PERTH INTERNATIONAL COMEDY FESTIVAL
Wil Sylvince: Live!
REVIEW: Shannon Harvey
This time last year, New York comedian Wil Sylvince was upstaging the Wayan brothers Marlon and Shawn as their opening act for their national tour.
With his raucous and racy routine and Richard Pryor-style physical presence, the wiry, animated wire got twice as many laughs in 15 minutes than both Wayans brothers did in 90.
A year later, the Haitian born New Yorker returned for the first of four solo shows as a guest of the Perth International Comedy Festival. And a very appreciative guest at that, going by his hilarious recollection of flying first class across Australia, hitting the Melbourne, Sydney and Perth International Comedy Festivals in a style he's not accustomed to.
"I had so much food I was the first Haitian wanting to give it away," the 40 year-old gagged to a small but gleeful Astor Theatre crowd. "I actually asked if I could sponsor the guy in 27F!"
Dressed in sneakers, jeans and dark green hoodie, the cool cat looked part hobo and part hoodlum and lived up to the stereotype even when making routine gags about airport security, annoying hostesses and dumb passenger questions like "so, where are you going?" more hilarious with the aid of his darting eyeballs and cheeky smile.
That gift for physical comedy combined with his confident, relaxed stage presence gave Sylvince the air of the late great Pryor, which this tyro clearly resembles.
The cool cat went at a steadier pace over his hour-long routine than his 15 minute smackdown opening for the Wayans, often pausing to take stock and talk about his father's methods of discipline growing up and insistence he could be anything so long as it was a doctor, lawyer or engineer. Sylvince actually became an electro-mechanical engineer who built the servant robot in Rocky IV before going into comedy.
His laid-back pace was dotted with racy gems such as how the chemicals in chicken are making children develop so quick they're confusing all the paedophiles.
Admiring the likes of Dave Chappelle, Jamie Foxx, Chris Tucker and the Wayans brothers, the late-bloomer can't believe he's collaborating with them on TV shows and comedy tours.
Get used to it, pal, you're one of them now.
Wil Sylvince performs until Sunday.