WEDNESDAY. JULY 11: A celebrity judge on The Ricki Lake Show, the first African American wheelchair user to grace the stage of BET’s One Mic Stand, and one of Humour Mill magazine’s top comedians of 2009, are just three of the 15 established acts being brought to the island by local favourite Nadanja Bailey.
Queen Aishah, Damon Rozier and Tu Rae are among the comics to compete in what is being hailed by organizers as the island’s first annual Bermuda comedy competition — Come To Wreck Shop.
Nadanja teamed up with HBO Def Comedy Jam’s Beverly Nelson, aka B-Phlat, to select the all-American line-up.
B-Phlat has enjoyed many high profile performances including Def Comedy Jam, Showtime’s Comics Without Borders, and Starz Channel’s Martin Lawrence Presents the First Amendment Comedy Show.
Nadanja told the Bermuda Sun: “In the States, comedy is a big deal right now so I am trying to create a buzz in Bermuda.”
Nadanja is looking for sponsorship to help pay for the comedians’, travel, accommodation and performances.
Five comedians will perform for each of the first three “rounds” and the winners in each round will then compete against each other in the final round which takes place on November 10. A cash prize will be given.
“We selected comics who we know are working hard, who have been in the business for more than five years and have had TV experience,” Nadanja explained.
“Anyone can be on TV but they can suck, our comics have all done well.
“The winners from each round will come back in November and duke it out. It’s kind of like the PGA Grand Slam of comedy — you have got to win a major to get in the big league.”
As well as the three comedians in the final round, there will also be a local comedian.
The first of the international comedians will be performing at the Ruth Seaton James Centre this Sunday. The show features Alycia Cooper, Damon Rozier, Derek Gaines, Lawrence Killebrew and Richie Redding.
Round two is on August 18 featuring Jay Reid, Kiana Dancie, Queen Aisha, Trev Houston and D’Lai. Round three is on September 29 and features Pat Brown, Eddie Bryant, Barbara “Cat Eyes” Carlyle, John Moses and Tu Rae.
Among the many acts Nadanja admires from the line-up is Queen Aisha.
“Queen Aisha might kill it,” he laughs.
“The show is called Come To Wreck Shop which means you have just got to tear the place up. I think she might ‘wreck shop’ because she is just crazy and real. Comics that keep it real will be the ones who will go the furthest. They are my favourite.”
He also mentioned Damon Rozier who got into comedy after a serious accident put him in a wheel chair.
Nadanja said: “When you can walk your whole life and realise you can never walk again, from his point of view it has been a sad time. He watched lots of comedy shows and didn’t see anyone in a wheel chair so he thought he would break the barrier.
“His spirits stayed high and he started to do comedy and he is now a headliner — no one wants to go up after him.”
Another one to look out for is Tu Rae who won the World Cup Comedy Clash at London’s Hackney Empire in 2007.
He has won a number of competitions including the Def Jam Comedy Competition and the WB’s Comedy After Midnight.
In an interesting twist, Nadanja will be asking the audience to be the judge of the shows “Apollo style”. “I’ll be the one putting my hand over the comedians’ heads and then saying ‘make some noise’.
“The one who has the loudest cheer wins so if you don’t like them then don’t say anything because a ‘boo’ counts as noise.”
The show is adult themed but there will be a limit on cursing.
Nadanja said that he hoped to bring the competition back next year adding: “We as a community love to laugh and we love to be entertained, the atmosphere is going to be there. Next year I hope it will be even bigger and better.”
Anyone interested sponsoring the event should contact: 337-6501 or e-mail email@example.com. Donations can still be accepted for the August, September and November shows.When: Round one — July 15. Round two — August 18. Round three — September 29. Final round — November 10.
Where: Ruth Seaton James Centre
Price: $50. Package price for all four events is $160.
Tickets: On sale at bdatix.bm, Fabulous Fashions, All Wrapped Up and 27th Century Boutique
Contact: For more information contact: 337-6501 / firstname.lastname@example.org