Sunday, 19 December 2021

Stage: Happy vibes when we need them most

Omid Djalili: The Good Times Tour
UK tour 2.Jul.21-26.Nov.22

With rumblings that Britain is heading back into lockdown, it felt almost rebellious to attend a live stand-up concert with an audience of some 2,000 people, even if we were all jabbed, masked and tested. Actor-comic Omid Djalili is six months into this major tour, back home in West London with some tailor-made jokes at the ready. His relaxed stage style instantly puts the audience at ease, poking fun at the things on our minds at the moment. The pandemic is a major topic of conversation, as are the scandals and corruption that are rife within Boris Johnson's government. But Djalili isn't a particularly edgy comic: he's more like a naughty schoolboy, saying things he knows will get him in trouble, then doing a little dance for joy before moving to something even more transgressive.

This approach simply puts a big stupid grin on the faces of everyone in the audience, laughing at gags that perhaps aren't that funny but touch just the right nerve. And the way he interacts with the crowd makes it seem like he isn't working at all - he's simply spending some time trying to make us giggle, willing to tell an appalling dad joke, to do some goofy physical slapstick or put on a wide range of accents, knowing that this might be borderline offensive. Then he hits us with a timely, pointed zinger that reminds us how carefully put together the show actually is. In other words, he's a consummate entertainer, hilariously reminding us of his roles in big movies over the years while demonstrating hints of vulnerability. He may be a middle-aged man now, but he's also just a kid who wants us to like him. And the best way for him to know that we do is to make us laugh. And laugh. And it works beautifully.

Hammersmith Eventim Apollo • 18.Dec.21

For tickets and information, visit: OMID'S WEBSITE

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