Jamali Maddix: Strip Club Einstein
- Jay Richardson
- 17 March 2020
A rough diamond scoundrel with a strong show that remains a captivating conundrum
Plenty of things Jamali Maddix says don't survive scrutiny to the next routine, never mind the cold light of day. Suggesting that white people have somehow ruined terrorism for example, appropriating it from other races, is impressively illogical on a number of levels. Still, it's rare in the moment of utterance that you don't get onboard with his train of thought, such is his prophetic posturing and incorrigible, rough diamond charm.
Waggishly provocative, belligerent on occasion and philosophical in his efforts to locate the line of offence, Maddix hitches himself to recklessness and repents at haste, in stand-up and in life. He throws out a contentious thought or ill-advised punch, then instantly questions his motives, hastily disclaims or gets the lawyers involved. Consistency is a tough ask for a comic, and Maddix makes it abundantly clear that he just wants an easier life, pithily encapsulating why he wants to be a dad but not a father, this perfectly formed nugget encapsulating male behaviour, his own family history and his instinctive fecklessness.
His great strength is his candour about the flexibility of his principles. He is pro sex workers, until an encounter in Germany sends him into a spiral of panic. He's laissez-faire about other sexualities, until an incident in a gay bar makes him acknowledge a degree of homophobia. Wonderfully, you can't ever be sure which is the truer him, the scoundrel or the penitent, how much of either has been affected for the laugh or whether he even has a firm grip on it himself.
Weary of making his challenging documentaries about extreme groups and racial unrest, he took a stand. Until levels of payment were mentioned. But how much of his not altogether successful closing routine is derived from genuine feelings of race resentment, inequality of justice or simply seeking a talking-point finale? Jamali Maddix on form is a compelling conundrum, self-lacerating yet still alighting on some social truths.
Jamali Maddix: Strip Club Einstein tours until Sunday 30 August. Seen at Blackfriars Basement, Glasgow.