Some of the best comedy comes from the most complex places. Godfrey is black, and he is the son of Nigerian immigrants. On his new album, Regular Black, he shows that the standard is to be something different and layered. He defines this through observations and a range of voices. The album opens with an up tempo Afrobeat mix, a signifier and the first of many riffs ahead. He ready to poke about Chicago weather, city living, and his what makes up his identity.
In the first five minutes, the comic’s delivery becomes shrill shifts to raspy back to shrill. He uses crowd work to rally about having an emotionless father. His joke structures consist of a presented premise, an intermittent riff, and then a hard hitting punch to the original premise. The middle part creates a big build to the original thought. Once everyone becomes on board during this build, Godfrey uses it manifest a bigger laugh.
One such example occurs after explaining his father’s tough past. He starts with an incident school bus broke down during a Chicago winter. He presents this idea first. Then, he doles out the punches about how cold it actually gets in the city, and using metaphors and silly signs just how cold it gets. He states, “Grown men should not wear mittens,” and likens the wind to a sexual assault. The comparison seems accurate for anyone who has lived through such severe chills. The idea cements. No one is going to argue the brutality of midwest weather. Godfrey cleverly uses this build to strike it home when he tries to explain his suffering from walking home in the snow to his Nigerian immigrant father. In the bit, his dad does not buy into it, and combats his son’s complaints with sarcasm and even out does him.
He has a voice for every character in each bit. He impersonates the panhandler on the train, his father’s West African accent, and even animals. He quips on the Crocodile Hunter. Not only does he play out the late Aussie’s animal hunting tactics, but he also voices the crocodiles in a meeting over how the “sea pancake” took out Steve Irwin. The irreverent scenario is hilarious. The voices aid in Godfrey’s ability to push limits. By creating creating characters, he is able to go deep on issues like spanking children for discipline and the use of the N word in Nebraska.
The power of his act is that he is going deep on issues pertaining to identity. His parents are Nigerians. He is black. He is originally from Nebraska and has lived in predominately white communities. All of these things create a strong point of view. His observations come from a place outside of regular or normal. Everyone can relate to being on the outside. Between the characters and his joke structure, his comedy has many entry ways.
The depth of this is where the richness lies. The audience can laugh at his familiarity, his absurdity, and his clever observations all in one bit. Regular Black encompasses the satire of ordinary and displays the strength of Godfrey’s unique perspective.
Pick up Godfrey: Regular Black right here.