“Bun fire in loneliness!” says one of Canada’s top comedians, Frankie “Trixx” Agyemang, in patois as he proudly addresses the taboo of men performing oral sex on women. The ladies cheer, clap and grasp onto their chairs, as they burst out into laughter, agreeing with the ultimatum the comic presents: please her or, “bun fire in loneliness.”

As latecomers walk into the Brigantine Room at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre for the Kuumba Comedy Night: Celebrating Our Identity, Trixx calls black people out for their non-stop lateness and jokingly advises the crowd to be more considerate since white people have been there for days.

The comedian says his strategy to preparing for a show is before it begins, he scans the audience members as they take their seats to know what approach he should take. Trixx’ unique ability to sway the crowd with his quick, witty remarks is what sets his act apart from the rest.

“People appreciate realness. What I love better than laughter is when people hear a joke of mine and go, ‘oh, that’s so true!’”

Attendee Jessica Jackson explains her ‘true’ moment. “When [Trixx and Jay Martin] were talking about how aggressive Nigerian men are, like how it’s the “now” and how they can’t wait [to get with a girl], because I had a similar experience… I was like ‘wow, that’s so true!’”

It seems taking playful jabs at cultural and racial differences is the night’s theme, as later on, up and coming stand up comic, Marlon Palmer, wearing a gold chain and crewneck sweater, steps on stage with a bright smile and touches on the black church versus the white church. “I need to feel guilty when I go to church.” Black church, he says, fills you with guilt.

When he admits to forgetting his next line, the optimistic crowd supports him by snapping and clapping. Palmer sticks to the mic and says a few more jokes, but a couple minutes after forgetting his line, he tells the crowd with a smile that his time is up, and quickly leaves the stage, seeming un-embarrassed.

Comedy may seem like the last stream of art to use to celebrate Black History Month, but the night of laughter with performances by amazing Canadian comedians proves that laughter is a form of healing.

Words By. Faduma Mohamed + Photos By. Candace Nyaomi