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Review: Omid Djalili, King's Theatre, Glasgow

Our verdict: three stars

After grappling with the pronunciation for some time, it transpires that the d in Djalili is silent. Want to know what's also silent at Omid Djalili's set at the King's Theatre, part of the Glasgow Comedy Festival? This writer.

The name of Djalili's tour - Iranalamadingdong - should have acted as a sign, if not a warning, of what the night would hold. For the most part, his performance is saturated by jokes that if he were not Iranian-British, would be racist, but because he is Iranian, can't be - at least, that is his logic.

But the glaring issue is that there really isn't much of a set to judge. After twenty minutes there is an interval of half an hour, then the second half - better in content, and more cohesive - is just forty-five minutes long including a bizarre encore where the comic performs a parody of the U2 song Ordinary Love. It is a parody though, right? Difficult to say, what with Djalili's awkward singing which isn't bad enough to be funny and instead feels like a man on a stage living out an unrealised childhood dream.

This the Omid Djalili show, let us make no mistake. He references - twice - the three Hollywood films he's acted in (you'll need to Google it if you're unsure - this guy needs no extra free PR). Similarly, there are parts where he veers off, albeit briefly, into self-indulgent monologues that appear to be more in-jokes than actual jokes. Clue: the audience isn't in on them.

There are well-perceived segments, with sharp observations about the inherent unwritten rules of every family and a nice line about using the retrospective James Bonds as a litmus test for age. More of the same would have been good, which would have been entirely possible if not for that yawning interval.

For the brevity of the set, Djalili jovially blames Jerry Sadowitz who is also playing at the venue later that night starting at 9pm. Unless Sadowitz is sitting behind the stage encouraging Djalili to take that monolithic break in the middle however, there's no one to blame but Djalili himself. 

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