"What happens when you think you’re being hilarious and other people just think you are causing anarchy?" Despite beginning with a gripping premise about censors, sensitivity and shows in Pakistan, Shazia Mirza's show doesn't leave me any more enlightened on the issues she poses. Perhaps it would have been more apt to ask "what happens when you think you're being hilarious and other people just don't?"
At one point, Mirza literally repeats the same set of jokes about truancy in looplike fashion.
Mirza's show contains some gems and the beginning bit of the gig is imaginative in both its humour and its subject matter. Mirza's inside scoops on both the beeb and the Pakistani comedy scene are fresh and fascinatingly satirical: Her discussion of the more patronising facets of multiculturalism and Radio 2's attempts to "Muslim it up a bit" is delivered with an endearingly exasperated tone and brilliant facial expression. In terms of comic styling her routine of reading out amazon recommendations on bulletproof vests proves sturdiest, performed to plenty of laughs.
After a middling beginning, however, Bulletproof gets a bit ropey. The show comes to circle around the same yawnsome subjects in scattershot fashion: Mirza's old house (which suddenly becomes her current house for her final stab at a gag); her time as a teacher; some Somalian tenants; each are repeatedly riffed on in stammering fashion without any discernible throughline or interesting observation. Indeed, at one point, Mirza literally repeats the same set of jokes about truancy in looplike fashion. Likewise she apologises to the audience before launching into a minor bit about Michael Gove's current educational policies, excusing her anachronism by explaining that she wrote the show before the cabinet reshuffle: Why, I wondered, didn't she just cut the ten seconds and count her losses? Or even just replace the name with generic reference to the Tories? Mirza's set descends into something unstructured and unengaging.
"I thought reviews were for just for DVDs, musicals and people that you hate" claims Mirza. I don't hate her, but I wasn't a fan of her show on the whole. For something that's supposed to be Bulletproof, this show certainly has plenty of holes to pick at.