Crowd involvement is the name of the game for the good-natured banter of Perth-based comedian Emo (Emmanuel Majok), whose show is titled Black Santa. To that effect, he enters the room with a broad smile and a red and white Santa hat.
Throughout his 40-minute set, the 33-year-old plays on his colour, flipping it one way and then the other as he relates a series of stories. He indicates some people with whom he comes into contact are immediately scared or intimidated by him (he is an Ethiopian refugee and migrant born to Sudanese parents).
Emo says his stand-up has seen him travel extensively. His first time in Montreal saw him have a run in with a cop after he made an illegal U-turn. He then proceeded to try to “bargain” his way out of a ticket. Emo localises his gags, firstly by dissing Dandenong and then by talking about how he’s moved from one neighbourhood to the next while in Melbourne, namely from Footscray to St Kilda.
He talks about staying with a mate and discovering rats in the kitchen and introducing himself to a neighbour who tells him they don’t keep cash on the premises. And then it is onto the COVID jokes, such as Perth people being largely coronavirus free throughout the pandemic and watching the nightly news by way of entertainment about Melburnians.
He relays an anecdote about trying to buy booze with his then seven-year-old daughter (he is the father of three) and being asked for ID, which he didn’t have on him. Emo had a hard time convincing the retailer that he was of age, even though the alcohol was bought by way of celebrating his 30th birthday.
An amusing story about an amorous Star Wars-themed encounter with a white lady follows. He also touches on his disdain for cyclists and social consciousness in 2021.
Throughout, Emo’s easy going, natural style and audience questioning brings with it plenty of laughs. He manages to find humour in everyday situations, readily reacting to those around him. Emo has clearly found his calling. He is cheeky and charming.
He is appearing at Fad Gallery until 15th April, 2021 as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.
Other reviews you might enjoy:
- Michael Shafar 110% (Melbourne International Comedy Festival) – stand-up comedy review
- Pants on Fire (Brunswick Ballroom) – theatrical comedy review
- Dumtectives (Melbourne International Comedy Festival) – theatre review
Alex First is a Melbourne based journalist and communications specialist. He contributes to The Blurb on film and theatre.