JIS News

Jamaicans in the United Kingdom (UK) turned out in their numbers on Wednesday (Nov. 9), to honour popular comedian and actor Oliver Samuels, who is celebrating 35 years in entertainment this year.
The throng at the High Commission in London included Samuels’ family, friends and colleagues in the industry, who not only praised the comedian’s enviable body of work for more than three decades, but also his excellence as a human being.
High Commissioner Gail Mathurin, who led the tributes, said that Samuels was a born entertainer with an innate gift for making people laugh.
“For 35 years, he has generously shared that gift with Jamaicans at home and abroad, and through his many radio, television, stage and film performances, his talents have reached a much more extensive audience worldwide to the point where the name Oliver Samuels has become synonymous with Jamaica and Jamaican humour.
“We, the Jamaican community in the UK, would like to add our voices to the growing chorus of praise, to thank Oliver, in some small way, for favouring us with his talent for all these years and for giving us the gift of laughter,” she stated.
Trevor Thomas of the UK-based Blue Mountain Theatre Company, with which Samuels has worked since 1990, praised the comedian for his professionalism. “He is a big-hearted man, who has spent 35 years of honing that skill, that outrageous talent,” Mr. Thomas stated, while also lauding Samuels’ charitable work, including his support for education and children with HIV/AIDS.
In his tribute, Comedian Tony Hendricks, pointed out that Samuels was “not just a very funny man, but is also very intelligent”.
He further praised the comedian for his assistance and support of young talent over the years. “The amount of young talent that he has helped and given an opportunity as a writer and actor; he does so many great things, he is a fantastic comedian, a fantastic human, a magnificent actor but more than any of that, Oliver Samuels is a great man”, Hendricks stated.
Noted choreographer Jackie Guy, who is a life-long friend of Samuels, reminisced about their work with the Jamaica Social Development Commission in the 1970s. ” Oliver was very, very kind, one of his great characteristics is kindness. Oliver, I thank you for the inner strength you gave me,” he said.
In response to the many accolades, Oliver thanked the many people he worked with and who supported him over the years. He also paid homage to the Blue Mountain Theatre Company.
Samuels noted that over the years, he has tried to perform at a “standard that when you come as Jamaican and Caribbean people, you must be proud that we as practitioners of the arts can put on a real top-class production that can cross over without compromise. Our mission as practitioners is not just to entertain but to educate and in everything we do, it should have the element of professionalism.”
Samuels described his 35 years in theatre as being wonderful, noting that every challenge he faced had made him a better person.
The evening’s proceedings included a special video tribute to Samuels, highlighting his work over the years.
Samuels is currently on tour in the UK, where he is performing in the Blue Mountain Theatre Company’s production of ‘Sting’.

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