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Praise and laughter at cook-up

Observer writer

Monday, January 01, 2018

Patrons received a double treat at the Boxing Day edition of Christmas Comedy Cook-Up.

Promoted by Ellis International and held at the National Indoor Sports Centre in St Andrew, the event featured four gospel acts and four comedians who treated the audience to a mix of praise and laughter.

“This is our 14th staging and we wanted to infuse laughter with worship hence the theme Praise and Laughter', Owen “Blakka” Ellis, a director of Ellis International.

The event attracted more than 2,000 patrons.

“The entire energy was awesome, and the turnout is very good. We used to average about 1,000 patrons when we were at the Pegasus and now we have over 2,000 patrons,” said Ellis.

Hosted by Ity and Fancy Cat, Christmas Comedy Cook-Up featured the likes of Kathy Grant, Ellis, St Hope and Leighton Smith. On the gospel side, Marq Johnson, Kevin Heath, Rondell Positive and Jermaine Edwards kept the musical vibes flowing.

American ventriloquist Willie Brown and his puppets Uncle Rufus and Woody were a riot. Patrons enjoyed every minute of their presentation.

“I've been doing this for a long time and what I try to do is to make my characters come to life. We want to make the audience laugh and come into our world,” said Brown.

“My mission is to help you become a child again. Being a ventriloquist is different from being a stand-up comedian. You have to keep the character moving and alive and engage with them, and the audience as well.”

The show opened with Johnson, who got the audience moving with his spiritual delivery. Comedian St Hope was in nick form as his presentation reflected on experiences in the United States.

There was a cameo appearance from Rozah Roze (son of the late Alton Ellis), who performed a medley of his father's hits.

“I was blown away by the reception from the audience. Having baptised earlier this year, I had to adjust my material, so I was a bit shaky going on stage,” Kathy Grant explained. It was her eighth time performing at the series.

Ellis, with his hilarious delivery, spoke about the biases towards both sexes and was spot on. His years of experience easily made him a standout on a night.

Heath, Positive, and Edwards upped the ante with song and worship as patrons sang along heartily.

Leighton Smith continues to prove that he ranks among the top comedians of the day.