Laughter in abundance emanated in Grand Cayman as sides were split from four consecutive nights of the Comedy Festival.
It was hosted by the Laughter Lounge promotional duo of Brad Watts and Rod Jefferson and what an extravaganza!
The first two evenings were at the Great Room in The Strand and then it moved to the magnificent open air setting of Tiki Beach for the last two sessions, last Friday and Saturday night.
It was hosted by comedian Damon Williams from the Tom Joyner Morning Show and the other performers were A.J. Jamal, Bphlat, Leon Rogers, Tony Roberts, George Willborn, Tony Sculfield and Michael Colyar.
Cayman’s favourite comic Big Kahuna appeared throughout adding local humour to the entertainment.
The finale on the last night was reggae star Wayne Wonder serenading the women in the crowd.
Jefferson said: “We are extremely pleased with the outcome of our second annual Laugh Cayman Comedy Festival.
“Last year’s festival was a learning experience that helped to identify some things that worked, as well as those that did not.
“The comics that participated in the 2013 Laugh Cayman Comedy Festival are some of the hottest and most popular ones in the world and this was evident by the nonstop laughter in our audiences.
“The performers never lacked energy and we could tell that they treated our show like they must give their best performances ever because they all cared about the success of this event and understood the importance of building on the foundation of the festival.
“The comedians are adopting Cayman as a second home and are taking a vested interest to help spread the word of Cayman kind and to promote tourism.
“We even added the musical sensation Wayne Wonder to close out our festival. We felt that Wayne was the perfect artist to compliment the ambience of the festival. This is a chance that we took that certainly paid off.
“Wayne gave a tremendous performance and was particularly popular with our lady patrons, as he serenaded them down in the seating area.
“Besides the actual show we were very pleased that we met some tourist who came to the Island just to see the festival.
“We met people from New York, Tampa, Chicago and even India. The lady from India had a conference scheduled for last week here in Cayman and heard about the festival and changed her arrival to three days earlier to attend.”
Jefferson and Watts have already started work on next year’s festival in March and this will give them more time to promote in the United States throughout the year.
Overall, they were extremely pleased with how the shows went and are already talking about how to make it bigger and better next time.
“The feedback from our sponsors has been very positive,” Jefferson said. “I had the chance to speak with Randy Stafford of Stafford Flooring on Thursday night at the show and he stated to me that: ‘You guys have something really special going here. Keep up the good work.’
“Cayman Airways representative Gary Bromfield also made the comment that the show was ‘absolutely amazing, and I really enjoyed myself.’ We received positive feedback from Corona, Absolut and BAF Insurance also. New sponsors are actually approaching us to be aboard for the next one.”
Damon Williams was coordinator for the comedians. He said: “I am overwhelmingly grateful to the people of Grand Cayman as well as the tourists that supported the event all week.
“The Department of Tourism and Cayman Airways were instrumental in making the event such a success. Rod and Brad’s tireless efforts have culminated in a tremendous event that shall continue for years to come. Tom Joyner attended and will inform his eight million listeners about the fun he witnessed.
Watts said: “The comics are always pleased to come here and work. They all agree that we have a gem here in the Cayman Islands, but are always quite impressed with the crowds that we get in Cayman, considering the small population.
“They love to come and have fun in the sun and just relax. Additionally, they always comment on the fact that most promoters do not go out of their way to accommodate like we do.
“Because of this, they always show their appreciation are willing to work extra hard to ensure that our shows are successful.”
Watts said: “One of the highlights of our festival was when we broke the secret to the audience about the show being taped to air on major cable and satellite networks in the US.
“The vibe of the crowd got even stronger, as everyone was hoping that they might get caught on camera at the show.
“Another highlight was when some of the comics who wasn’t on the card to appear earlier in the week, came up and gave a very short performance to the delight of the crowd.”
Jefferson said: “I enjoyed watching the interaction between the comedians and the audience. They seemed to take the audience on a mind trip.
“It’s almost like they hypnotise the crowd. I can tell when they capture the crowd because everything is silent because everyone is hanging on for their next word.
“My biggest highlight actually happened away from the show. I took Michael Colyar to do motivational speaking to students at ICCI.
“The speech actually revitalised me because I was getting very tired and worn down from trying to get everything ready for the festival.
“After we left I was actually motivated to keep going and take on the world. I suggest to anyone who has a chance to hear him speak, do not miss the opportunity.”
For those who missed out, the next monthly Laughter Lounge shows at the Great Room are in March and another comedy festival is planned for the summer.
Jefferson would not be drawn on who was the most popular act. “I know this is going to sound clichéd, but all of the comics were the most popular one.
“The folks we brought back for the festival were the most popular from our monthly shows, as well as Cayman first-timers,
“George Willborn from the Michael Baisden show and AJ Jamal from In Living Color received tremendous amounts of laughs and applause from their respective audiences.”
Wayne Wonder had a tremendous time too, Jefferson added. “Wayne said that he had been to the Caymans in the past, but originally being from Jamaica, he especially loves when he has the opportunity to get back to the Islands.
“He had such a great time that he even stayed around and celebrated with us for quite some time after the show. He commented that the crowd ‘was excellent and wanted to show everybody his love for the warm welcome’.
The most unlikely star of the festival was Kirky, the iconic homeless man who is generally found on West Bay Road. The comedians for some reason enjoyed his company and almost everyone of them hailed Kirky during their set.
“The comics actually understand that Kirky is an icon in the Caymans,” Jefferson said. “They don’t make fun of Kirky, rather embrace and recognise him as someone that Cayman looks out for.
“They are especially intrigued by the fact that Cayman looks out for those who are less fortunate, as nine times out of 10, they see the exact opposite in the US.
“Tony Sculfield and his wife met Kirky outside the Comfort Suites one night and talked with him for some time and hung out with him.
“When Tony comes back, he has this joke that when he tells his wife that he is coming down to Cayman she always tells him to tell Kirky hello and give him a few dollars.”