As promised in his recent interview for The Wee Review, Djalili uses this Glasgow International Comedy Festival show to reflect upon many of the 21st century problems that one faces in contemporary society. His set covers just about every geographical area of the world; from jokes about Donald Trump and the US presidency, to doing gigs abroad in Malta and Qatar, and even discussing the recent benefit changes outlined in last week’s budget. The highly current issue of ISIS and Syria features heavily in the night. Whilst discussing these often bleak facts, Omid is truthful, yet manages to find comedy in these dark areas without laughing at the expense of those who have suffered. A rather impressive feat.
When Djalili enters the stage, he is wearing a purple velvet jacket with a red bandana. He jokes that his wife, who is Scottish, has suggested that he looks like an understudy from a Greenock-based version of The Pirates of Penzance and from this moment onwards, his rapport with the Scottish audience is clear. Rarely has a comedy gig by an English comedian in Scotland featured such little heckling. The audience are listening intuitively to Djalili’s witty and bright observations. They are even prepared to re-enact the London club in which Djalili started by shouting “no” after every statement. The encore is somewhat controversial, with the comic himself stating that it has “split the room” and that “only in Glasgow” would his joke, about the inequality that those with disabilities face, get a laugh.
In his interview, Djalili said he would be answering the question, ‘What is stand-up?’ Expectations that he will address this question directly unfortunately come to no avail; there is no mention of comedy within the comedy, something of a disappointment.
However, the honest and frank commentary on our society is very clever. It is clear that Omid Djalili is not only appreciated by Glasgow audiences, but that he charms them. With witty observations from the opening line, and brave and bold statements through to the end, Omid Djalili is definitely a Glasgow favourite.