Review: Omid Djalili - Iranalamadingdong

Omid Djalili. Picture: contributed
Omid Djalili. Picture: contributed
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Should you find a colleague, friend or family member pretending to have – get this - cerebral palsy today, then blame Omid Djalili.

* * * *

PLAYHOUSE, GREENSIDE PLACE

The 49-year-old comedy-actor was wading through a mid-show lull about getting old and long-term relationships at The Playhouse last night when he suddenly found the audience’s funny-bone courtesy of an anecdote involving Team GB’s Paralympians.

Awkward? Yes. But you couldn’t help laugh even though you know you shouldn’t have. To Djalili’s credit, he’s right to include, rather than exclude, disability in his act.

Until then, the British-Iranian’s routine consisted largely of what you’d expect from him: light-hearted pops at religion, comedic contrasts in Middle-Eastern/Western culture, and, gags that lull you into a false sense of security before the inevitable sting-in-the-tail.

Djalili isn’t afraid to poke fun at himself either, though: case in point: a tale about Oliver Reed squeezing his nutshells on the set of Gladiator. The impromptu bursts into cheesy Arabian dancing every time an equally cheesy joke reared its head, meanwhile, got funnier with every appearance.

Iranalamadingdong contains many japes about Muslims and the Middle-East – although Djalili goes to great pains to point out he doesn’t want to be seen as a spokesman for the region. Which is a pity, for it’s refreshing to see a popular, clearly intelligent comedian of Iranian heritage lift the weight off what has become an almost taboo subject.

Speaking of taboos, it was surprising to note that the referendum was one subject Djalili genuinely shied away from.

Explaining a few empty seats in the room, “people die” was the response during the show’s later Q&A session. This section added a nice touch of spontaneity to the evening and most of the laughs, too.

“I’m just an Arabian mainstream crowd-pleaser,” Djalili pleaded.

Talk about nutshells.