I walk down the stairs into the Cavern Club to see Jamaine Ross’s show and he immediately greets me with a friendly handshake, a warm smile and a jovial ‘hello’. I introduce myself and know immediately I’m going to like this show.
As the show begins Jamaine claims he has to greet us because the venue is so small it has no backstage area. I don’t believe that for a second. He seems genuinely interested in creating a welcoming vibe, and he succeeds.
Most Billy T shows, and this one is no different, seem to focus on the comedian’s ‘story’ – the path they’ve been on to get where they are now, peppered with stories and anecdotes about their lives to this point. For Jamaine that centres mainly around stories from his youth, which heavily influences the childlike fascination he has with the world.
The show was full of pop culture references from the 80s and 90s – from Fresh Prince to Transformers to video games – and the crowd loved it, laughing with recognition. I did wonder if a crowd not of his generation would enjoy it in the same way we did, and considered suggesting in this review that if he wants to broaden his audience then he should work to be more inclusive. But then I thought, no. If younger or older generations don’t get the references and their experience suffers for it – then he’s not the right comedian for them. Simple.
The show included jokes on topics I’ve either found offensive or grown tired of seeing people do – AIDs, cancer, dicks. But I was very pleasantly surprised by Jamaine’s ability to write jokes on those topics that were original and clever. And in the case of the AIDs and cancer jokes, they were not at the expense of the victim. It proved to me that you really can tell a joke on nearly any topic, as long as it’s handled with compassion and intelligence. Jamaine has both in abundance.
I think Jamaine is hilariously funny, and his comedy is very intelligent and accessible. He’s a playful and giggly person – both of which become very contagious throughout the show.
The remaining shows in Wellington are sold out, but if you’re in Auckland he’ll be on at the Classic Studio from 12-17 May.