If you type [Iranian Comedian] into a search engine the chances are high that Omid Djalili will pop up top of the list. When Omid asked the audience where they were from a shout from the balcony in the Music Hall in the Assembly Rooms replied, “Lebanon, we came all this way just to see you!”
I could believe it too. Omid’s certainly well known internationally. His response to the Lebanon visitors? “Could you stand up please… wow, look at that! Someone from Lebanon with a full set of limbs!”
The fact of the matter is that Omid Djalili gets to make the sort of ethic inspired jokes that would seem to be terribly inappropriate coming out of the mouth of a white, middle-England, comedian. Whether it is by accident or by design, Djalili’s routine reminds us that he’s earned this right and uses well. The comedian works with some football clubs in anti-racism efforts.
Having established that Omid happily stomps around the ethic and national joke territory let us throw in the fact that he frequently refers to himself as a “bald, fat, fcuk”. Put those two together and you get a good idea of what his style is.
It’s very funny.
Should I be laughing at this? I wondered; laughing as Djalili pokes fun at Egyptian naming conventions during a football match. I’d already laughed at a car bombing joke at that point so it would be entirely too late to get all self-conscience about things.
The Assembly Rooms is a good venue for him. It’s comfortable, not too warm (some said it was too cold when we visited) and decadent. I suspect it wouldn’t have been so funny watching Djalili pretend-dance around to bursts of Iranian music in some converted café than it was on the premier stage of the Music Hall.
In a way I suppose it is juxtaposition that makes Omid so funny and the routine such a success. This is a familiar routine and yet entirely different to anything else you’ll (likely) have seen before.