“It’s Just Jokes” Comedy Show is the brain child of dynamic duo Jimmy James Jones and Elroy Welsh. The event has been running in Milton Keynes for the last 8 months and features talented artists such as Judi Love, Sarah Callaghan, Will E and Toju on a monthly basis.
I had attended part of the April show accidentally (as you do…don’t ask!) and really enjoyed it, so my friend Lara and I got in touch with Jimmy and asked if he’d like us to come along to the next show and write a little review. The May line up consisted of Toju and Aurie Styla, and we were assured it would be a great start to our Bank Holiday weekend. The venue was a room at the top of the Slug and Lettuce pub, holding a reasonably sized audience (Friday head count was around 100), and Jimmy and Elroy had got all the bases covered for a quality evening – adequate seating, a DJ, bar access, lighting and sound equipment. I would have liked to see a small platform on ‘stage’ to give acts a little bit of precedence over the audience – although, that said, it’s lovely to be up close and personal at an intimate gig.
The evening began with a warm up from the endearing Elroy, whose relaxing yet commanding tone got everyone in their seats and ready for some belly laughs. He was an extremely likeable words-master who built a buzz around the room, telling anecdotes from his daily life. To me Elroy comes across as very ‘real’, and you can tell his observational humour comes from the heart. Throughout the evening he did a fantastic job of keeping things running smoothly (Jimmy sometimes comperes as well but had stepped back for the evening).
Act one was Aurie Styla, a stand up from London. I was struck by Aurie’s enormous smile, and relatable stories. He most certainly had me on board talking about the importance of not settling for someone if they don’t meet your requirements – I was like the Churchill nodding dog! It was refreshing to hear serious life topics spliced with some gentle teasing, and I could imagine having amazing banter with him over a large rum and coke. Aurie picked apart the world of female beauty and the pressure to look good – and the tricks men have no clue about that women use to achieve that Coca Cola shape!!! Thank you Aurie for your uplifting and naughty messages, I hope to catch you again on tour (I still won’t be buying a DVD though sorry!)
After the first short break Elroy upped the ante with some audience games. We were treated to a “guess the song” game followed by a lip sync battle, which turned into a slightly bizarre dance off. It was clear to see how much Elroy enjoyed hosting this section, at times just standing back and laughing at the absolute carnage unravelling before him! There were some serious (optional) dance moves underway, and it was great to see people letting loose even though one guy’s wife was giving him abuse from the back of the room…
Act two was Toju, also known as “The Militant Black Guy” from Balls of Steel. His entrance was an amazingly camp tribute to Beyoncé – not what I had expected at all. Just as I regained control of my hanging jaw the mood totally switched with a far more intense energy taking precedence, and Toju leaning right into the audience as he spoke. His humour was not only toeing the edge of the line, it was playing hop scotch and sticking two fingers up at it. Toju had the energy of Danny Dyer after a few cheeky lines mixed with the bite of a young pre-fight Tyson. He heckled the audience, but in a way that didn’t become offensive, although he still got down to some pretty blunt facts about keeping ladies happy in the bedroom (apparently my face was a picture!) I found Toju absolutely fascinating to watch and would love to know more about what he’s like offstage.
“Its Just Jokes” is a young, fresh, vibrant and exciting night out, perfect for anyone who likes to laugh. Some of the acts are quite cheeky, so I add a word of caution to anyone thinking of bringing an easily offended companion! Although there is quite a heavy black community overtone, I didn’t feel out of place at all and think Jimmy and Elroy work hard to strike a balance so that there’s something for everyone. I loved that people turned up in their best Friday night outfits or trainers and trackies yet there was no judgement or attitude to be found. I don’t often go to comedy events, but “It’s Just Jokes” evenings emanate warmth, community spirit and pride in local, national and international comedy talent. On a serious note, in a society that has such a negative stereotype around young black men it was fantastic to see so much effort being put into something so inclusive and entertaining.
This show is my new diamond in the rough and I really look forward to seeing what the boys have in store during the remainder of 2017. Please do support Jimmy and Elroy by spreading the word and coming along to shows in coming months – they’re a perfect start to a night on the town or even a date night 😉
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