WEDNESDAY, JULY 18: Nadanja Bailey’s inaugural Annual Bermuda Comedy Competition was a hilarious way to spend a Sunday evening — it’s such a shame there were so few people there to enjoy it.
A combination of ineffective advertising, and the $50 ticket price, are thought to be the cause of the low turnout for the show which is so far being paid for out of the local comedian’s own pocket.
New York’s Richie Redding was voted by the audience as the clear winner with his racy quips about sex, race and not least, his hilarious impression of a female audience member’s dirty cackle.
His success was very much down to his polished performance, he skipped seamlessly from recalling embarrassing sexual encounters, to shamelessly tactless fears of black men in doo rags and Iraqis in vests.
Many of his jokes were too rude to repeat in full in this article, such as the girl who must have had gills to be able to perform a certain sex act the way she did.
The older members of the audience particularly enjoyed his contempt for today’s youth who can “download a song in three seconds”. He acted out what it took to “download” a song in his day — hauling your stereo onto your shoulders, sitting by the radio for hours waiting for the DJ to play your song so you could record it — adverts included.
Alicia Cooper was another popular act. One of her jokes was about a man who was not well endowed — she asked: “Is it wrong to ask a man to wear a strap on?” which got the few in the house falling about laughing.
Her jibe against Mitt Romney for his criticism of Obama’s healthcare policy was a crowd pleaser too. She pointed out that everyone who drives a car has to buy car insurance so why not health insurance? “When I get sick I gotta drive my car into a tree,” she carped. Although some jokes were a little old — like the bizarre names some black parents give their children — on the whole the response to her was great.
Derek Gaines won the popularity contest when he burst into his priceless beat box sequence that had the ladies in the audience screaming for more. Perhaps even more entertaining was his impression of a white man trying to beat box, hopelessly, but getting much more credit than a black artist.
After a boring string of mildly funny fat jokes he redeemed himself with the gangster breakfast skit about different food items vying to be a gang leader — it was a great bit of word play that you had to hear to appreciate. His delivery was aggressive and a little too fast at times.
Lawrence Killebrew was entertaining up to a point — he had a good energy and a punchy delivery that warmed the audience immediately. On the whole though, the performance didn’t seem to flow very well, part of the problem was that whenever he asked the audience a question and they didn’t answer, which was often, he made a big point of it rather than just moving on with the act. Then he got into dodgy territory talking about his father boasting to him about how good at sex he was — far too cringe-worthy.
Damon Rozier focused a lot of his material on his being in a wheelchair, and being one of the few working comics in a wheelchair, it seemed to make sense. A couple of people just weren’t expecting to see it, and after a night of comedy, seeing him role on stage in a wheelchair tipped them over the edge and made them laugh. But he didn’t react to it and just carried on with his act. The material was slow to get moving, a few jokes about fat women and his family using him at theme parks to jump the queue — but then he talked about his friend hooking him up with a blind date only to find out she was actually blind, and things got a little funnier.
I know a lot of the audience were beaten into shape by their parents as kids and those jokes always get a good laugh — but Rozier carried it on to this generation “you gotta beat your kids” he shouted. For me, in this day and age, the joke is getting less and less funny.
On the whole all the comedians took time to add a little local humour into their acts which is always good form. All 15 of the comedians were American and only two were white. Perhaps a little more variety, aiming for a broader appeal, might help to fill out the seats in future.
Future show dates have now changed — the August show has been postponed. The next shows are due to take place in September, October and November. A reduction in ticket price from $50 is being discussed.