Funmbi Omotayo: Legal Immigrant
A personal take on xenophobia, gentrification and changing a tyre
This article is from 2015.
Having jointly won the Amused Moose Laugh Off in 2012, Funmbi Omotayo now literally introduces himself to the Fringe. His full debut hour focuses on his life so far as a native Londoner with Nigerian roots, growing up in Hackney before its gentrification. Mellow, laid-back and worldly wise, Omotayo’s ethos advocates getting to know each other better and he slowly begins to take in weightier topics of racism, xenophobia, and the media’s anti-immigration slant.
He pokes fun at the paranoias of right-wing groups pointing out that London's diversity means 'we're winning'. A tale about changing a car tyre touches on police racism while there are gentle digs at stereotyping between groups: when there was any trouble in Hackney his Nigerian parents would blame 'them Jamaicans'.
Omotayo is deceptively subtle in his criticisms. Like the young kid he once was, unable to look as tough as his friends because he couldn't hide a warm smile, here he's still smiling and softening the blow of his message. Observations are made without apparent judgement allowing us to make up our own minds. Legal Immigrant is whistle-stop to a degree, but Omotayo leaves us feeling that we’ve got to know him a little.
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