Dis shoodbe on TV, Hackney Empire
Comedy sketch shows are particularly tricky because each piece must be self contained, punchy, evocative, quick, and dynamic. And so, as this show claims it should be on TV, the quality of delivery must be high with the laughter coming thick and fast. Unfortunately, this was not the case.
With Glenda Jaxson warming up the crowd by lamenting about the lack of black people on TV except for starring roles on Crimewatch, this doesn’t show any innovation or make an impact. Wayne Dibbi Rollins was better with his question about non representation of familiar faces on TV quiz shows like Who wants to be a millionaire? – the rolling yout’ dem or the Yardies. Apart from being a potent point, his imitations were funny.
Overall, however, the sketches were too long, introducing some unnecessary characters who provided little amusement in driving the narrative. For example, in the opening scene, which acknowledged the problems of outsourcing and understanding different accents, a character calls a car breakdown service only to find that the operator is in Barbados. This should have ended when she told him it would take a week to pick up his car as they only had one call out service for the whole of London and showing the frustration of dealing with local problems. However, it then went onto introduce two Nigerian mechanics who likened women to cars, whining their waists in unison, and the punch line at the end, apparently, where one of the women they were lusting after turned out to be the driver’s missus.
Often, the jokes were weak and comic timing was lost. So many Nigerians are giving their children quirky names these days to celebrate triumphs in their lives: Clever, Favour, Happy, so the character of Nigerian Pastor Particular should have maximized this. He was dressed in a funny ensemble with a cultural cap, bright orange sequinned top, and furry animal skin shorts. Pastor Particular told the audience of his vision of seeing Jesus calling him to lead the flock – but to his shock horror, Jesus, spoke with a Jamaican accent because he had been bopping with Bob Marley. His sermon to urge the crowd to have the faith of a mustard seed in all situations did not trigger a laughing in the spirit.
Playing on the stereotype of a wotless man who refuses to work but loves to take money from his partner, the best sketch was that mimicking a spray cleaning advert where the offender was sprayed dead. This appealed to a lot of the women in the audience as too many know of guys who feel that having a job is akin to a swear word. Rollins, again, was entertaining as he reminisced about the impact of Lover’s Rock in comparison with today’s music for the youth which doesn’t have any feeling, any emotion. “They sing in tongues in Lover’s Rock,” he quipped whilst doing some saucy moves.
Rollins, who is also a presenter on Choice FM, has built a faithful audience through his character of Dibbi and they will support, but to attract a new following on TV this sketch show needs a lot of improvement.
Dis Shoodbe on TV was at the Hackney Empire in May, 2009