CITY WISE

'Jongleurs' is probably the UK's biggest Comedy-Club chain. Earl hasn't performed there since it turned, as he calls it 'wholesale', but here's a typical crit. from the time that he did...


Earl looks like a rather fastidious accountant, dressed in a three-piece suit. His spats are immaculately white, his hair sculpted into place and a handkerchief in his top pocket gives him a rather dandified air...

...He climbs on to stage and sits down with his guitar. He looks totally out of place and the large audience continues talking, chatting, laughing among themselves. Earl remains quiet and unassuming. I want to leave the room. How utterly dreadful to see someone's public demise.

Suddenly, Earl has had enough and begins to play his guitar. As he sings, the audience begins to quieten down, fascinated by the unusual figure and his seductive music. The song is slow and Jazzy (as well as very funny) and we are drawn forward to him, craning to savour every note that is sung. When all attention is captured, Earl starts to play a trumpet, using only his voice as the instrument. The impression is brilliant and the crowd breaks into a spontaneous round of applause.

Earl has a pecular knack of making people think that he is singing solely for them. Looking round at the women in the audience, I am amazed. They are all staring, enchanted by the voice which does, I admit, sound fairly in keeping with melting honey. Is Earl Okin really going to be the next sex-symbol?

His act is soothing and easy, yet somehow fitting perfectly into the atmosphere of late-night drinking...a mixture of wit, originality and music. What strikes me most about seeing him on stage is how charming he is, how unashamedly human and accessible. As his set comes to a close, Earl receives wildly drawn out applause and has to return for an encore. To my intense relief, he is the most popular act of the night, neither threatening, tedious or self-indulgent, but totally unique and a true entertainer!

KAT HELLER.