Jamali Maddix creates a buzz when he enters the stage, and why not? He's a cool guy. After storming the Chortle Student Comedy Award in 2014, of course there's a high accolade attached to his material, but none of it shows. Maddix isn't smug or self-important: instead, he is a self-professed arsehole.
A solid effort from Maddix, although his unapologetic nature may alienate people who'd prefer a quieter night out.
Launching into a series of anecdotes on his family forming a long line of arseholes and villains, Maddix's observational material packs a punch especially when combined with his incredulous reactions. He has a vast range of characters to pluck out from his real life for our entertainment, but it's his utterly unapologetic interaction with them that really delivers the punch line home. This refusal to back down also comes into play with his audience work: be warned, Maddix expects honest answers and won’t take shrugging as sufficient response.
Politics of course pops up in the set (did you really expect to come to a large arts festival and not find somebody who's disgruntled about the results of the EU referendum?). Whereas the jokes are solid, there is a familiarity about Maddix's material when it comes to a maximum voting age. Plus, it feels too mainstream for Maddix's set, especially when nestled among themes of drugs, prison, and an impassioned plea to stop sexualising "titties".
Maddix has some excellently well-intentioned rants on slavery and feminism, although his ambiguity about what exactly is the most morally right solution is what really makes these set pieces his strongest material. We immediately see here the arsehole that Maddix has called himself, alongside the struggle to be better- an excellent encapsulation of his on-stage persona.
There is however a slightly unpolished feel to the show overall. Whilst there are segments which shine and off-handed comments which had me hooting with laughter, Maddix's low energy style also means that some material feels too 'normal'. Maddix is known for pushing the boat out and happily tackling taboo: he berates the audience for not expecting terrorism and race in his show, and rightly so because what he does with these issues generates some excellent punch lines. However, the material he ends on doesn't lead to these big highs: instead it peters out. A solid effort from Maddix, although his unapologetic nature may alienate people who'd prefer a quieter night out.