Paul Chowdhry DVD Review
Having never heard of Paul Chowdhry before I was pleasantly surprised by this Live performance in front of a packed Hammersmith Apollo. For him to fill this theatre obviously, a lot of other people have heard of him and for good reason.
He started his show in a very unique was for a comedian, coming on stage with 4 or 5 drummers who banged their drums along to music while he broke into a breakdance. The moves were fairly simple to start with but they were soon genuinly impressive and it was good to see the audience being as taken aback as I was.
He also gained favour with me by doing the obvious joke afterwards of ‘God, I’m knackered after that.’ It always gets a laugh and sets a nice tone of honesty with the audience for the rest of the show.
He announces that “History is in the Making as this is the first DVD of an British Indian ever to be made with 2000 others who want to be in it”. This line quickly establishes who he and his audience are and allowed him to go straight into some Indian culture banter with some of the younger members of the audience. He asks one parent why they brought their 13 year old as “this show isn’t Goodness Gracious Me. I don’t do none of that shit comedy”.
I enjoy it when someone who knows they are good can take the piss out of something else, knowing they have the goods to back up what they are saying, and for the rest of the show that is precisly what Paul Chowdhry does.
He does it not by placating to the masses with jokes with no substance, but by relating to the people in a very down to earth way but with a playful cheekyness which allows him to make potentially quite sensitive jokes and yet not only get away with them but illicit the biggest laughs of the night the further over the so called ‘line’ he ventured.
For instance, he spends quite a large proportion of the gig engaging the topic of racism and he got a round of applause from a joke when he said “I have never seen a black ghost. Why is that? Black people die too you know? I thought I saw a Black Ghost the other day, turned out it was just a women in a Burka”
He does another cracking joke about R Kelly being from Manchester. I’ll leave you to figure that one out but let’s just say that the Mancunian accent he puts on, makes the joke.
Michael Jackson is saying “Dad, I don’t want to rehearse; I just want to play with the kids.” His fathers answer “Fuck the kids” obviously stayed with him, is another peach.
He gets a round of applause from I think mostly the men when he says “There is a TV show called Loose Women about women’s opinions. If I wanted a women’s opinion I would go into the kitchen and ask her”.
This is obviously blatantly sexist but done in his playful manner, the audience take it as the joke it was meant to be. It is like Frankie Boyle without the grimace factor.
He shows he is adept at ad lib when he asks a women he referred to earlier as ‘Tracy’ what her name was. Turned out it was Tracy and that she was the mother of the young Indian lad he was talking to at the start of the gig. She had married into an Indian family. “What the fuck happened to this country?” was his response.
His has a very relaxed style physically but his voice is very dynamic and entertaining to listen to the various intonations of the particular accents he adopts during the show. He also brings up other subjects like 911 and although he doesn’t go into them too deeply he creates a nice tension when talking about them that illicit big laughs when the jokes are revealed.
On his website he quotes some of the greats of comedy like Richard Pryor, George Carlin and Sam Kinison as being inspirations and although I don’t hold him in quite that high regard, I think he certainly deserves recognition as being a great stand up with regard to the fact that he confronts issues of the day and finds real nuggets of humour in the madness.
The show was consistently good from start to finish and I would recommend checking it out or even going along to see him if you get the chance. He was right, he doesn’t do shit comedy.