Harun Musho'd: Harun With A View | Brighton Fringe comedy review by Steve Bennett

Harun Musho'd: Harun With A View

Brighton Fringe comedy review by Steve Bennett

Harun Musho’d has a lot going for him in terms of comedy. He is an ethnic smorgasbord: Swiss, Sri Lankan, British, Muslim, Catholic all feature in his entangled weed of a family tree, which has some big, dubious characters hanging off its branches.

Then add the fact he’s a House of Commons worker with an interest in politics, and that makes for a lot of grist for his comedy mill.

Yet when it comes to forging a show out of all of this, the result is a piecemeal offering, with some decent routines, but little sense of purpose as to why the fragments deserve almost an hour of our time.

He starts especially weak, with a convoluted opening he says he’s abandoned about 2016 celebrity deaths, though he still manages to do it. And after that he embarks on a peculiarly trivial ten minutes or so about his neighbourhood of Camberwell, South London.

It’s a mix of generic and the parochial, with easy jokes about gentrification, and a fairly straight retelling of an already tongue-in-cheek local newspaper report about an albino squirrel called Boris and a deliberately tenuous link ‘proving’ Camberwell Bus Garage’s complicity in the Iraq War. 

It’s all genial stuff, amiably told  – and surely goes down well in the regular gig he comperes in the area. But seems flimiser out of that context and parachuted into a solo show.

Moving along, he tests his terms of employment at the Palace Of Westminster which mean he must remain impartial. But on painting Brexiteers as simply ‘racists and morons’ who swallowed the lies on the side of a bus, he does little to advance the argument beyond the tsunami of liberal tweets of last summer.

Things take a decided upturn when he speaks about his family. Once he’s got a few generic gags about the stew of nationalities in his DNA, we get into the good stuff, particular to him, with his fascinating menagerie of relatives: from his alcoholic mum to not-always-observant  Muslim father and a fiesta of infidelity among his nearest and dearest that even found its way to Take a Break magazine.

It’s an engaging section, full of fascinating Musho’d family secrets, and the point where the show turns from amiable chit-chat to something more substantial.

His closing routine is interesting too, and sparking with an added tension in the wake of Monday’s murders in Manchester, as it discusses the topic of Islamist terrorism.

It’s essentially a Stewart Lee homage as he repeats motifs about terrorists back through the ages, similar to Lee’s anti-Ukip routine exaggerating the ‘they come over here…’ complaint. It’s a credit to Musho'd that it works despite the acknowledged debt – when so many newer comics are Stewart Lee wannabes, at least this bears comparison to the original.

Such a provocative, if derivative, closer adds some substance to the otherwise bitty 50-minutes, which seems like a good routine half that length padded out to fit a required solo slot.

Review date: 25 May 2017
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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