Grading On A Curve: Kings Nation’s “Laughs & Lyrics – The Comedy And Poetry Showcase”

by Dexter Harper

Picture 2 of 28

As a mediocre math student in Jr. High struggling to meet the mark I was always apprehensive during and after any test. How badly am I doing at the forefront of my thoughts instead of the formulas and computations? Anticipating my grade as the teacher passed back the graded test, the moment I looked forward to was not seeing my grade but the pause before the first student received their test. In that moment to hear the words “I’ve graded on a cure …” was like hearing from heaven, because no matter how marred by red x’s my grade would be better than I deserved.

I never thought of the flip side of that equation until recently. Oh how my math teachers must have anguished over the fact that in spite of their best efforts I’d missed the mark once again.

What caused my digression of thirty plus years ago to math classes at Horace Mann Jr. High School?
Kings Nation’s “Laughs & Lyrics – The Comedy And Poetry Showcase”

Effort: A+ plus:

Clearly my math teacher gave me credit for effort, I’d attempted to solve every equation and didn’t give up.

I don’t know which obstacles Kings Nation had to overcome in presenting their comedy showcase to Amarillo but it could not have been an easy road. Without a blueprint or breadcrumbs to follow they persisted and didn’t throw in the towel.

Aptitude: C- minus

Aptitude, ability, skill or capacity it makes no difference which adjective you use because at some point while grading my test the teacher had to evaluate the answers. Math tests differed from other tests because usually one couldn’t just give the answer, often you were required to show how you arrived to a certain conclusion. Although my answer was correct, my equations would ramble on and on and on never fully supporting my conclusions, forcing my teacher to take away points.

Laughs & Lyrics and my math equations both share this flaw. Although Kings Nation had all the correct answers they fell short of expectations the same as my math equations.

A common consensus given by those polled who left prior to the conclusion of the “Laughs & Lyrics – The Comedy And Poetry Showcase” was the overabundance of lyrics and absence of laughs.

Kings Nation presented a sensational slate of poets each unique in their performance. The bar of excellence was set high by the opening performer poet and author Charles W. Williams. Only the women poets reached the level set by Charles Williams. The male poets delivered great performances but they were subjugated to Charles Williams, Khole, Carla Lawson and Nox.

A true indication of the height of the bar was on this Saturday night Amarillo’s musical sensation Devlon Jones fell short.

Unfortunately by the time the comedians reached the stage the near capacity house had dwindled by two thirds. The remaining third would be further reduced by those who left due to the lateness of the hour in spite of excellent performances by comedians Roderick McDaniel and the headlining act Anastasia the Bold. Although before an audience a fourth of the size welcoming the poets, the experience of Anastasia’s live performance out distances her DVD performances.

Final Grade:

Unlike my math teacher who had the luxury using a pool of the same tests from the same class in building the curve by which I was graded, no such case can be made for grading Kings Nation’s “Laughs & Lyrics – The Comedy And Poetry Showcase”. Without a blueprint or breadcrumbs from recent history to build from I must reach back a decade or more to build my grading curve.

Finally we come to the moment I spoke of above. The pause before the teacher hands back the first test and says “… I’ve graded on a curve”.

Grading on a curve: B- minus

Share Button

This post has been viewed 21352 times.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
North Amarillo Now


  1. avatar Nox says:

    I definitely agree with Carla, it is a shame that we don have other examples to go by, but there always has to be a martyr of “first”, hopefully there will be many more venues for the artistic-inclined to venture to, to have a world expanded beyond the “norm” here, not all of us want Polk Street, Not all of us want to sit at home on a Saturday night either, this kind of effort takes time and careful planning, it can only get better and I have faith that it will. I for one will keep pushing for more like this, we can only get better.

  2. avatar Carla Lawson says:

    Coming from California to perform in Amarillo was a pleasure. I was highly appreciative of the above mentioned effort that King Nation put forth to produce a venue that has not been provided before now in Amarillo. For a first effort with a packed house Kings Nation should be proud of the turnout and the response from the audience. I’m absolutely certain that Kings Nation has already taken inventory and a full assessment of the showcase and that the next venue will have a balance that produces optimal results. I had a fantastic time. The best part of any “first” endeavor is learning what you will and won’t do again.
    Blessings to you Black Amarillo.- Ms.Carla Lawson