Political Humour by Danny Bhoy
As a birthday treat my other half booked us tickets to see stand-up comedian Danny Bhoy’s new show ‘Make something great again for a stronger better future tomorrow together’. She knew I’d been keen to see him live for ages. I’d come across him on YouTube several years ago and enjoyed his self-deprecating Scottish humour melded as it is with an honest, laid-back style.
Edinburgh’s Danny Bhoy – real name Danni Chaudhry – was home for two gigs at the Kings Theatre amid a whirlwind UK tour. ‘This is my first political show’ the 20-year standup veteran confessed early on.
Wondering why he has never ventured into political terrain before we soon find out he is something of a novice in this field as he treats us to some rather predictable, chewing gum views on Donald Trump – whom he impersonates all evening, Theresa May – described as a ‘Dead Owl’, Hilary Clinton [‘If ever there was a candidate perfectly suited and ready for the job it was her’ he claims], Kim Jung Un and climate change. ‘There is no bigger issue on the planet than the planet itself’ he declares greenly dedicating the first half of his two-hour show to the claim. ‘Guys’ he affirms ‘the science is in, end of.’ He has an engaging personality that certainly relaxes the audience and exudes confidence, but the material is weak to my mind.
The second half promised his take on contemporary Scottish politics, perhaps more familiar terrain would see him stand up and be counted more I thought. But aside from an aside that he voted Yes [for Independence] all we got was an insistence that another General Election was imminent because the ‘dead owl’ was a lame duck! On that other Referendum, Danny the ardent ‘Remainer’ found his audience by its own admission thoroughly bored by all the talk of ‘Brexit’. It was hard not to conclude that Danny is rather out of his depth in politics.
He is an impressive, relaxed stand-up who tours the world. And this show again has all the gimmicks we now expect as standard fare from professional comics including references to earlier gigs, some audience participation, rehearsed ad- libs, pretend ‘corpsing’ and back referencing gags to earlier parts of the set. But much as I enjoyed all these I felt his ‘political’ material was just too weak and much too indistinct to either engage us or endear him to us. It was all too ‘middle of the road’, too much monosodium glutamate.
He seemed to hope his audiences would share his middle-class obsessions with Brexit, Trump, climate change and Hilary Clinton, but they appeared to enjoy his rather more surreal ‘ISIS Night out’ routine with its terrible terrorist puns far more. That might say much about the state of humour and indeed politics in Scotland today, who knows. But it certainly does show that political humour is a far harder target to nail. Perhaps that is why so few of today’s stand-up comedians take it on?
Review by Anthony Thomas