Omid Djalili: Live In London DVD review

Omid Djalili's latest stand-up DVD doesn't capture the man at his very best...

“Ladies and gentlemen everything up until now has been shit…”

Omid Djalili repeats this phrase a number of times throughout this set which, apparently, according to the blurb on the DVD, “captures Omid at his very best…at the celebrated home of British comedy – the Hammersmith Apollo”. The statement’s half-true. It was recorded at the Hammersmith Apollo. Djalili’s statement is right on the money.

Sadly, this is far from the best I’ve seen of Omid Djalili. I saw Djalili tour a few years ago and he wasn’t amazing, but certainly entertaining enough to warrant the price of the ticket. This was before he became the household name he is today and there was an element of surprise when he slips from the thick Iranian accent he talks in at the beginning of sets to his regular speaking voice. The fact that he’s still doing this after all these years is baffling. I can’t imagine anyone in the audience at the Hammersmith Apollo (or any other venue he plays nowadays, for that matter) will be shocked by the change in accent.

This isn’t the only one of Djalili’s old tricks that are used throughout the set, which acts as a kind of ‘greatest hits’ of his previous material. I use the phrase ‘greatest hits’ lightly, as the actual moments of comedy are few and far between, which isn’t great considering the length of the set.

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Audience participation is extremely thin on the ground. Djalili instead takes the opportunity to inform everyone that he’s a spokesperson for the Middle East and of the time he met Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles, which gives him the excuse to do his Godzilla routine. When an audience member is shouting at Djalili, during the encore, this provides the set with one of its funniest moments.

Towards the end of the set he says to the crowd, something along the lines of: “I know you’ve all come to see me dance.” Have they really? Or have they come to see a comedy show with some jokes? Preferably some new ones and not too much old material. That would be smashing. But from the reaction of some of the crowd it would appear that some of them have, indeed, come to see him dance and it’s just me that expects new material and moments of comedy in a 90 minute stand up set.

This has all been a bit negative so far, which is a fair reflection of the set. However, I feel I should comment on Djalili’s ability as a performer. He’s, undoubtedly, a very confident and accomplished performer with immense amounts of enthusiasm and energy. It’s a shame that it isn’t put to use on better material that would effectively showcase his talents.

There are no special features on the disc and the feature itself doesn’t strike me as being the kind of set that will reward repeat viewing. I can’t imagine wanting to watch this again. When I’m in the mood to watch a stand up DVD, I’d probably opt for one that’s funnier instead.


2 stars

Omid Djalili: Live In London is out now.

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2 out of 5