Somewhat of a fringe legend, Omid Djalili has graced many a theatre on his national tours over the last 20 years since he performed his very first Edinburgh Fringe show. Having become a big name in comedy and starring in a handful of US blockbuster films, the Iranian comic performs a solid show to a packed out audience.
Coming out to his trademark bhangra backing, Djalili makes a jubilant entrance and immediately has the crowd on his side, the applause and cheering to his intermittent dance breaks loud and raucous. Getting into his routine, Djalili gets into what will become a recurring theme which few comics can approach and really get away with: race and racial stereotypes.
Beginning with a skit about ‘lazy racists’ who have heckled the comic in Scotland previously, he then moves on to the more removed topics of the differences between Iranians, Pakistanis and Egyptians – while very funny, the humour at times feels like it may be a little inaccessible for a lot of the audience, the crowd becoming lost at a joke involving comical translations of certain Middle-Eastern sayings. Delivering his classic ‘Indian Bingo caller’ routine brings the audience back to him, bringing down the house with his well observed and hilarious bingo rhymes.
Moving on to more familiar territory, Djalili then gives an entertaining insight into his marriage and his theory on relationships, talking the punters through the hilariously thought out ‘relationship stages’ which all couples experience. He then moves back to more close-to-the-bone material, in which he talks about his love of other races, including his Nigerian accent and Nelson Mandela impressions. This genuinely funny material is something that so many comedians could not pull off, but Omid Djalili, while pushing the boundaries of what is acceptable, manages to mix genuinely insightful thoughts on race with sharp punchlines and clever gags. Shorter skits involving middle-class football hooliganism and Djalili’s wish to complete many of his everyday activities with action movie one-liners give the show a great variety and make for an entertaining evening.