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Ity and Fancy Cat Show Promises to go 'Large and Live'

Ity and Fancy Cat

The fifth season of the sketch comedy series The Ity and Fancy Cat Show, featuring the comedy duo Ity and Fancy Cat was launched on Wednesday night at the Fiction Lounge in Kingston. In making it to the fifth season, the series has effectively secured its place in Jamaica’s popular culture making its slogan ‘Large and Live’ appear very apt. 

The event’s key note speaker, Dr. Sonjah Stanley Niaah, author of Dancehall: from Slaveship to Ghetto, outlined as much. “We’re now in the realm of that which cannot be erased from memory,” she said, explaining that the show was now on its way to graduating from infancy. During its four seasons, the show has created numerous sketches related to several important events and figures in contemporary Jamaica, gaining the reputation for being the litmus test for important controversial issues or persons.

Stanley Niaah remarked that as audiences prepare for another season of “traffic blocking vibrations of resounding laughter,” they should also recognize that comedy is serious business as laughter has been proven to have healing effects on the mind, body and spirit. Indeed, laughter’s role as a balm in troubling times was raised by several of the evening’s speakers. However, Stanley Niaah also pointed out that the creative industries, of which comedy is an important part, requires greater support from the government in critical areas such as policy and venue development.

Comedy’s historical sociological role was brought to the fore by Mr. Sydney Bartley, of the Ministry of Youth and Culture, indicating that it dates back to slavery. Bartley, whose witty remarks suggested he may have been auditioning for his own spot on the sketch comedy, explained that the process of poking fun or “taking step with each other” was a release valve against the horrors of plantation slavery.

Owen 'Blakks' EllisThe proceedings were held together by Owen ‘Blakka’ Ellis, the evening’s master of ceremonies. Ellis pointed out that the duo of Ity and Fancy Cat owed some of their success to those who came before them. He listed other comedy duos such as Ike and Mike, Bim and Bam, Miss Lou and Mass Ran and Bello and Blakka as important forerunners. He also noted that previous television shows such as Oliver at Large, and Lime Tree Lane were important to making the Ity and Fancy Cat show a reality. Indeed, he explained that in some cases, the stalwarts were directly responsible for aiding in the discovery of coming acts. ‘We’re here because they did what they did,” he said.

The launch provided a platform for the show’s major sponsors, Digicel, Restaurants of Jamaica, Courts and the host station TVJ to express their support and commitment to the show.

“We saw just unparalleled value,” said Tina Matalon of Restaurants of Jamaica. “I think they have redefined the statement take bad things make laugh and they have made it even better.”

Denzi Stephenson-Miller, Acting General Manager, TVJ admitted that The Ity and Fancy Cat show has had a significant role in establishing and maintaining TVJ’s leadership position among viewers. “So as they open the floodgates of laughter this season, be assured that you won’t hear us say ‘lack i back!” she told the audience.

Season five will premier on May 27, 2012, at 9:30pm on TVJ.