In his first stand-up special, Hasan Minhaj weaves humorous and heartbreaking anecdotes to tell his life story as an Indian-American Muslim. Topics include racism, bullying and meeting the demanding expectations of his immigrant parents.
After breaking all box office records at the Edinburgh Festival and then going on a forty date sell-out tour across the UK, this is Omids final show, recorded live at The London Palladium captured in all its glory.
Djalili can do better I'm sure, I just hope he gets the chance to do so
The opinion on this show seems to generally come round to being along the lines that those who have seen Djalili several times will be left with material they have seen and weaker material while those coming to him for the first time will greet the show with a lukewarm reception. This is not only the opinion voiced on this site but also from "proper" reviewers and I am not going to be the one to disagree with them! I came to the show looking forward to Djalili's brand of humour being harnessed and used in creative ways within this sketch show. By this I do not mean specifically his jokes about his Iranian background but more his observational style and the way he can turn around clichés on his audience as easily as he does just mock himself at times.
Sadly the show exposes a two-tier product and I'm not sure why. On one level we have the stand-up material, some of which I am already familiar with despite having only seen him here and there before. This material is often funny and is the stuff that got him where is now is. He second tier is lesser material including sketches that trade on the "I'm a fat Iranian" thing without much in the way of imagination or wit. This second tier is disappointing as too much of it is just obvious and failed to do anything for me other than wonder if anything better was on somewhere else.
I forget what critic/magazine it was where I read the observation that Djalili's show was not ready for a prime time slot on a main channel as his first attempt but they were right. I'm no fan of BBC3, but he really should have been started here as much to protect himself as anything else. Perhaps here he could have worked with a few short series to build up experience and find out his strengths and weaknesses within the sketch show format. One would have hoped that that would have been done in the production anyway but too much has made through to convince me that this worked. Djalili himself seems unconvinced about some of it and you can see the difference at times; with strong material he is great and his delivery lifts it, however in some of his weaker sketches the opposite is true.
I didn't decide to stop watching the show but after an episode or two I found myself forgetting it when I was setting up the video recorder for the week and then it was gone totally from my head. Had it been stronger this would not have happened but as it is I do think that too much of it was lacking to make it a fixture in my viewing schedule. Djalili's better material and strong delivery does help it but there is just too much material that doesn't cut the mustard even if it is still quite amusing. Djalili can do better I'm sure, I just hope he gets the chance to do so.
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