Did we like it?
We wanted to. Omid is hugely talented and very likeable and this collection of sketches, songs and stand-up occasionally made us laugh. Too often, however, it failed to hit the mark.
What was good about it?
• Omid’s dancing on stage, basically fragrant and flagrant showing off, was endearingly amusing.
• The stand-up sections were hit and miss, often there wasn’t enough time to build up the story and there were some alarming jump cuts, but sometimes there were laughs to be found: Omid imagining himself as a former management consultant, for example, or his assertion that in the UK an Englishman, Irishman and Scotsman is a joke but in Iran it’s a hostage situation.
• Indeed, some of the best comedy came from Omid’s observations of the differences between British and Iranians – which is certainly a fresh area for comedy. “Iranians don’t leave the house,” he told us. “Well, unless there’s chicken… or uranium.”
• He also made some good points, claiming the British media continually giving a voice to Abu Hamza was a bit like Al Jazeera claiming the Ku Klux Klan accurately represent western Christian society.
• We quite liked the gay Scottish director going to film Osama bin Laden’s latest video, which was just bizarre. Best line: Translator: “He (Osama) liked it when you sang.” Omid (To Osama): “I like it when you stare.”
What was bad about it?
• It started disappointingly with a parody of the notoriously nauseating M&S adverts. Admittedly these loathsome creations are ripe for a good kicking, but this has already been done to death elsewhere and wasn’t exactly an innovative start to the series.
• The ‘Inside the Ethnic Bit Part Actor’s Studio’ was a very good idea, although most of the British public will have no idea about the Inside The Actor’s Studio show in America and it ultimately outstayed its welcome.
• Steve ‘The Dragon’ Thompson, a wide boy character doing a cheap video about survival just felt too familiar and was devoid of any real invention, relying totally on Omid’s energy to carry it (there’s a very similar short sketch that’s been running on Paramount Comedy for some time).
• The closing sequence, a shortened musical based in a kebab shop, summed up this first episode. Occasional moments of nicely observed humour and skilled writing juxtaposed with a desperation for a quick laugh, such as Omid nutting a customer (headbutting featured frustratingly heavily in this episode).