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Jamali Maddix: Chickens Come Home To Roost

at Monkey Barrel

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Former student comedian of the year wins Monkey Barrel over with easy style

Image of Jamali Maddix: Chickens Come Home To Roost

Former Chortle Student Comedian of the Year Maddix brings a more than decent Sunday night crowd down here to Monkey Barrel, a venue barely a few months old, but already one of the rooms to play on the Scottish circuit.

Circuit regular Gareth Waugh opens, maybe not the best of matches for what’s to come stylistically, but a safe pair of hands, massively likeable and easy to get along with. He trades in loveable loserdom – getting ID’d at the offie, being too short for certain sexual activities, being a bit rubbish at keeping fit. But every so often, he’ll up the stakes with something dirtier. ‘I’d underestimated you,’ he says after something grossly filthy about his gran. He’s right – he probably could get away with more with this crowd.

Maddix himself is a wired character, eyes darting about the room, mic quivering in hand, voice wound up ready to ping at someone in the audience. His presence is immediate, and not just because the beard and specs are ‘statement’. There’s an easy flow to his crowd work. ‘How you doing, old school?’ he asks a grey haired chap. ‘Like the suit, bro!’ to a guy atypically attired for a comedy night. For the duration, he’s riffing off a muscle bound bald fella on the front row, who’s probably enjoying the gig right enough, but his manner’s such that Maddix can make like he’s intimidated by him.

‘I’m gonna talk about race,’ he says, knowing he’s stating the obvious, and, true, there’s several anecdotes from his documentary on extremism Hate Thy Neighbour, including the time he ended up at a neo-Nazi rock festival. But while politics, identity and otherwise, is the central theme, it’s more freestyle musings than heavy polemics. There’s a Brexit/Trump-supporting corner of the room – they’re probably just playing Devil’s advocate, to be fair – but he’s the kind to defend their right to that stance rather than rip it to shreds. The chickens that are supposedly coming home to roost aren’t particularly vicious ones.

There’s actually way less than an hour of set material here. It’s more like half an hour of anecdotes, stretched out entertainingly by Maddix’s winning way with a crowd. In fact, it feels like, through accident or design, things have been slung out as the show rolls on. After one audience interjection, he promises to come back to Scottish independence, but he never does. Not that this loose structure matters. He sails home on strength of personality alone.

Every now and again, Scottish ears struggle with his Ilford accent. His dismissal of over-50s as ‘old voters’ might also set some of those ears burning. Yet it doesn’t come across provocative, it just makes him seem young.

The man has endless potential, and there’s a sense we’ve not quite seen the full Maddix tonight. The promised ‘something to offend everyone’ doesn’t really transpire. He appears happy to just work the crowd and perhaps reluctant to sail too close to the wind. But for a slow Sunday, it ain’t half bad.

/ @peaky76


Robert is the Managing Editor of The Wee Review and has been writing for the site since early 2014. Previously, he was manager of the Yorkshire arts website, digyorkshire. He pays bills by working for a palliative care charity and lives in Edinburgh.

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