Laughter, lyrics for the Lord
The large turnout; engaging performances from stand-up comedians Leighton Smith, Ity and Fancy Cat, and Bello and Blakka; plus performances by gospel artistes iWorship, Rondell Positive and Kevin Downswell indicated that Saturday's inaugural Praise and Laughter concert was a resounding success.
The idea began in June 2016 after Ian 'Ity' Ellis, who is a Christian, performed at Downswell's album launch.
"Mi ah plan it long time, it get postpone nuff time. And mi sey mi get all vex sometime and mi haffi sey unno ah gwaan like unno ah fight the show. But Father God said humble ... Through prayer make your request known, for the peace of God surpasses this entire world, all mankind.
And mi haffi humble and wait," he continued.
Not only was Ity able to have only comedians who are believers perform, but he also pulled a large crowd to South Beach Cafe¥, Brompton Road, St Andrew. Some persons were seated as early as 7:00 p.m. and were entertained by videos of The Ity and Fancy Cat Show, the laughter thise generated continuing for the live action.
MCs Ity and Fancy Cat had the audience laughing at their satire on relationships and other topics. Ity also invited onstage his wife of 19 years, Karen Ellis, to reinforce his testimony of a changed lifestyle.
Blakka and Bello were at their vintage best. They poked fun at the approach to courting, church antics and Jamaican folk songs, also giving an interesting lesson in African languages.
Leighton Smith got the strongest response. He spoke about ministers "using their cell phones in the middle of a sermon."
And many in the audience disagreed, until he asked why ministers always say hello.
"Sounds to me like someone is talking on a phone," he said, the audience warming to him.
His views of the education system and advice to Finance Minister Audley Shaw were more food for laughter.
The gospel artistes, along with Richie Stephens, were the hit factor for the predominantly Christian audience.
Audience members were content to move in their seats during Stephens and iWorship's renditions, but could not contain themselves during Downswell and Positive's sterling performances of some of their popular songs.
The fulfilling concert ended with a brief testimony and altar call from Rev Lynval Lewis and an outpouring of gratitude from an elated Ity.