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Johnny Daley Goes Live

Christopher 'Johnny' Daley

A life of poverty is no laughing matter ... unless you are a comedian, then it makes for hilarious fodder for your routine. So Christopher Johnny Daley mined his roots in the tiny lane in one of Kingston’s ghettos, to provide an evening of laughter (and a touch of romance) with Johnny Daley Live, recently held at the Courtleigh auditorium.

Johnny Daley Live allowed the comedian into a rare rank of Jamaican comedians (actually he might be the only one in the rank unless one includes the comedic duo Bello and Blakka) to stage a solo stand-up comedy show. While over the past few years comedy shows seemed to have been on the rise (though they have currently hit a lull), it is certainly a rare thing to have a single headliner.

The show, produced by Robin Baston is a hallmark event that highlights that despite the hilarity that ensues, Daley takes his comedic game seriously, and has developed a solid repertoire, allowing him to deliver an on-point set, for approximately 45 minutes. Johnny Daley Live was, therefore, a coming of age event, and to hear Daley tell it, it is a show he’s wanted to do for at least four years. 

ElvaElva, armed with her usual fare of witty raunchiness, provided the opening act, and though she promised that she was going to be “ladylike even if it kill di whole a we,” she failed hilariously. 

Daley started with his rise to quasi-stardom as a child on the then popular television comedy Lime Tree Lane, the show which endowed the comedian with the ‘Johnny’ moniker. He drew comparisons between the sanitized, wholesome Lime Tree Lane, and the crime-ridden lane he actually lived on. He pointed out that being on the show not only brought him notoriety, but also kept him safe when he was coming home late, at least as long as he identified himself, which he did by singing “A me name Johnny" at the top of his lungs from the moment the bus deposited him down the road until he reached his own gate.

The show remained autobiographical as Daley spoke about his early years in comedy as a part of the trio PAC along with fellow Edna Manley College graduates Mark Danvers and Donald Anderson. Daley almost had the audience rolling as he outlined their ill-fated attempt to provide entertainment at the equally ill-devised ‘dancehall comedy show’. Rather than being showered with praise, the group found themselves narrowly escaping a stoning, as the audience vented their frustration at having their dance interrupted. 

While it remained autobiographical, the set then segued to the main theme of the night, sex. Here Daley spoke of the dangers of ill-timed farting, his own sex video and how it almost ruined his career and eventually how he and his wife keep their sex lives interesting.

Johnny Daley Live was certainly an ambitious feat, and at the end of the event, Daley had managed to put together an engaging often hilarious set. It’s a natural progression that is likely to be replicated as more comedians refine their material and gain additional experience. 

Johnny Daley Live took place at the Courtleigh Auditorium in Kingston on Sunday, February 14, 2016.