5 August 2005

Omid Djalili - No Agenda

Straight off I have to say I was disappointed with this show. I've seen Omid doing good honest stand up in the late 90s and he was pretty good. Tonight's show let me down from the beginning The venue was the Pleasance Sports Hall seating over 200 people which started alarm bells ringing. I'd heard his first 15 minutes before on the various stand up shows on Paramount which means it wasn't new material. Likewise an end segment regarding middle class mothers. Omid was born and brought up in London to an Iranian family and a large segment of his act was about the Middle East but with very few jokes in it. He peppered this with several different accents (which he's very good at) and a few showbiz stories. I think what really disappointed me was that he performed for an hour as a showbiz entertainer, not a stand up comic. He jokes were very simple, not political (see Robert Newman) or intelligent (see Danniel Kitson or Demetri Martin), and the punchlines were not really a surprise. Several gags were just callbacks to silly noises or aggressive shouts of swearing. I don't believe he has done much comedy since his big tour of 2002 (Behind Enemy Lines), instead he's been acting in films and on TV in the US. Very similar to when Eddie Izzard did his Circle tour, he spent three years acting and then when he jumped back into stand up he was very rusty. I chose Omid over Stewar Lee to see tonight (same time) and I regret it (I'll have to try doubley hard to see Stewart Lee for a sensible price). That said the £7 was almost justified by one 5 minute story regarding slapping heads in a cinema - the only time I laughed (rather than smiled) during the show and it was a big, hysterical belly laugh. Great payoff of to the story.