Monday, February 19, 2018

Yearning to laugh


Wendel Etienne, right, breaks the news to Theresa Hope that he had to give her beloved dog, Gypsy to Mr Chin to settle a gambling debt.

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Dr Choonky Ting assures Kenneth Supersad that he can treat his ailment so that he will be able to stand up to anything, anytime. Photos: Wayne Bowman

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While some crave Carnival from as far back as October there are those who through the season just look forward to the post-Carnival comedy shows. For a lot of people these shows are their cooldown rather than more fetes or negotiating the crowds at the beaches.

Therefore on February 15 several hundred people packed the Arima Velodrome for the opening of the Alternative Comedy Festival presented by Randy Glasgow Productions. On this night, incidentally, there were two other such events taking place in Port of Spain namely the World Laugh Festival at Jean Pierre Complex and Talk Tent at Queen's Hall. Yet the Alternative Comedy still managed a sold out audience.

So, on with the show in which much of the comedy was not PG-rated and quite racy. There was not as much politically oriented material as in previous editions, possibly because people have really grown so fed-up with the escapades of politicians that it's just not that funny any more. The Prime Minister and National Security Minister were mentioned in some jokes, though, both presented a most unflattering light.

For example in a skit featuring Kenneth Supersad as a reporter doing live interviews on stage at the Queen's Park Savannah on Carnival Tuesday, the comedian spots one "Mr Warner" jumping in a band. Supersad asks the man what is the reason for the recent animosity between himself and his boss.

Mr Warner answers that there is no problem as his boss told him that he remains her go-to man of business, but Keshorn Walcott is now her iron man, which sent the audience into peals of laughter.

Things in the skit got more interesting when an extremely skinny man shows up on stage and he and Mr Warner get into a fight because the latter tells Supersad that the skinny man used to stuff his face with Debe doubles every night after his farce.

Opening the show was the popular Knuts Landing who delivered a series of one liners that had people doubled over laughing uncontrollably. The nuts vendor turned comic told the audience that they should not be too hard on the People's Partnership Government because they were really working hard. "We have a functioning Government. Every weekend they does have a function," Knuts Landing said as the audience roared.

He also said that the National Security Minister ordered the police to post guards at every cemetery because he wanted to make sure all areas were secure. He said that one night two officers posted at the Lapeyrouse Cemetery, Port of Spain, saw a man walking out with a casket on his back. Knuts Landing said when they stopped him ready to arrest him for grave robbing, the man told them, "Know what all yuh doing."

The officers asked what was he doing with the casket, the man replied, "I eh like whey dey bury me, so I moving out,"

Nicki Crosby, acting as Gladys Silvia Bradshaw, who is more popularly referred to as Granny, had the audience in stitches as she, alongside Penelope Spencer, Debra Boucaud-Mason and others performed a skit in which Granny was in court for assaulting a young man.

According to the young man, Granny beat him for no reason whatsoever, but Granny's defence was, "Ah plannass he a*#s for tiefing in meh yard."

Granny also had choice word for the judge, played by Spencer who Granny said looked just like her mother who she knew well. "Yuh look just like yuh modder. We used to call she butterface. She had a body on she. But a face? Gyad," Granny said.

Wendel Etienne and Theresa Hope did their "Unlucky Couple" skit in which Hope returns home from a long trip to find that Etienne has sold off everything in the house to pay off gambling debts. He tells her that Standards came and repossessed all their furniture and appliances, but the problem with that story was they had bought everything from Courts. Etienne even had to give away their dog, Gypsy to settle a debt with Mr Chin. When Hope found out this was the case she gave the dog up for lost forever.

The night's two foreign acts each proved pleasing to the audience. Chow Pow from Guyana won over the women opening by saying Trinidad had the most gorgeous women he had ever seen. Jean Paul from Canada got them laughing with his exploration of the language of Rastafarians and also the homophobia of Jamaican men.

For example, he said one day he

Yearning to laugh

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