Kevin J: Council Estate of Mind
A new comedy voice with a story to tell about authenticity
This article is from 2015.
A reviewer recently questioned how ‘street’ Kevin J really is. As if being articulate and ‘mellow’, as they put it, couldn’t possibly be things to expect from someone who’s ‘street’. But the 26-year-old knows better than to take flak like that seriously as he’s spent the past seven years playing mostly in black comedy clubs in London and being called ‘Casper’, or ‘cleverbollocks’ by his dad for being the first in his family to get a degree.
When he brings up the ‘street’ thing, it’s a nice segue into some background; he was the only white kid in his school, so his accent (not to mention his love of Caribbean cow foot and rice) isn’t an Ali G affectation. It’s simply what happens when you have a multicultural upbringing, going to school with Asians, Africans and Europeans in north London.
The naff ‘urban’ label which keeps getting slapped on him is normally a euphemism for ‘black’. In his case, it would be easy to accuse him of misappropriating black culture (Jamaican patois, cocoa butter jokes, impressions of pirate radio stations) for a phoney schtick, if it was anything other than his real voice.
Patter about his recent comedy tour to Nigeria, being a dad to a six-month-old son (and spending the child benefits in Nando’s), gentrification of the Broadwater Farm area he grew up in, and black UKIP MPs knocking on his door make for smart, refreshing storytelling. Kevin J has a promising voice (and accent) that would be good to hear more from.
Gilded Balloon at Pleasance Dome, 622 6552, until 30 Aug, 10.15pm, £10–£11 (£8.50–£9.50).