Must see: Omid Djalili live in Dubai
“An Englishman, Irishman and a Scotsman,” begins Omid Djalili, affecting a strong Iranian accent. “To you, it’s a joke. To us, it’s a hostage situation.”
It’s the kind of joke that peppers the British-Iranian’s stand-up act; knowing references to Western prejudice against Muslims and anyone who may look vaguely Middle Eastern, but also a healthy dose of self-deprecation about the irrationalities in his parents’ culture.
“I do not drink alcohol,” he announced to a British audience. “Now, what I’m hearing from you is, ‘How very sensible of you’. But what I’m sensing is, ‘We don’t trust you fat boy.”
Of course, booze aside, he is still very much a Brit. Although he swoops between deep-throated impersonations of old Persian men at weddings, Arabs at airports and any Americans in his audience, his normal voice is total South London – and he has built up an impressive CV in his native UK. With TV specials, headline tours, radio panel games, he is a multi-cultural and multi-dimensional presence on the country’s comedy circuit.
He is also a frequent visitor to Dubai, and he is back again on May 9 at Music Hall for a special one-off show. You will laugh. We promise you that.