Paul Sinha: King Of The World
Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2007
Following in the wake of his hugely successful Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2006 show, Saint Or Sinha, Paul Sinha will be culling even more sacred cows as he delivers his unique take on life, death, binge drinking, trivia fanaticism, and finding redemption on the roulette tables of Las Vegas.
Paul Sinha had an incredible festival last year, with a dazzling, award-nominated, five-star show that firmly established him as a major comedy force.
He’s given himself a tough act to follow, especially given that he burned up all his unique selling points – of which he has many - in that defining show: the gay, overweight, Asian, football-loving doctor bases were all well and truly covered. Is there anything left for this year?
Well, yes. This time around we have gambling, binge drinking and an inordinate pride in the amount of trivia this former mathematics champion has at his disposal. In fact, the first instance that made him feel like the titular King Of The World was a triumphant appearance on a highbrow Sky quiz show called Intellect, back in the day where highbrow and Sky weren’t mutually exclusive.
This is a less confessional show than before, despite a couple of personal admissions, but it still has a point or two to make. Much of it is railing against the simmering blokish atmosphere that still pervades the country, despite all the talk of a liberal, politically correct establishment agenda. He should know all about that unseemly side of culture, as a football fan and a circuit comic.
But it’s not a black-and-white argument. Sinha knows nobody’s perfect, least of all him, and the ambiguities make for a richer show.
Sinha’s skill is that he can rant, and still be hilariously funny; a difficult trick to pull off. The comedy is not gag-driven, nor spawned from the ferocity of his rage – he’s passionate and articulate rather than being an angry young man – but instead comes from the clever way he puts his arguments. He’s got a keen eye for seeing the humour in the everyday – and not in a tired ‘have you ever noticed…’ sort of way - plus a cunning ability of slipping these observations, often unexpectedly yet still entirely naturally, into his train of thought.
The unflagging show is robustly structured, too, with back-references galore to reward the audience for paying attention, although the lines themselves are usually reward enough. A bundle of verbal footnotes at the end of the show provides a wonderful example of these callbacks.
All sorts of references are thrown obliquely or directly into his tirades, making them all the more topical and relevant, and again keeping the audience alert. He has a talent for weaving dissolute observations, satirical comment and knowing references into his coherent argument, making for intelligent comedy that’s accessible and genuinely, from-the-heart funny, not preachy nor wilfully elitist. This is what a good stand-up should be.
Reviewed by:Steve Bennett