Music festivals are best known for - well - music. However, the non-music act at Rebel Salute, long-standing comedian Christopher ‘Johnny’ Daley, had patrons in stitches from the minute he walked on to the stage at midnight, down to the last second at half-past the hour.
Daley fused music and comedy to call out entertainers for using the audience to help perform their sets and “limiting [his] children’s vocabulary”.
Running out to the sounds of a one-drop reggae rhythm, Daley said, “Some deejay come big stage show and give the people a piece of the song.”
After a few jabs at the proclaimed ‘King of Dancehall’ Beenie Man, with his signature ‘slam diggy diggy’ phrase, ‘Johnny’ exclaimed, “Dem get heart attack”, pointing the microphone towards the crowd. “And then you have another one them call Singy Singy ... . No man, some of the artiste tek it outta hand!”
He continued: “The people come to hear the artistes perform and at the end of it, them end up doing all the work completing the lyrics.”
Speaking to The Gleaner following his performance, Daley said it was not his intention to offend any artiste.
“We have those routines; if people followed the comedy journey over time they would know. Jamaicans love music and, as a comedian, the challenge is always to find that truth that people don’t identify or see easily ... . That’s up my street ... it is the type of satire I like,” Daley shared.
“It felt real good to talk to and entertain the Rebel Salute patrons; I am happy we got the time we got to perform. It was more than expected and the people were vibrant. It shows they were having a great time and my endorphins are up,” said Daley, whose performance came in the wake of high energy acts like Lone Ranger, General Trees, Flourgon and Heavyweight Rockaz.
But it acted as a relaxing moment for ‘saluters’ who actually gave the comedian resounding applause for using the good-natured script intended for amusement to shine a light on the importance of a full performance.
On stage, the comedian said: “Yuh think I could do that? I can’t start the joke and when the punchline come, hand the microphone to the people to finish it.”
He continued by pointing out that there are other reggae and dancehall entertainers, like Burning Spear and Ding Dong, who write limited words to songs but are still able to rouse the audience, as he danced and added to the script with songs like Spear’s Great Men and the Ravers Clavers boss’ Sivva and Shampoo.
“When I finally got to speak to Ding Dong, I said, ‘You going have to work on some tracks with more substantial lyrics’. Hear wah him start deejay she ... ‘Lowe me, lowe me nuh’,” he said laughing.
Almost breathless, Daley continued, “Many persons may not know I am the Bounty Killer of Comedy,” as he called on his protégé Diego ‘The Cross-Eyed Villain’ to close the rib-tickling segment.
The 30-minute comedy set opened the stage for the man of the hour, Tony Rebel, who pioneered and preserved the unique family-friendly event to promote reggae music and the best of Jamaican culture.