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 -
The only reason this woman has a career is because Britain is still xenophobic and she gives ignorant people permission to be racist with her "sell out" persona. I'm not Asian but I still think this woman's portrayal of her own culture is disgusting, she may as well join the EDL
Totally agree with most of the comments, as most are negative and scathing of her lazy reliance on generic race jokes that went out with the ark. Shes as funny as catching your grandparents fcuking but less interesting to watch.
She's not funny at all, just making a living off of perpetuating silly stereotypes.. it's a good thing she started a while back because with the amount of Muslim/Asian comedians around with actual material and talent she would NOT have a career
I don't feel she deserves the bad reviews. She is actually very funny and has the potential to become an engaging and original act.
Wow, lots of conflicting reports on her.rnrnI was a bit concerned due to all the negative reviews but thankfully I can say I really enjoyed her show in Leeds last month. She is extremely engaging with the audience and had us in stitches, despite the small audience. There were a couple of shocking comments but nothing too outrageous. Would definitely see her again and reminds me to always make up my own mind on these things.
Truly abysmal. Spent much of her time on stage muttering '..jokes, jokes..' searchingly, as if the effort of thinking of something funny to say was a hardship.
Saw her this evening at the Hyena comedy club in Newcastle. Not all that bad, but ultimately it felt like an animatronic robot reading a script. Also, she told the same joke about 'blowing you up' about five times, when it only really raised a mild chuckle the first time around. Certainly not the worst I have seen thought, a few good one liners
I think the reviews tell you more about the type of nutters out there than Shazia Mirza.
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