Jamali Maddix

Jamali Maddix

Winner of the 2014 Chortle Student Comedy Award
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Jamali Maddix: Chickens Come Home To Roost

Review by Steve Bennett

It’s a failing of the comedy industry that there aren’t more voices like Jamali Maddix’s on the circuit: a young working-class man, streetwise and energetic and with plenty to say about his experience.

He might not be well-read, claiming to know nothing about politics and proving too lazy to google the background information to several of his jokes. But he certainly knows a lot, about race, about the balance of sexual power, just about the way the world actually works in practice, not in theory, – and all backed up with entertaining and frank stories from his own life.

With a black dad, a white mum (and loads of criminal-element uncles, besides) Maddix naturally focuses a lot of his work on matters of race – making it crystal clear that his problem with the OTHER white people, not those who come to his gigs. Flattery will get him everywhere.

You’re likely already familiar with many of points he makes; that Ukip has made racism acceptable and middle-class; that we’re all, however seemingly liberal, contributing to modern-day slavery; and that old people (over-50!) shouldn’t be allowed to vote, a very common complaint following the Brexit debacle. But it’s the way he couches it that makes the difference; coming from a perspective often absent from mainstream discourse, backed with first-hand evidence and with cracking jokes to cement it.

He also talks about the sexualisation of society, though is he’s wary of the insincerity of a lot of male feminists and never sounds preachy when he talks about breastfeeding or slut shaming. How can he when he bookends it with a bit about how he likes titties and how women hold all the currency when it comes to getting sex?

There’s a goofiness to much of the material, stopping from sounding overly political or in any way preachy. How else did we get on to him ranting about eggs from what started as a point about non-white racism?

His delivery is compelling, yet unaffected, speaking with a passion but also with casual intimacy, like a one-sided pub conversation getting lively, but with a friendliness underpinning the cutting, vibrant banter. He can also spin a story, as proved by his fascinating closing routine in which he relates a real-life turning point when he steered away from a possible life of crime.

Maddix, who won the Chortle Student Comedy title in 2014, thinks his audience tonight are a little subdued, not giving him any momentum with their laughs, but the atmosphere seems upbeat to everyone else. He must have come to accept absolutely storming it as the norm, and you could well believe that.

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Published: 12 Aug 2016

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Past Shows

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

Chortle Student Comedy Award Final


Edinburgh Fringe 2015

Pleasance Comedy Reserve


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