- Category: Entertainment
- Written by Meres J. Weche
The Toronto Just For Laughs Festival will break down cultural barriers through laughter with The Ethnic Comedy Show. The event will take place at the Winter Garden Theatre on July 17 and 18, 2009. Hosted by Indo-Canadian comic Shaun Majumber, the show will feature special guests Frank Spadone (Italian), Steve Byrne (Asian), Godfrey (African-American), Akmal Saleh (Egyptian), Rachel Feinstein (Jewish) and more. Back by popular demand, it’s evident that the comedic genre largely popularized by acts like Russell Peters strikes a particular chord in our multicultural city.
AfroToronto.com had the chance recently to speak to Godfrey -- one of the comics from the upcoming show. Godfrey Danchimah’s parent’s immigrated to the U.S. before his birth from Nigeria to escape the Nigerian Civil War in 1969. Godfrey discovered his love for comedy in his hometown of Chicago. He became aware of the world of open mics through a friend and quickly became a regular in various spots in the South Side of Chicago. After starting out for a year as a duo called Godfrey and Alexander, he struck out on his own.
He fondly recalls the days when he performed on Mondays at the belated Bernie Mac’s comedy club. He credits Bernie Mac as one of his great early mentors. “I would do his show and he would talk to me ... he was like the comedic uncle of Chicago” says Godfrey. He’s proud to say that he knew Bernie before he got famous. Before George Clooney and Brad Pitt knew who Bernie Mac was, Godfrey says: “I knew that dude before them. I know that guy man!”
In addition to Bernie Mac, Godfrey lists Martin Lawrence, Richard Pryor, Bill Cosby, Eddie Murphy, George Carlin and Jim Carrey as some noteworthy influences.
Godfrey was blessed with the opportunity to work on the set of The Cosby Show as an audience warm-up comedian after moving to New York in the mid-90s. He was roomates with fellow comedian/actor Mike Epps at the time in Queens. “It was a good experience to watch Cosby” says Godrey. To “see him do his sitcom and watch his comedic skills, it was a privilege” he adds.
Godfrey immediately fell in love with New York’s comedy circuit. He enjoys the camaraderie and likens the process of finding good comedy spots to going “to a gym to hang out with the buddies you work out with.” Most of all he enjoys the opportunities comedy has given him to travel the world. He says he’s learning more about other cultures working as a travelling comic than he would have had the chance to as a doctor or lawyer.
“Comedy is the purest art form” Godfrey says. “You don’t have the luxury of having P Diddy remix your jokes ... you have to go up there and do it yourself”. Comedians let it all hang on on stage and receive immediate feedback.
Alongside his successful comedy circuit career which has included appearances in BET’s Comic View, VH1 and Comedy Central, Godfrey has been seen in the cult-following comedy movies Zoolander and Soul Plane.
Godfrey looks forward to coming to Toronto for the Ethnic Comedy Show. He told AfroToronto.com that he loves the city and that he regrets never having been around to experience Caribana.
For more on Godfrey, see following links:
The Winter Garden Theatre, 189 Yonge Street
Friday, July 17 and Saturday, July 18 at 7pm and 9:30pm each night
All Tickets for are $45.50 (plus applicable service charges) and are now available in person at
The Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Box Office and all Ticketmaster outlets;
by calling 416.872.1111 or online at www.ticketmaster.ca
For more information about The Ethnic Comedy Show, visit www.hahaha.com
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