It was Team Africa vs. Team West Indies at the Juice Cup Comedy festivities over the weekend in Toronto. #TeamAfrica won the cut on Friday night and for the final show on Sunday Team West Indies had to find a way to make a comeback. One thing was for certain, although this was a competition between two groups of people from opposite sides of the world, this was a united front with a little healthy competition.
There were four judges who are also comedians in their own right who gave feedback after each performance. Kenny Robinson, known for laying the groundwork for Black Comedy in Canada, was one of the key judges of the night as well as Femi Lawson, a Nigerian Actor/Comedian. The night started off with a warm up performance by local comedian Maliaka Bryce who brought her West Indian flavour to her show that juiced the crowd up for the main event. Expectations were high, especially after Team Africa killed it on Friday and took the Juice Cup home. This time around Team West Indies not only brought their game, but they also seemed to bring a bigger crowd as many shouts and cheers were heard for Team West Indies often overpowered that of Team Africa fans on the second night.
Aphrican Ape opened the show with his African experience stories that anyone can relate to whether you’re from the continent or beyond. Jay Martin is a fixture in his own right in the Toronto scene and he truly brought it just as he always does. Backstage before the show he talked about his goal being to win his own set. He certainly did a great job. All the way from the UK was The Original Yardie. A White Jamaican man who if you closed your eyes you’d swear you were listening to a true ‘yardie’ from JA. He was funny and had the crowd in stitches. One of my favourites of the night was Trixx, for Team Africa, who always kills it with his imitations of Jamaicans that is pure perfection.
I must admit some of the jokes through the night were hard jabs at culture, race, religion and even on some of the most sensitive topics like Ebola. I cringed at some of the low blows taken. It’s all part of the collateral damage in the comedy biz. Nothing seems to be off limits. But overall it was a night filled with laughter, food and great music.
Who won you ask? On this night it was Team West Indies that took it. So, in the end…it was a tie. Team Africa won on Friday night and Team West Indies on Sunday. I will say, at the end of it all, it didn’t matter who won because #TeamAfrica and #TeamWestIndies played hard and like a team. They all deserved the cup.