American comedian Mike Epps is scheduled to make his Jamaican debut at Outburst Stand-Up Comedy Series on October 27. The event is slated to unfold at the National Arena in Kingston at 8:00 pm.
Khalil Shirley, an executive at Hyperlinks Limited — event organisers — said the occasion will mark the first in a series of shows to be staged across the Caribbean.
“We're starting in Jamaica and then basically touring with Mike to other Caribbean countries like Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago before we return here,” Shirley told the Jamaica Observer. “Based on each rotation, we should be doing two shows annually in Jamaica. Hopefully, when we return it'll be with a Chris Rock or Katt Williams.”
Shirley said it was another American comedic, Cedric the Entertainer, who paved the way for Epps's debut.
“What happened was we initially had Cedric in mind, but he started shooting a show that would conflict the scheduled date so he got us on to Mike and did the negotiations for us.”
Epps is known for his roles in movies like Next Friday, Friday After Next, Meet the Blacks and The Fighting Temptations. He has also appeared in the Netflix specials Don't Take It Personal (2015) and Underrated & Never Faded (2009).
New York-based social media comedian Majah Hype, who recently performed in Jamaica, is also on the bill. Four local acts including Dufton Shepherd and Leighton Smith are also set to perform.
“We had a panel of six judges and out of 25 people, we could only chose four, he said. “We want to showcase young talent and people you don't see everyday, but we found that a lot of social media comedians with hundreds of thousands of followers came to audition and could not make at least one judge laugh. The content they had could not even last five minutes and when you look at a man like Mike Epps, who is performing for 45 minutes or an hour, you really have to develop a good set.”
He hopes to provide a new experience for Jamaicans through the stand-up series.
“If you were to see Mike Epps in the US you'd have to pay US$150; our tickets are starting from $4,500. It is actually more expensive to hold this show in Jamaica compared to the other Caribbean islands, but we want to bring people entertainment that is not monotonous to Jamaica.”
Dr Michael Abrahams is billed as the occasion's emcee, while an after-party featuring Beenie Man will conclude the evening.