Interviews

Interview with Jamaican comedians Ity and Fancy Cat

Written by Xavier Murphy

This week we interview Ity and Fancy Cat. So who’s Ity & Fancy Cat?  Ian “Ity” Ellis and Alton “Fancy Cat” Hardware are two talented, confident yet un-assuming men who have known each other since childhood days in Trench Town, long before they became a household name in Jamaica. As an established professional performing arts unit, they’ve been together longer than all the other famous Jamaican comedy duos before them, and they have been consistent purveyors of side-splitting laughter throughout the Caribbean as well as the Diaspora in North American and Europe for nearly 20 years.

When did you both realize that your are now famous?
[Laughs] We’re not sure how to respond to that! [Laughs]

What inspires you when you are writing a script?
Ity & Fancy Cat: Blakka Ellis writes most of the scripts our skits for the TV Show but we’re all engaged in the creative/ brainstorming process.

One of the most viral Jamaican videos is the “Country Helper”. When you wrote the skit for the show did you expect it to become before so popular?
Fancy Cat: “I was driving when di idea come to mi and mi tell Ity and him write the script.”
Ity: “Yea, me write the script and Blakka added di finishing touches. We had no idea it would have the level of success it does though.”


The Country Helper from the Ity & Fancy Cat Show

Where did you meet and how long have you known each other?
Ity & Fancy Cat: We met while playing for Boys Town Football inna di early 80’s.

When did you start performing?
Ity & Fancy Cat: We started performing in 1992.

Your comedy routines and skits are very clean. Is this the case when you perform to an adult only audience or did you make a decision to keep it clean?  
Ity & Fancy Cat: We made the decision to keep in clean but depending on the audience we may have some sexual innuendos in the set.

Every performer can remember a performance that was a disaster. Have you guys had one of those yet?
Ity & Fancy Cat: There were a few times when there was little connection with the audience but nothing disastrous.

Who is your hero?
Ity: Bery May Mattison, my mother.
Fancy Cat: Blakka

Do you have any new projects in the works?
Ity: Currently toying with an idea with Keyboard Money Mike, the same person who brought the idea about the TV show to us.

What about a Jamaican movie. Any plans to make one?
Ity & Fancy Cat: In the distant future.

Have you guys ever had any creative differences?
Ity & Fancy Cat: All the time! But wi always mek it work in the end.

What makes Jamaican comedy different from American comedy?
Ity & Fancy Cat: Nothing is off limits with comedy in America but inna Jamaica the culture is not 100% there yet. Wi getting there slowly though.

Digicel or Claro?
Ity & Fancy Cat: Digicel!!!

My friend would say the strangest thing I do is…
Fancy Cat: Drive while eating cooked food like rice and peas and chicken (laughs)

Thanks for the interview. Do you have any closing thoughts?
Thanks for having us, stay tuned for more!

About the author

Xavier Murphy