Shazia Mirza – Original Review | Review by Steve Bennett

Shazia Mirza – Original Review

Note: This review is from 2008

Review by Steve Bennett

Shazia Mirza has all the warmth of the Arctic shelf, treating almost all of humanity with a haughty disdain – and that includes the audience.

Of course, many successful comics have made their unpleasantness an intrinsic part of their act, but it’s usually coupled with a stinging tongue, or at least a knowing wink. But with Mirza it’s too often delivered with a ‘can’t be bothered’ attitude that rarely puts an audience at their ease. Instead she bluntly delivers her material.

Such lack of charm doesn’t do anything to soften the blow of her aggressively harsh jokes. If there’s any irony in her nastiness, it’s certainly not signposted.

The lack of subtlety extends to much of her gags, too. Which are often just bold, bald statements about Muslims in burkhas looking like letterboxes or fat people eating everything. That’s about the limit of it.

Most contempt is reserved for the Primark-shopping poor, with their adopted phoney black accents. Again, there’s not much depth to it, although she seems more natural with this sort of material that’s more sneery than outright bitter.

Occasionally, she will surprise with a sharper line - an aside about parents’ evenings at the inner-city comprehensive where she once taught stands out, simply because there was some twist to it – but such moments are so rare they deserve a conservation order.

With no instinctive funny bones, Mirza still enjoys her fame for being one of very few female Muslim comics that goes far beyond her talent.

Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Ealing Comedy Festival

Review date: 14 Jul 2008
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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