Jamali Maddix: Vape Lord
- Brian Donaldson
- 12 August 2018
A sombre show with flashes of inspiration
It may not be up there for dramatic impact alongside Hannah Gadsby's stand-up retiral, but three-quarters of the way through Vape Lord, Jamali Maddix half-announces that he's probably, maybe, going to give comedy a swerve from now on. Possibly. At the tender age of 27, the Londoner feels over-the-hill and creatively spent. For some people, time flies with our spell on this planet merely fleeting: for Maddix, his less than three decades have dragged.
There are lots of things in the world to get upset about it, but it's unclear what exactly is bringing Maddix down, He does, however, seem especially hostile to the programme that helped make his name. In Viceland's Hate Thy Neighbour, Maddix went around America and Europe challenging the views of far-right groups, often right up in their faces, putting himself in real danger. One incident left him feeling outraged and as though his soul had been fully sold to the TV devil: he now decries the programme as the 'worst show ever'.
Back in the comfort zone of live comedy, his stage presence is undeniable and he appears relaxed even if he opens with the warning that his show 'might not be that good'. Feeling his age, he simultaneously pays tribute to the original motives behind political correctness while fretting about the censorious nature of current public discourse.
This 'bad boy' might vape away on stage but he seems ill at ease with his material, falling back on some decent crowd work when he reaches another dead end. To his credit, he has a bit on cats and dogs which reminds us that this long-deceased stand-up topic is always worth resurrecting if the joke is worthy enough. And unsurprisingly, he has some strong routines about racism and gender politics, musing on whether the assassination of a prominent white woman is the inevitable step in this #MeToo world.
Monkey Barrel, until 26 Aug (not 13), 6pm, £8 in advance or donations at the venue.