Volume 93, Issue 96

Thursday, March 30, 2000


Donoghue hosts literary event

Robinson serves up a comedy smorgasbord

Talking acid jazz One Step Beyond

Robinson serves up a comedy smorgasbord

Gazette file photo

By Luke Rundle
Gazette Staff

Winnipeg comic Kenny Robinson's stand-up act is a perfect balance between humour and humanity, as he keeps his audience subdued and sated with racy humour, while prodding them to think with poignant social commentaries. In short, he serves up the essential vegetables for the kids, but pours a little melted cheese overtop to make it palatable.

The 42 year-old has been plying his trade for 23 years, falling into the craft as an alternate choice to his first love. "I always wanted to act, but whenever I went to casting calls, they were never looking for black actors as much as white ones," he declares. "So I chose stand-up, just because it was the only door that was open to me and had no restrictions."

Robinson explains his curious blend of material combines to make an entertaining evening for club audiences. "I do a lot of political material, a lot of social commentary – but you'd be horrified at how uninformed some people are as to what's happening in the world around us. People just don't read the newspaper anymore," he asserts.

"So I also do a lot of explicit sexual material, just because that's the material facts of life that everybody can relate to. I guess that's where I got this 'hard-core' reputation, just because I have this ability to draw these mental pictures in people's heads," Robinson explains.

This mish-mash of styles has certainly translated well to all sorts of mediums for Robinson. He has recorded three successful comedy albums for Hyena Records and is currently in talks with Columbia Records for an upcoming fourth.

"I was really influenced by Richard Pryor's stand-up albums, particularly That Nigger's Crazy and when Yuk Yuk's did a comedy album, I was really offended that they didn't include me," Robinson recalls. "So I went out and recorded my own album and that spawned a second and a third – now I think I've outsold the Yuk Yuk's album many times over."

As well, he has appeared on numerous CBC comedy specials and had a turn as co-host on the 1998 Gemini Awards. He's currently focusing on the feature film arena, with starring roles in a Jimi Hendrix biopic for the Showtime network, an upcoming Chris Rock movie called I Was Made The Lover and a slot alongside SCTV's Eugene Levy in Silverman.

For those planning to attend his show at Yuk Yuk's this weekend, Robinson has good news. "I think if you go to my show, you'll get a good mix of typical stuff, plus a lot of ideas and concepts you've never heard before."

Clearly, it'll be a bumpy but interesting ride.

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