3 important things SLK gets right with Netflix comedy special 'Teetotaler'
SLK mostly sticks the landing in new Netflix comedy special.
I was immediately struck by his relatability, humour, and intelligence displayed in his witty wordplay.
Several years later, he has gone beyond making the rounds online with his skits to releasing his first stand-up comedy special, TGIF, creating a solid fanbase, and doing some acting.
For his latest act, he is attempting to solidify his position on the Nigerian Mount Rushmore of new-age comedians with his first Netflix comedy special.
I got to see the new special at its premiere on May 11, 2023 ahead of the release today. Here are three important things he gets right with Teetotaler:
Following a quick introduction, SLK's special opens with a light-hearted COVID joke about the different reactions to the 2020 lockdown, from streaming shows to making personalised Ankara nose masks.
In his words, "Trust Nigerians to take things to the next level... Then Nigerians were now looking like, 'This blue does not go with my ...' Why are you wearing Ankara? You'll now wear Ankara pants, shirt, mask. You will now look like low-budget Lagbaja."
This interesting opening, accompanied by some creative wordplay, instantly makes you feel right at home. As the special continues, it's quite clear that SLK is not afraid to lean into his Nigerianness; a welcome trait for this writer.
He shows how well he knows his audience by delivering jokes that reflect our collective experiences, from dealing with Nigerian parents who cannot help but send you on errands no matter how old you get to our unique brand of memorable teachers and university lecturers.
This is not an artist trying to pander to global viewers, but a skilled comedian who is daring to put our unique flavour on display for the world to see. For this, I am extremely grateful that I no longer have to be tortured by a comedian alienating his home base in a misguided bid to gain international fans.
Handling sensitive issues with taste
Lately, even the best of comedians have been under fire for daring to crack jokes about sensitive topics like rape, race, sexism, and natural disasters, so I was apprehensive when I found out that SLKomedy planned to address heavy issues including child molestation, feminism, and politics.
To my surprise, the comedian serves up the perfect comedy sandwich, offering a balanced take on society with the right level of humour and tact.
I find myself laughing at jokes about Nigerian men's perspectives on being molested; even the usually offensive issue of profiling came out smelling like roses.
SLK takes things up a notch by following his jokes, especially the one about sexual molestation, with some much-needed advice to his fellow men, successfully avoiding the landmines that come with taboo jokes, and showing self-awareness of his responsibility as a comedian to share his funny perspective on the truth without being offensive.
With this move, he proves once and for all that he understands the delicate dance of delivering jokes about controversial issues without offending a woke, easily triggered society.
Delivers actual comedy
Comedians, by definition, have one job, and that is to be funny. But more often than not, I have watched comedy specials waiting for punchlines that never hit and ended up without cracking a smile.
While I have fond memories of laughing at SLK's skits, I was curious to see how that would translate to an hour-long special.
Delivering my brand of comedy (think the intelligent comedy you get from American counterparts Trevor Noah and Hasan Minhaj), he quickly wins me over with his entertaining yet informative approach that makes it easy to overlook the rare missteps.
By the end, I have a smile on my face and pride in my heart that the future of Nigerian stand-up comedy is in good hands with SLK around.
Overall, Teetotaler is an enjoyable watch that invites you to delve into your Nigerianness and leaves you feeling warm and fussy inside.
SLK proves once and for all that he is the complete package, with the wit and delicate touch often lacking in comedians.
Teototaler is currently streaming globally on Netflix.
Pulse Editor's Opinion is the opinion of an editor at Pulse. It does not represent the views of the organisation Pulse.
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