Tag Archives: stand up comedy

The Omid Djalili Show

BBC – Comedy – The Omid Djalili Show
BBC ONE, 9:30pm, Saturday 17th November

The Omid Djalili show starts a six week run on the BBC tonight, having survived the criticism that it may make light of serious subjects such as terrorism with, for example, a sketch called Suicide Bomber School. I am personally a firm believer that comedy can subtly eat away extremist and erroneous views by magnifying them beyond the point at which we identify those views as being our own, but there is always a line below which such comedy will be seen as tasteless and that line is not easily defined. The BBC may, therefore, appear brave to give Omid a Saturday night slot on their flagship channel, but Omid has been staying on the right side of that line in his stand-up routines since he started touching on such material, following the 9/11 bombings, in 2001.

Omid is a serious actor as well as a stand up comedian, his own web site includes a show reel of some of his more serious roles. Perhaps Omid would rather be known as an actor than a comedian but he has always had a natural ability to entertain, my earliest memories of him are from a Baha’i youth conference in London in the mid 1980’s where he performed some sketches with the help of Inder Manocha, now also doing stand-up routines. My brother and I did some break dancing at the same event.

That conference was before Omid took on stand-up comedy professionally and so his material has matured a lot since then, but as a long standing fan and admirer of Omid’s talent and radiant joyousness, I am very familiar with most of Omid’s stand-up routine, some of which is to be repeated yet again for this tv series. Hopefully a prime time BBC ONE airing for this material will be a last stand for some of the older routines and more newer jokes will be developed. The old jokes are still funny to watch, but I don’t need to see them performed because I have seen them so many times that they are imprinted in my mind. That said, I do have a desire to see his “Indian bingo caller” resurface, though I doubt that will make it into this show.

The Omid Djalili show starts tonight at 9:30 on BBC ONE and runs for six weeks.

Inder in the Edinburgh Festival

Inder UnpronounceableFor the past decade Inder Manocha, one of the longest serving members of the Regional Baha’i Council for England, has been a popular master of ceremonies at Baha’i events in the UK for his quick wit and intelligent humour. In 2001 Inder chose comedy as his career over the psycotherapy he had qualified in, and began performing regularly in comedy clubs with an act that mixed cultural observations from his indian heritage with amusing scenarios built from common experiences of life in England.

In 2004 Inder won the EMMA (Ethnic, Multicultural, Media, Award) in the category best Comedy/Comedian. Inder has been making appearances in the Edinburgh Festival since 2003 but this year he has been performing his own nightly 45 minute show, “Unpronounceable”. While anybody can perform at the Edinburgh Festival fringe it is still a prestigious venue for comedians because it is so well attended by the public and every show is likely to receive several reviews in the press, there are also awards for the best shows and the best newcomers.

Among Inder’s Edinburgh reviews Hairline says that “Not only is he very funny but his subject matter really makes you think” and Three Weeks describes Inder as “tackling racism with the contempt it deserves, and conjuring up a belly of laughs with his sharp-shooting cultural observations.”

The Scotsman printed an interview with Inder Manocha and another commedian called DJ Danny on 5th August.

Some of the less enthusiastic comments I have read on Inder’s “Unpronounceable” show have been based on the expectation of something greater from past performances. Overall the reviews have placed Inder on about 3 stars out of 5, I have not seen the Edinburgh show but I have seen Inder perform on many earlier occasions and he has been hilarious, not just to me but evidently to the entirity of the audiences where I have seen him.

Inder is performing at the Pleasance Courtyard in Edinburgh until 28th August.