A musical comedian who impersonates rock stars from a previous generation does not sound very appealing for the latest Laughter Lounge presentation – but this was Jimmy Keys. And he is a big liar.
The British madcap now based in Naples, South Florida tore it up at the Great Room in the Strand on Saturday before an appreciative crowd of mostly Brits with a good representation of many other nationalities, all of whom thoroughly lapped it up.
All his “true stories” are so ridiculous that the crowd is encouraged to yell: “Liar!” at every opportunity.
Elton John, Michael Jackson, Roy Orbison, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Mick Jagger, Joe Cocker, Rod Stewart, Jon Bon Jovi, AC DC, Barry Manilow and Tom Jones were amongst the many who got the Keys treatment with hilarious effect, interspersed with rat-a-tat gags, some of which he should have pensioned off decades ago.
A nice line he did introduce though was to rename Camana Bay, Commando Bay because “nobody wears undergarments there”.
But overall, the fast pace and high energy of the crazy Keys worked superbly. He also has a gift of remembering absolutely everyone’s name from the audience, a big plus to keep them onside.
They were standing in unison, clapping and waving on demand, such was the instant rapport.
The evening started with a short set from local favourite Vicki Wheaton who suitably got everyone chortling, signing off with an Eminem recital.
Evidently a talented keyboard player too, Keys checked off after 90 minutes with a mass audience participation of You’ll Never Walk Alone. Normally the Laughter Lounge has two nights of fun from their comedic imports, usually black Americans.
Keys only gave us a one-night stand but left with the audience baying for more. He will be back. The public demands it.
“You’ve been a wonderful crowd and I’ve really enjoyed being here,” he declared. Nobody shouted: “Liar!” to that.
The promoters Rod Jefferson and Brad Watts were happy that their gamble paid off.
Watts said: “People were dancing in their seats. They loved it. The main sentiment afterwards was: ‘When can you bring him back?’
“Jimmy had a blast and we’re already working on bringing him back to do bigger and better shows.” And he wasn’t lying about that.
The next round of Laughter Lounge shows is at the end of May.