Words: Calum Baxter
Some might say that Paul Chowdhry opened the door for South Asian acts with his first appearance on Live At the Apollo over a decade ago. I was keen to see how his show had developed over the years.
Audience members filter in, eye-balling the knitted doll perched on the chair on stage. You would be forgiven for thinking that this would form an intrinsic part of the set, but you’d be mistaken. After almost the full set, it is revealed to be a gift from an audience member, knitted with six pack abs and equipped with genitalia.
The irony of the title family-friendly comedian is not lost, for Paul made sure to use his predictable shtick; savagely mocking the audience with little finesse. While some squirmed in their seats, others howled.
He did not hold back his resentment of other notable South Asian acts either. Those who he perceives to have progressed further in their careers got laid into the most.
However, all of this was juxtaposed with a very sincere and heartfelt retelling of the personal and professional hardships he has faced as a result of the Covid pandemic. He pleas audience members who are struggling with mental health issues to seek out his latest comedy special. And to commit suicide if they don’t find it funny.
Some material is wasted on cheap punchlines and audience name calling, but Paul’s confidence and stage presence can’t be faltered. Prepare yourself for a lively and entertaining experience.
Paul Chowdhry: Family-Friendly Comedian
Pleasance Courtyard, Cabaret Bar