Omid Djalili: Schmuck for a Night
- Brian Donaldson
- 27 February 2017
Edgy topical humour and silly antics strike the ideal balance in the UK-Iranian's new tour
While much of Omid Djalili's pre-tour attention was focussed on his controversial decision to limit the amount of dancing he now does on stage, it's clear that he's also cutting down on the cheese. Nothing to do with his dietary regime, you understand, but everything in connection with the occasionally hackneyed, jarring and telegraphed gag, routine or accent that would creep into his set.
Sure, there is still the odd slice of cringe in Schmuck for a Night: his intriguing proposal to defeat Daesh is diluted by a disappointing menstruation punchline while his analysis of Michael McIntyre's physical attributes is not only old news but has been cheerily remarked upon by the uber-observational comic himself. But to his eternal credit, Djalili is more than aware that sometimes he simply can't stop himself: each joke that he's concluded will be groanworthy is punctuated with some low-key (for him) choreographed revelry.
But for the overwhelming part, this is Djalili at his magnetic best, drawing in reams of topical subject matter and carving his own slant on the headlines. Given the fact that there's barely an adult alive who hasn't had their say in some form about the new leader of the 'free world', it's a brave stand-up who launches into 20 minutes of Trump material. Yet, Djalili pulls it off superbly, with not a single false step to be spied while his Brexit section also lands a direct hit as he lays several analogies on top of another about the tragic error of voting Leave.
While the general public have long had enough of politicians, financiers and media moguls with their less than trustworthy ways, Djalili delivers a warning that even the likes of truth-seeking stand-up comedians might not always get their facts or opinions straight. Admitting that he once inadvertently spread a fabrication about the nationality of Sweden's Hans Blix, it leads to one of the most uproarious routines of the night as he imagines the UN weapons inspector living a double life as a Weimar cabaret turn.
For an entertainer who has often tiptoed uneasily along the border which separates the mainstream and transgressive, Omid Djalili's schmuck schtick has finally achieved a perfect equilibrium.
Omid Djalili: Schmuck for a Night is on tour until Sat 20 May; seen at Perth Concert Hall.