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WATCH: Social media comedy star Jazz Emu comes home to roost in Jersey

WATCH: Social media comedy star Jazz Emu comes home to roost in Jersey

Thursday 27 April 2023

WATCH: Social media comedy star Jazz Emu comes home to roost in Jersey

Thursday 27 April 2023


A social media comedy 'Emu', who grew his show in Jersey before generating buzz at the Fringe and the West End, is returning to the island this week – in the hope of salvaging his career after offending the Helsinki goblin community.

Jazz Emu, described by the Telegraph as "not exactly jazzy" and "unquestionably not an emu", is a comedy character created by UK comedian Archie Henderson.

Meet the "smug, 70s lothario"

The character, described by Archie as a "a smug, 70s lothario" first rose to prominence one YouTube, garnering a "cult following" during lockdown with his retro-inspired synth-funk comedy tunes. 

The Show, 'You Shouldn't Have', is the character's first live outing and has received universal praise following successful runs at the 2022 Edinburgh Fringe and the Soho Theatre in London.

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Pictured: 'You Shouldn't Have' is playing at the Jersey Arts Centre on Thursday and Friday night. 

A reviewer from the Times described him as "my new favourite comedian", Time-Out said the show "will have you tapping your feet with tears of laugher streaming from your eyes", while the Telegraph described him as "one of the funniest and most original musical acts since Flight of the Conchords".

Born out of lockdown

The character was more or less born out of lockdown.

Archie started his comedy career as a stand-up and sketch comedian, performing both at University and at the Edinburgh Fringe. 

However, the pandemic put a temporary halt on live stand-up comedy, and so Archie focused his efforts online: "I started off doing YouTube videos with a director friend of mine. We both wanted to make comedy videos, and I insisted on doing songs... He sort of had to go along with it... We went with this 70s and 80s-inspired visual and sound."

The videos were noticed by theatre producer Adam Flynn, a Jersey resident, who proposed that they create a live show with the character.

Adam said: "I was a huge fan of his online stuff, but he'd never played the character live before, so we put together a narrative show and rehearsed it over in Jersey." 

Having received support from Arthouse Jersey, the show, written by Archie and was produced/directed by Adam, was rehearsed in 5 days at the Greve De Lecq barracks. 

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Pictured: Jazz Emu first rose to prominence online, before taking a show to the Edinburgh Fringe (Reiff Gaskell) 

Both were incredibly grateful for the support received from Arthouse Jersey. Adam said: "...We're so thankful that they would just take a punt on this unknown thing."

The show then debuted at the Edinburgh Fringe for a two-week run.

Buzz at the Fringe

Archie said: "It was great, we only did two weeks, which was a new one for me. Normally you do the whole month and it's a real slog, so we really crammed the whole experience into that time... At the start it was a little bit hairy, we were trying to get it properly up on its feet but it all sort of snowballed, by the end we were filling the room, the shows were going well, and that's all you can ask for, really." 

Having generated enough of a buzz at the fringe, the show was offered a slot at the Soho Theatre in London, where they did 20 shows to yet more acclaim. 

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Pictured: 'You Shouldn't Have' was supported by Arthouse Jersey. 

Now, the show is coming back to Jersey, going up at the Jersey Arts Centre, for two nights.

"He is carrying out his redemption arc"

Archie said: "It's really nice that, having grown the show here, we can actually bring it back to the island." 

The show itself has a pretty surreal premise.

Having blown the biggest gig of his career by offending the Helsinki Goblin community, Jazz Emu is staging his comeback, with the hopes of clearing his name. Archie said: "He's carrying out his redemption arc, but his personality just keeps letting him down." 

For those confused, Archie said: "I usually describe it as a narrative character comedy with songs... It's a bit like a play, with lots of stand-up in there too." 

To those islanders thinking about coming along, Archie said: "It's like nothing you've ever ever seen before... I'll be nice and vague." 

'You Shouldn't Have' is on at the Jersey Arts Centre on Thursday 27 (tonight) and Friday 28 April at 20:00.

Tickets can be purchased HERE.

Pictured top: Mr Jazz Emu himself, Archie Henderson. (Reiff Gaskell) 

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