We spoke to Lolly Adefope ahead of her run at Soho Theatre with second full-length show, 'Lolly 2'.
The first thing to say about character whizz Lolly Adefope is her comedy is silly. Gloriously, sublimely silly. The second is she’s black. Taken together, these two facts left some critics confused by her debut hour. ‘They were either “She doesn’t really mention her race – odd” or “She doesn’t really mention her race – great!”,’ Adefope tells me over drinks at Soho Theatre.
Her second show, ‘Lolly 2’ – home to characters like Damian Speck, a politically incorrect cultural awareness co-ordinator, and 'Black Hermione' – is an attempt to wrestle with this conundrum: her love of pure nonsense, her facility with voices and character, rubbing up against hard truths about representations of blackness.
Adefope, 26, got serious about performing after experiencing an alt-comedy epiphany at the Fringe, courtesy of deadpan sketch act Sheeps. ‘I remember thinking, where do they hang out in London? Because these are the people I want to be like.’
The answer? Invisible Dot. Adefope is quick to credit the sadly defunct alt-comedy hub with giving her the space to hone her work. It was there that she developed her characters: improvising with friends, latching on to silly voices.
Occasionally real life would serve up the material ready-made. ‘My Black Hermione bit comes from an audition. They asked me to do the accent more “African”? I was like: What?’
Despite popping up a fair bit on the box Adefope is sceptical about getting her own TV show off the ground. ‘These days, TV people hate sketch comedy’ she says. ‘I remember trying to pitch something like ‘Inside Amy Schumer’, ‘Key and Peele’ and they were like “no, no, no”. But that’s all the best current comedy!’
Oh well. TV’s loss is live comedy’s gain. Catch her this week at Soho Theatre for maximum Lollz.