I was reading about a Gay Pride event in Glasgow last week that had banned drag acts from performing for fear they may offend transgendered members of their community who were confused about their identity. It was at this point I realised political correctness had finally imploded in a vacuum of quinoa and fair trade tea.
An irresistibly engaging comic that may juggle with outrageous material, but the execution doesn’t come across as offensive.
Comedy has never been far from the politically correct debate. Indeed you could arguably call Bernard Manning, Roy Chubby Brown and Jim Davidson the anti-hero poster boys for PC campaigners. So is Paul Chowdhry re-opening Pandora’s Box by tackling this subject head on? No. Absolutely not.
The London press hate him, pouring scorn on his material about gypsies, UKIP and immigrants. Guardian readers were no doubt clutching their pearls in horror to read about a comic who calls his audience Bengali bastards and all white folk either Dave or Tracey.
Chowdhry is surprised at the turn out for his show. “I didn’t think there were this many Asians in York.” There’s a certain amount of shock value, and Chowdhry reinforces this mumbling “I’ve gone too far now”, or “you can’t say that any more” after delivering the more scandalous asides. But Chowdhry is no racist, misogynist or homophobe – most of his material is self deprecating, poking fun at his own Asian culture or exposing the funny in his audience. Nobody is really safe. The American, the South African and especially the guy from Chapel Allerton.
Chowdhry admits he hasn’t done this show for a while, so sometimes struggles to remember where we’re going next, but Chowdhry has already found rich mines of comedy in the front few rows of his audience – a gay couple from Pakistan, ginger haired taxi driver and a 19 year old called Sorn who looks about a decade older than he claims. The delivery is confident, but not confrontational. He’s an irresistibly engaging comic that may juggle with outrageous material, but the execution doesn’t come across as offensive.
PC’s World is now going on an extended tour including a live recording for DVD in November. I’m looking forward to the next show, which a friend of Chowdhry’s helpfully suggested should be called Curry’s.