REVIEW: Comic Ahir Shah is an intellectual ping pong ball at the Cambridge Junction
PUBLISHED: 18:56 27 January 2018 | UPDATED: 18:56 27 January 2018
With an accent that is pure British Raj powering out of this “brown kid from a London state school” Ahir Shah is a prime candidate to push every boundary in turning up the heat on racists, fascist politics and then himself.
This supremely sharp comic, with a Cambridge University politics degree, combines heavy alongside hilarious, skipping from one to the next with ease like an intellectual ping pong ball.
If the word bathos had an emoji it would look like Shah.
Passionate, fearless, brutally honest. The show had me crying laughing then moved to tears with a plea to the audience to never fall prey to “accidentally” becoming a bigot.
All set among tales of him growing up in prejudiced Britain and beautifully intertwined with allegoric story telling with darker messages lurking beneath the laughs.
In a biography on the Cambridge University website Shah says he began his political degree: “in the aftermath of the financial crisis and reentering the world on a wave of Gangnam Style.”
He admits it is hard to tell which had the greater impact on his personal and professional development.
I would say both in equal measure.
Global social turmoil nestles alongside text typos and bad sex in this clever hour and a half show, with the audience held in the palm of his hands.
Such a mix takes great skill and talent.
Traits which Shah is blessed with, as well as, I suspect, the drive and graft to spend hours of time and effort perfecting his script.
At the end of the night, having directed most of his funnies towards me in the front row, Shah asks what I do for a living.
I confessed to being a journalist, there to review his show.
So who is your journalistic hero? Shah asks. My reply, Harry Evans of the Sunday Times, for exposing the thalidomide scandal in the 1960s and 70s. To my joy, Shah ends the night with a reflective moment for the audience based on my answer.
In life, he says, the most important thing is to be the best person we can be. Do the best we can. Be a Harry Evans.
• Ahir Shah’s Control tour continues until the end of February. For details of other venues visit his website