Caribbean music is a worldwide phenomenon because it’s easy to grind your hips without knowing what the singer’s going on about. But it’s much harder for those not steeped in island culture to parse cultural references and slang in the pursuit of laughter, which is why Caribbean comedy still appeals mostly to folks born in that region. But even those unversed in patois needn’t shy from the Caribbeana Comedy Festival, which is now in its 24th year. Brooklyn-born headliner Wil Sylvince (shown) draws on his Haitian heritage for more than a few japes, but he made his name on BET, HBO, and Showtime at the Apollo. Trinidad’s Willard “Lord Relator” Harris is a legend in calypso, which has long been a vehicle for double entendres leading to belly laughs. And Lindon “Fatman” George, Susan Kennedy, Dennis “Sprangalang” Hall, and others are confident that non-Caribbeans are more fluent in island-speak than they think.
The Caribbeana Comedy Festival begins at 7 p.m. at the Howard University Cramton Auditorium, 2455 6th St. NW. $35 in advance, $40 at door. caribbeana.org. (301) 459-1775.