Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre
Simon B Cotter
Snorri Hergill Kristjansson
Special guest who cannot be named
Stephen K Amos
Steve N Allen
News bullletin 1
More Shazia Mirza videos
|News bullletin 1|
|Beautiful girl with a beard|
Meera Syal’s Asian Comedy Night
In one of their sketches, comedy duo Asians Provocateurs struggle to list high-profile Asian women: ‘Baroness Warsi, Meera Syal and, erm, Meera Syal?’
It would be just as much of a struggle to name famous British-Asian comedians, certainly without resorting to one of those same names. Yet there is clearly a demand – 8,000 people applied for the 300 tickets to this BBC radio recording – while the content was resolutely mainstream, resonating with everyone, albeit stronger with those who shared a background with the comics.
The night – fronted by Syal, who else?, and BBC Asian Network’s breakfast presenter Tommy Sandhu – will be split into two showcases for a short comedy season on the digital station in July. But for the purposes of tonight, it was one continuous show, starting off with Shazia Mirza.
With a rather more human attitude than her traditional steely-cold deadpan, she offered a mixed plate: some funny observational material about her family and their bizarre attitudes to relationships – strictly instructing her to keep away from men but desperate for her to reproduce – mixed with pedestrian mentions of Facebook pokes, ‘paedophile’ Michael Jackson and a witless section on fingering that is seemingly designed solely to shock the conservative. She does that rather too often – seek to provoke reaction by saying something naughty rather that something funny – when her first-hand experiences are far more rewarding.
Young livewire Mickey Sharma slipped into cliche too easily – Norfolk people are inbred, gingers are to be pitied and so forth – but he has an engaging energy, best exemplified by his Bollywood take on nursery rhymes. Plus some of his more descriptive passages, such as Indians’ lax attitude to road safety, strike a real chord.
Speaking of livewires, few spark with more volts than the wiry Imran Yusuf, delivering some of the greatest hits that earned him the Edinburgh newcomer nod a couple of years ago. He retains a childlike cheek when describing playground teasing, but his primary asset is being a great orator – with all the tricks of stance, of repetition and of emphasis that requires – which he then undermines with a deft flick. The writing isn’t always the most original, but he’s a master of presentation.
A real treat next, in the form of Sami Shah, pictured, the stand-up who performed the first ever English-language show in Pakistan, back in 2005. However, he’s not in the Radio Theatre tonight, but in an anonymous hotel room in Singapore, where it’s the early hours of the morning, and he’s performing into a tiny webcam, to be Skyped back to London.
Incredibly, none of these obstacles dent his precision timing, and he delivers a masterclass in comedy. A set list might suggested some quite hackneyed topics: airport immigration, young people and their text speak and the like. But this self-diagnosed ‘paranoid narcissist’ combines insight with oblique wit and linguistic flair which brings such subjects to life. He should come to Britain; he’d surely be a smash.
Asian Provocateurs next – Sajeela Kershi and Yasmeen Khan, who bill themselves as the only female British-Asian sketch duo. Though of course the words ‘female’, ‘sketch’ and ‘duo’ mean they are inevitably introduced as the Asian French and Saunders.
The comparison stacks up in as far as the pair are likeable performers of exaggerated archetypes – from posh Hooray Henriettas to BNP wags – but their scenes feel very underwritten and often too predictable. There’s usually a good gag or two in each skit, but padded with such comic white noise as the Sloanes fretting about their hummus coming from Ocado.
Hyde Panaser managed a double-cliche with a gag that mocked ginger people and ended with the line ‘...so I stabbed him’. Such slips into the predictable feel like rookie mistakes for someone who’s being going for five years, especially when other parts of his jaunty, conversational set are more engaging as he discusses the pitfalls of living at home at 29 with malapropism-spouting relatives.
There were some fans in for Humza Arshad – aka Humza Badman, an internet sensation who has racked up more than 34.5million views for his 26 videos on YouTube. Live, this arrogant, fast-talking, high-pitched would-be rapper is a chaotic character, but in a good way – with his engaging, energetic personality more than making up for a scrappy script. Plus he’s excellent at bringing to life supporting players in the drama of his life, such as his uncle who picks fights with the TomTom navigation system. It’s easy to see why he’s so popular online.
Finally, more fine character work from Kulvinder Ghir, as a wisftul corner-shop owner. His tender and evocative reminiscences of life in Amritsar seemed to spark fond memories in some of the audience, while his repeated pondering of whether he did the right thing in coming to Britain add a pathos to his performance. That’s not to say this closing act was not funny – Ghir worked with Syal on Goodness Gracious Me back in the day, and he hasn’t lost his impish touch – but this was a more mature presentation than gag-heavy standup.
|Date of live review: Tuesday 1st May, '12|
Review by Steve Bennett
Wednesday 19th Jan, '11- British Library
Monday 14th Jul, '08-
Show - Edinburgh Fringe 2008 -
Show - Misc live shows - Tuesday 0th Mar, '06-
Show - Edinburgh Fringe 2005 -
Show - Misc live shows -
Show - Misc live shows -
Show - Edinburgh Fringe 2004 -
I think Shazia is funny. But her jokes are stuff we Asians have been joking about for years. Its not original but i admire her for getting on stage infront of people with the hijjab on.
I have seen her only once but have found her material very entertaining, i do hope she is more than just a novelty act. Furthermore i applaud her courage to go where no other muslim woman has gone.
She has little talent and almost all of her matieral is derived from the fact that she is a Muslim. Doesn't she have anything else to say about herself? As a young, female British Muslim, I was truly uninspired by her act. It was repetitive, poorly deliviered and actually offensive (no, not to Muslim's but to white audiences - how fed up and bored they must be with all this post 9/11 bollocks). If the only thing that defines Shazia Mirza is her religion then I feel pretty sorry for her. So she's a virgin, so she's 26, so she has to deal with facial hair. None of that has anything to do with the fact that she's Muslim - its all to do with the fact that she's got bad genes and cant get a boyfriend. She needs to take a leaf out of Shappi Khorsandi's book. Now there is a stand-up who is engaging, brilliant with delivery, and totally hillarious and not a one trick poney that relies on her status as an "ethnic minority" for laughs - unlike Mirza. I saw Mirza at Edinburgh and by the end of her performance the audience were just embarassed for her and could no longer feign laughter.
I went to see Shazia's show recently and it was absolutely brillant! I really admire her for what she´s doing and for her strong personality.
Weak, weak, weak. The only person 9/11 was convenient for. What now? Go to the drawing board and plan to be funny, Nowhere near a natural. Needs a lot of practice, sorry
A novel idea and she is obviously bright and sharp. But the material is too un-PC for an audience that has been scared off laughing at such stuff. So when there are no laughs she blames the audience for being thick. Never a good move. Not funny and not entertaining. Avoid.
Truly Awful. Reading from bits of paper and writing on the back of her hand. She shouldnt bother - its not exactly ground breaking material. She will never produce anything that is funny - the only material she has ever been capable of is 9/11 stuff.
She started out as a niche Muslim comic and has done well. I hope she succeeds as a pure comic as well
Stand Up For Freedom
Stand Up For Freedom
Edinburgh Fringe 2003
Shazia Mirza and Patrick Monahan
Edinburgh Fringe 2004
Shazia Mirza: Wish You Were Here?
Edinburgh Fringe 2005
Shazia Mirza: Between You And Me
Edinburgh Fringe 2006
Shazia Mirza: Fun!
Edinburgh Fringe 2007
Edinburgh Fringe 2008
Shazia Mirza: A Portrait Of Shazia Mirza
Edinburgh Fringe 2010
Shazia Mirza: Multiple Choice
Edinburgh Fringe 2011
Shazia Mirza: Busybody
Misc live shows
Funny Women gala 2005
Funny Women Gala 2006
Leicester Comedy Festival Preview Show 2009
Shazia Mirza: Cuckooland