Duffy, Fancy Cat get Slightly UnhingedWednesday, September 23, 2020
BY RICHARD JOHNSON
Local comedian Dufton “Duffy” Shepherd is all set for the fourth instalment of Slightly Unhinged, his online, “pay-per-view” comedy special which will stream this Sunday. As has been the practice with previous episodes, Shepherd is being joined by another comedian. This time it is perennial favourite Fancy Cat.
In a telephone interview with the Jamaica Observer Shepherd explained that a new feature of this staging is the presence of a live studio audience.
“As we go on over the months we are looking to improve our product. Production quality is a very big thing for us, so we work at improving sound quality, looking at better camera angles so that our audience can be engaged in what we are doing onstage and have the best possible experience even though they are joining us virtually. We take the fact that this is a totally Jamaican product very serious. Jamaican conceptualisers, Jamaican cast and crew… so we know we have to deliver something of the highest quality,” he said.
“With that in mind we have decided to open the recording of the special to a live audience to just improve the look and feel of the production. We found the perfect location in Skydweller Lounge here in Kingston. It's a large space where persons can come in and enjoy a few drinks ahead of enjoying what we are presenting on stage.,” Shepherd continued.
He was however quick to note that all the necessary protocols surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic will be strictly observed.
“First things first… the wearing of masks is mandatory. We are taking no chances. Yes, we know that persons want to go out for a little entertainment but the health and safety for all concerned is extremely important to us. So there will be sanitising stations, temperature checks and we are specific when it comes to social distancing. We are limited the number of persons who will be part of our live audience and the seating is in keeping with the established rules for events such as this,” he said.
The producers of the series have set a 4:00pm start time to ensure that the audience can take in the performance and return home ahead of the national curfew times.
Tickets for the event will be made available to patrons via an online promotion on the comedian's social media pages including Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. Information is also available via the event's newly established website. The website, Shepherd said, is a one-stop portal for all things Slightly Unhinged. This includes information on past episodes, as well as behind-the scenes videos and photographs from the previous stagings.Patrons are able to purchase a code which allows them to watch the performance online over a period of time before it is removed.
Shepherd and his team have more plans to expand the offerings of Slightly Unhinged and proposals to extend invitations to fellow comedians from the wider Caribbean.
“For this show we are having Fancy Cat, and we are all aware of his capacity to entertain. I have to give thanks for the three other comedians who joined me previously… Dahlia Harris, Christopher “Johnny” Daley and Owen “Blacka” Ellis. The plan is that as we move forward and [when] restrictions on international travel and movement are not so tight, that we invite some of our friends from the rest of the Caribbean to join us so we can invite a wider audience, particularly those in the diaspora, to join Slightly Unhinged online and we all just have fun together,” said Shepherd.
The idea for this format for Slightly Unhinged was born out of the need to create entertainment avenues and income streams given the financial challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Shepherd shared that, given there are no care packages available to comedians, he had to find a way to present his craft to a global audience and earn during this time. The first online version of Slightly Unhinged was staged in June of this year.