“But Seven Seas ain’t dat kind uh pill…”

Peta Alleyne and Toni Ann Johnson Photos: Alwyn Kirk

Laff-It-Off 2017 – We Like It So!!

The bawdy and irreverent annual review once again proves that Barbados loves nothing more than a gossip and a laugh at their friends’ expense.

We Like It So!!

“Bribery and corruption control every decision,
We know,
But we like it so.” The Mighty Sparrow

The backdrop as ever is the Nook and Cranny Bar where the first gag was about water shortage. The abundance of potholes on island roads were not far behind, but this year the first half was dominated by typical Barbados characters with plenty of slapstick comedy.

The bar is run by Mrs Herassophat, the superb Peta Alleyne. There’s a running joke at the expense of a dim-witted character (Janine White) who belatedly, and much to her cost, discovered that Seven Seas vitamin tablets maybe a pill, but that’s the only similarity to the contraception of the same name.

Ishiaka McNiel does Denis…

Laff It Off 2017

Peta Alleyene, Toni Ann Johnson and Angelo Lascelles

LAFF IT OFF 2017 is at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre every Saturday in February and March. Dates in April to be confirmed. Admission $40Bds

Angelo Lascelles as Donald Trump

While the political satire was more muted than in previous years, the authorities were still in the firing line. The disgraceful surplus of empty houses island-wide (yet still they build more)… “We said we would provide houses. We never said we would put people in them.”

I swear the audience booed when finance minister Chris Sinckler was name checked.  It was certainly a sharp intake of breath. Pompous and long-winded political leaders were set up and knocked down in typical Laff-It-Off style.

Bottled versus Tap

Barbados is a country full of some very strange people and Laff-It-Off writers do not have to travel far for inspiration.

Ishiaka McNiel, a Laff-It-Off favourite with a huge comedic presence, parodied Denis Kellman, the MP for St Lucy who posted on Facebook a video extolling the merits of Barbados tap water over bottled varieties.

This was bound to wind a few people up not least because the MP was naked (from the waist up anyway) and many Bajans don’t have the luxury of tap water as a result of the failure of Barbados Water Authority to run any through the pipes.

As a visitor to the island you may have missed this so it’s important to sit yourself next to an obliging Bajan to help you through.

Similarly with Eyebrow Girl, Tammy Edwards. The shop worker was sacked after posting a video of a fire drill. The hilarious skit (she was clearly halfway through making up her face and had only painted in one eyebrow) was a social media hit, but her employers clearly lacked the sense of humour which has their compatriots in the audience of Laff-It-Off in stitches.

Tammy went on to record a music video about her experience, settled out of court with her employer and is now offering make-up tips via the internet. Presumably with just one eyebrow. The versatile Toni Ann Johnson got Tammy off to a tee. The audience lapped it up.

Even The Donald Was There

A faultless impression of Donald Trump (Angelo Lascelles) brought the house down. This was one of the best rip-offs I’ve seen of the much mocked president. Trump, on a fictional visit to Barbados, wants to build a wall in Barbados and get Zimbabwe to pay for it. And while he is at it, he’ll turn the island into a 166 square mile golf course and Bajans can live in the sea.

Don’t laugh – though it’s impossible not to – it just might happen. After all, this is the Nook and Cranny Bar where behind the jokes lie some very uncomfortable truths.

LAFF IT OFF 2017 is at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre every Saturday in February and March. Dates in April to be confirmed. Admission $40Bds

Peta Alleyne as opposition leader Mia Mottley (with Janine White)

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