The man dubbed The African King of Comedy; Michael Blackson brought his hilarious comedy style to the DC IMPROV on Thursday, May 25 2017. The show was the first of his eleven sold-out shows over the Memorial Day weekend. Blackson is no stranger to the Washington, D.C. comedy scene, as he has made numerous appearances over the years here. Dubbed the “Ugly Is The New Cute Tour,” the night was full of laughs from an active audience while Blackson, once again, showed why he is a force to be reckoned with. Blackson, who first made an impression on me as Customer #1 in 2000’s Next Friday, displayed a natural comedic charisma on stage. One of my favorite moments occurred when he roasted members of the audience and talked about his appearance and our then current Commander in Chief, of course
Blackson, born in Ghana and moved to the USA in the mid-eighties, had developed a love for comedy after seeing one of the all-time greats, Eddie Murphy. Blackson honed his craft in the comedy clubs of Philadelphia and since then has been selling out comedy clubs across the world. Using a fish out of water approach, Blackson can effortlessly connect with his audience with the African accent he uses to deliver his punchlines. I have always believed that a good comic can make anything funny if the delivery is proper.
Blackson also told stories of how he used fast-food restaurants such as “Burger King” and “McDonald’s” as code names for his side chicks when he cheated on his girlfriends in the past. The audience was in stitches. In the hands of a lesser comic, though, the joke may not have come off as successful. However, in the hands of Blackson, it worked seamlessly. I honestly did not expect Blackson to be as funny as he was. While he has been hilarious in bit parts in movies, I was unsure how he would come across in his stand-up. Too often, I have seen comics who are hilarious in films (Mike Epps comes to mind), while their stand-up is a bit on the weak side. Thankfully, Blackson was able to prove me wrong.
The night started with a great opening set by D.C. native and host Antoine Blackman. After Brown warmed up the audience, they fell victim to a lackluster performance by Baltimore comic Galit. Every joke that Galit told seemed to fall flat, and within five minutes of her performance, the audience booed her off the stage. Hearing that Galit was from Baltimore, I fully expected her comedy set to include jokes about the differences between Baltimore and D.C.; sadly, there were none.
Social media has its advantages and disadvantages for those in the entertainment industry currently. While it gives talent a chance to connect with their fans, it also takes away from the “LIVE EXPERIENCE.” I purposely avoided watching many clips of Blackson doing stand-up, as I wanted to experience a new show without preconceptions. Part of what makes a comedy show successful is brand new jokes and not something that I have heard before.
Despite a bit of rain outside, Blackson gave an energetic performance to a fantastic crowd. There was never a dull moment in the show, and just about every joke Blackson told connected with the audience. After the show, Blackson sold copies of his self-written film “Kony Montana,” which I picked up and posed for photos with the fans. Blackson has earned a supporter, and anytime he is in town, I will attend.
Final Grade A