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The Riotous Roasting of Christopher 'Johnny' Daley
It is probably a testament to the architectural skills of whomever built the Jamaica Pegasus, that the building was not completely destroyed by the riotous laughter emanating from the ballroom on Monday night, November 4, 2013. The occasion was the Roast of actor and comedian Christopher ‘Johnny’ Daley, in commemoration of his 25th year in entertainment.
The evening was hosted by comedienne Elva who dubbed the evening a ‘Jerk’ instead.
“This is Jamaica so I'm going to deviate from the roast business. A jerk we jerk people. So I'm the jerk mistress,” Elva declared.
Yet regardless of the flavour of the spices that went into the humour, by the end of the night, Daley was well done. Amidst the ribbing, and there were more than a few bruised ribs from the comedic rough-housing, bits of emotion and affection oozed through.
The evening’s roasters included comedic and acting talent representing different stages of Daley’s life. Whether they revealed fact or fiction was unimportant, the only rule was that they be funny.
"Johnny mi a go behave y’know. You no see mi ave awn frack," Elva declared. Alas, she could not keep her word, unless behaving badly counts. Using her powers as Roast/Jerk mistress she slashed at members of the audience, her fellow roasters and even the guests. Daley also received his fair share of her jests.
"Tinight we a done da likkle bwoi ya!" Elva said, and though she said she wouldn't be roasting him, she slung some humour at the calibre of his manhood.
Michael Abrahams was the night’s first jerker. Abrahams, started the slew references to Daley’s sex tape, a joke that returned throughout the night. Abrahams also spoke of a “herbal encounter” with Daley, another of the recurring themes for the night.
Next up was Dufton, who after lighting the flame under Daley, the man who gave him his comedic break, decided to turn it instead on Miss Kitty. However, her fire threatened to engulf him after she blazed up when he likened her more to a water bed than a fluffy pillow.
Rather than waiting her turn, Miss Kitty rose and declared war, taking off her gold stilettos as a sign that she was ready to do battle. What Dufton had not realized was that Miss Kitty’s defense was strong, as not only did he get a tongue lashing from her, but also from Elva as well as Boasy Bwoi Floyd when his turn came.
Indeed, the strongest moments of the night tended to come from the interactions between the roasters.
By the end of the night, a diverse picture of Daley’s career had been painted. Ity and Fancy Cat, Boasy Bwoi Floyd, Miss Kitty and Elva painted traces of his professional career as a comedian. His development during his younger years was drawn by Michael ‘String Bean’ Nicholson, Dorothy Cunningham and who spoke of Daley’s high school years, Dorothy Cunningham and Dionne Silvera.
Daley, began his acting career while in his final year at Half Way Tree Primary, the school which would benefit from the night’s roast. In keeping with this, Daley had also invited his drama teacher from then, Mr. Patrick Phillips, who revealed how Daley had been introduced to him as “one likkle eediat bwoi” perfect for his play.
Cunningham, who had played Daley’s grandmother in Lime Tree Lane, the show responsible for endowing Daley with the moniker ‘Johnny’, also spoke of his development. Despite her ironic barbs her affection was evident, but didn’t stop her from presenting Daley with a retroactive bill of nearly 1/2 million dollars for all the transportation and counselling services she provided.
The humour was also interspersed with a few guest performances. First up was the poetic trio LSX who, armed with their mind boggling mittens and decent lyrics, opened the night. Rhythm poets Nomaddz were also featured, and while on the stage took their turn at putting Daley over the coals as they went over their experiences with him and the staging of Comedy Buss. The night’s final guest performer was Alaine who lent her vocals to the night performing a few of her more popular pieces as well as serenading Daley with 'At Last'.
"Mi glad you do dis tonight, so we can honour you," Boasy Bwoi Floyd declared. The sentiment seemed to have been echoed throughout the performances, as well as the video recordings sent by Oliver Samuels and Audrey Reid.
Elva noted that Daley was a man of vision who strove to increase the development of comedy locally. 'He doesn't get credit for it but Full House Fridays is Christopher Johnny Daley" said Elva.
When it was his turn to respond to the roasting, Daley noted that as he had attempted to promote the event he had realized that Jamaicans tend not to be willing to celebrate each other and also that he had invited politicians but they failed to show.
He declared however, that he would not be daunted in celebrating the milestone in his career.
"Mi naa go wait till me dead or get a mild heart attack. Mi a celebrate it now,” Daley declared, and celebrate they did.