laughter coming at them loud and clear.
Mo ‘Real also struggled with the zoom format. That said, it wasn’t just that, as it was clear on this occasion her material would have benefited from further work to evoke laughter. The rapid fire delivery method can be effective, but this time sadly failed to hit home for many in the audience . Maybe a slower delivery style with greater focus on the set up and punchlines would have been in order.
The background for many acts was less than ideal. Mo ‘Real in particular had a music video playing in the background and a glass of wine on the table beside her. I would have thought that more could have been done to portray a theatrical background that could have enhanced the overall ambience. It might have been a good idea for all Comedians to have been given the same background (e.g. 100BMOL logo) to use when “on stage” or at least create a theatrical looking stage set up that they all could have shared.
Kazeem Jamal was funny with a confident, up tempo demeanour and delivery style. The only distraction with him as well as Canadian Comedian Dana Alexander was the frequent use of the f and c word in their set.
Both are very funny but considering this was billed as a show for “loved ones, family, friends and the community” as well as this show being one for a charity focused on uplifting the Black community, especially it’s youths, the message this sent was completely inconsistent with the 100BMOL ethos. As a former Member, I know the 100BMOL does not teach it’s young Diamonds (mentees), aged 10-17, to swear so it seemed somewhat incongruous to say the least that they permitted the comedians to freely do so on a show, which their Diamonds could have been watching. Despite the promotional advert stating it was a 16+ show that later age range encompasses the 100BMOL Diamonds.
The aim of the show was fundraising to help the charity purchase its own building for the furtherance of its goals. I wish it all the very best in this endeavour in this milestone year, its 20th year of existence. This is an incredibly long-time for an entirely self-financed charity. Its work in mentoring, Education, Economic Empowerment and Health & Wellness for young people are so badly needed, more than ever in these pandemic times.
The organisation has lasted two decades, as it was, like any building that has stayed up for decades, built on strong, unshakable foundations; with strong, non-negotiable principles and values underpinning it that keep its core structure safe and sound for all who use it. The organisation obviously meant well by this fundraising show. They let themselves down by the standard of language they permitted on their virtual Zoom stage for their Valentine’s show. Love is sweet nothings whispered into a lovers ears, not swearing down a microphone.
© Tiemo Talk of the Town
- Simply Off The Wall – 100BMOL & Tiemo Tribute to Michael Jackson – 5th March 2015
- Future Young Leaders – 100BMOL Graduation Ceremony – Tiemo Talk of the Town 25 July 2012
- Are Black Men an Endangered Species – 100BMOL An Audience with our Children – Review – Tiemo Talk of The Town – 20th July 2012
If you attended the show we’d love to read your comments so please feel free to share them directly on the comments section of the Blog.