Old Comedian of The Year: Museum of Comedy, London, 2015
President Obonjo: The Man Who Stole My Identity: Cowgate Cowshed Bar, Edinburgh, 2015
Beefy’s Comedy Club: Online: 2020
President Obonjo Stole My Identity: Hastings Fringe Comedy Festival, The Electric Palace, Hastings, 2021
Comedian Benjamin Bello has created President Obonjo, an exiled dictator of an African republic now slumming it in St Albans while threatening a comeback with his brand of tyranny. I have seen the President twice on stage and both times, he had a suitably dominant delivery with some good jokes. He marched down the aisle in full military regalia and to the sound of police sirens, assessing his audience.
There was so much more going on stage than just a satirical impression of a bloated egotistical dictator and his plans for world domination. On the face of it, it worked as a well-crafted political comedy. But it was the layers of context that really make this a fascinating, bewildering and painfully funny experience. Much of the show was spent with Bello the man talking in the character of the president, commenting on the effects the character has had on his family life and comedy career.
I was delighted to see President Obonjo of the Lafta Republic for Beefy’s Comedy Club online in July 2020. I had last seen him perform at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe a few years ago and was pleased to see that the old magic of cutting comment and biting wit was there as he delivered his address to the nation.
The character also appeared in President Obonjo Stole My Identity at the Hasting Fringe Comedy in June 2022. This was an inspired hour about a comedian who created a comedy character that sole his identity. Playing both Obonjo and himself, he was in complete control of the room and thoroughly entertained the laughter-filled audience.