Khaled Khalafalla: Fresh | Melbourne International Comedy Festival review by Steve Bennett

Khaled Khalafalla: Fresh

Note: This review is from 2014

Melbourne International Comedy Festival review by Steve Bennett

‘I hope to inspire more people to listen to each other,’ Khaled Khalafalla pretentiously proclaims amid this mess of petulant preaching and crude racial gags.

The irony that he advocates listening to others after a sanctimonious 15-minute sermon so full of pseudo-intellectual posturing that there’s no room for jokes is presumably lost on him. Verbosity and a penchant for long words further tarnish any social comments he might reasonably want to make. That and the fact he has the tone of a know-it-all teenager pontificating to the grown-ups.

‘This is not like any show you’ve seen,’ he arrogantly boasts as the start. True, but that’s not necessarily a good thing. And it’s rich for him to claim originality when, a couple of minutes later, he greets some latecomers with the ancient classic: ‘Can I get you anything? Like a watch?’ Then he goes on to joke about budget airlines and point out the hyperbole of commuters complaining their journeys were ‘like something from the Third World’ in the most obvious way.

There’s a weird racial element to the show, too. His own Egyptian ethnicity, he argues, gives him some latitude. Hence the bit bashing the Lebanese. He uses ‘I hate black people’ as a punchline more than once – we’re assuming the joke being that he doesn’t mean it, but there’s no context beyond apparent shock value. It’s all part of the abrasive shtick that has him asking who would suck a dick for $1million and ‘hilariously’ inferring that a man in the front might be gay.

When he mentions that he’s been diagnosed with mania, it comes as no surprise, given the lack of clarity of thought. Yet you can’t help feeling sorry for him when he reveals he’s $100,000 in debt chasing his childhood dream of being a star, when he’s far off the mark of being a good comic.

When it come to star potential, he has charisma, good looks, and energy, you have to give him that. A bunch of girls in the front row are giggling without him needing to say anything funny at all.

If comedy worked like music – and it doesn't – he could be a boy-band pinup, with other people providing the words. That said, when he raps – and he does – it’s more enthusiastic than good, in perfect keeping with his jumbled stand-up.

Review date: 13 Apr 2014
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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