Paul Sinha: Pauly Bengali | Edinburgh Fringe comedy review
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Paul Sinha: Pauly Bengali

Edinburgh Fringe comedy review

As his Parkinson’s takes a tighter hold, Paul Sinha thinks 2023 might be his last full-on run at his beloved Edinburgh Fringe. That news gives the hour a tinge of poignancy – which he’s at pains not to exploit – but also makes the comedian more emboldened, caring less about the consequences of what he says.

After all, would a comic concerned about how he comes across give his show the dubious title Pauly Bengali? Still, the rhyme and the Pauly/poorly pun provides the bones for the first amusing song. The move into musical comedy in recent years is another act of defiance both of his neurological condition and because it brings him happiness, whatever anyone else thinks.

As part of his new policy of giving less of a fuck about repercussions from his material, he uses this show to air a lot of justified grievances he’s built up over the years, naming both a comedy elder statesman for cruelly belittling him and calling out another comedian for stealing one of his jokes. That he’s not a specially famous comic doesn’t matter: there’s a longstanding beef to be settled here, and if not now, when?

Greater opprobrium, however, is reserved for those of his former comedy comrades who have signed up to GB News, cynically spotting greater rewards in pandering to bigotry. Pauly’s Enemy No1 is Mark Dolan, and he offers a particularly tart takedown of a stand-up he once respected.

When he encountered some of the station’s staff at a TV awards bash last year, the copious Dutch courage from the free wine spurred him to take direct action. Did it have any effect? You only have to look at the channel today to find out, but you’d probably best not to.

Sinha has some GB (Gay Bengali) News of his own over the last year, having joined Celebrity Gogglebox with his husband Oliver, and acquired some new health conditions, including type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol. 

While this a show based on anecdotes, Sinha also displays some excellent joke-writing skills, with some splendid one-liners on display. Mix in the musical finale, the gossip, the politics and, of course, the trivia and  you have a show that covers a lot of bases. If this is to be his swansong, he’s departing with one hand waving cheerfully, the other flicking the Vs at those he thinks deserve it.

Review date: 10 Aug 2023
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: The Stand's New Town Theatre

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