WEDNESDAY, JAN. 16: This year’s Just For Laughs offered an eclectic mix of comedic styles from the loud and obnoxoius to the just plain weird.
Local comedian Jonathan Young was exceptional — his satire about as edgy as you can get away with.
After ribbing both Paula Cox and Craig Cannonier he turned to the audience. He joked that he bet the expats were glad that the Uyghurs were allowed to stay in Bermuda — “now there’s someone with a lower status than you”.
This year, Young decided to change his act up a little posing as a local radio talk show listener calling to air his views. It was a refreshing change and made way for an entertaining Bermudian accent.
In a rather scathing joke about an unqualified Bermudian at a job interview for a reinsurance position he imitated: “I’m been studied numbers, I can do quarters, eighths and even ounces when I can get my hands on it.”
Orny Adams, once hailed by Jerry Seinfeld as the next big thing to hit comedy, had an electric stage presence. His cynical outlook on the world made up the majority of his material from tax breaks for families with children to giving up on your dreams.
He had researched Bermuda and included plenty of local material.
So many foreign actors end up talking about the fact that everyone says “good morning and good afternoon” to each other here and that it is too expensive.
Adams was no exception but his delivery was more entertaining than most because he gets so irate. He recalled how, when he arrived on the island, he bought a meal and asked for his change to be given in US dollars to which the waitress asked: “What change?”
Although he told the Bermuda Sun in an interview that he is trying to avoid material about technology as it was “too easy”, he included it anyway. It might be easy but the audience seemed to like it.
Host Alonzo Bodden tied the show together wonderfully. He had some of the best off the cuff material while his cool delivery made the audience relax into the evening.
His take on being an old bachelor was one of the funniest parts of his line-up. He said that if he were to try to attract a cougar at his age she would have to be around 70-years-old. “You don’t get a cougar at my age, you get a sabre tooth!”
Bodden uses vivid imagery in his observations which adds depth to his performance. For instance, when describing a small town girl trying to walk in stilettos he said she looked like, “a baby deer trying to walk on an icy lake”.
After an intermission Canadian Mark Forward took to the stage and took the comedy in a bizarre new direction. His style was introverted and intentionally awkward offering a change of pace to the evening’s entertainment. He invited the audience to open their minds to another plane of reality as he launched into a long tale about a couple of chipmunks. I’m guessing it was an exercise to show how random stories can be made up on the spot and can explode into something much bigger than they start off as. It seemed to divide the audience — a good proportion enjoyed the story as there was a steady stream of laughter throughout the performance, but many, including myself, gradually got a little bored with it. The corny jokes didn’t help like when Mrs Owl asks a beaten chipmunks “whoooooo hit you?” Again a majority of people seemed to find this hilarious.
After the chipmunks, the act picked up and actually became quite racy — a little too racy for this review.
Forward was the only comedian to integrate music into the show — his ukulele skits were a welcome
Finally, the hilarious Danny Bhoy took to the stage and picked up the pace again for the finale performance.
Again he was good with the off the cuff material. When he asked if there were any Scots in the audience the half-hearted mumble from a few people provoked outrage. He asked them what the Scottish warrior William Wallace from Braveheart would have thought if he had got that response when rallying troops to fight for his country’s freedom.
The half Scot, half Indian ripped into Los Angeles people for their use of the English language, —how they call everything “bizarre!” or are always saying “oh my gaaaad!” in an over-the-top voice.
He brought the tone back down to earth when describing Scotland and its despicable weather. “I do miss Scotland — the brown grass and the rain that hurts your face.” The Scots would have laughed in Noah’s face when he complained of 40 days and 40 nights, he said.