The Omid Djalili Show

The Omid Djalili Show

With 6 episodes of bonkers sketches and political, religious and social commentary-lead standup behind us, the time has come to pass judgment on the recent series of The Omid Djalili Show.

(Why is it that I appear to be the only person in the world – other than a BBC announcer who could well be Djalili himself – that can pronounce his name? It’s not a difficult name! It might be a little tricky but it’s nothing compared to various Welsh words.)

Anyway, Djalili’s brand of comedy if wholly unique, from the wonderful Look Eastwards TV trailers for shows such as Koranation Street and Uranium or no Uranium to the adventures of Henry VIII as he contends with each of his six wives.

Then there’s the Polish plumber who is a rocket scientist/brain surgeon/genetic engineer/Olympic athlete back in his home country and is “wasted here” – not to mention the range of one off sketches the Djalili uses to keep the show fresh and avoid falling into catchphrase-lead hell. The weekly musical numbers are a great example of this, although none have hit the heights of the Heavy Metal Bailiffs in the first episode.

As the regular sketches go however, there is one that stands out a mile – the shenanigans of the Darts Players Wives, a merciless mickey take of Footballer’s Wives starring Djalili as the Natalie Cassidy-lookalike Lambrusco as she works her way through a series of World Darts champions, complete with glass tankards of lager in every shot and plenty of romantic belching.

It’s great stuff, and it has been a superb series from Djalili. The comedy has been of a consistent level throughout, occasionally laugh out loud, occasionally poignant and a little moving. Djalili has the charm to keep the show going regardless of the material however; he’s a great personality.

Back with a bounce and a song, Omid Djalili returned this week with a new series of his unique blend of multi-cultural comedy, song and standup – but was worth the wait?

Djalili’s fame has been seemingly quick, yet he’s been around for years, appearing in films such as Gladiator, The Mummy and the third Pirates of the Caribbean flick in a series of movie appearances stretching back to 1999.

He’s so energetic and endearingly “middle eastern” on stage – despite being born in Chelsea in the 1960s – but how does this translate to TV?

It’s an unusual result, to be honest – a slightly thinned-out, watered-down version of the stage routine with some new material interspersed with some of the best sketches on TV at the moment, not to mention a song or two.

Key examples would be the Wild West Community Support Sherriff, dealing with a six-shooter wielding Mexican with a stern warning to move along, or presenting a cockney-themed 2012 Olympic Games complete with Eel Fencing in order to insure a Great Britain victory – but what about the “song”?

Similar in feeling to the old Mel Smith and Griff Rhys Jones shows, The Omid Djalili Show ends with a musical number. This week, it was Credit Crunch – The Rock Opera which handily explained the prevailing financial situation to any viewers that might not get it through the medium of song, complete with Djalili’s impersonation of rock legend Lemmy from rock group Motorhead acting as a bailiff and emptying a once affluent home.

Topical, whimsical and surreal, it’s good to have The Omid Djalili Show back – although sticking it on late on a Monday evening seems an unusual move from the BBC. It’s not a slot that traditionally lends itself to comedy.

Yes it’s Omid Djalili – and he’s back next Monday (April 20th) with a brand new series of his superb sketch series, The Omid Djalili Show!

So it’s time to sit back and enjoy some uniquely flavoured insanity as Djalili offers his thoughts on The London Olympics, not to mention a completely new take on Henry VIII, the credit crunch and darts players’ wives.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg however as Djalili’s unique blend of sketches, song and standup allows him to turn his attention to a wide range of targets. Look out for bouncer, broadcaster and Londoner Steve “The Dragon” Thompson, presenter of a video guide to the “real” London Olympics – with sports including “sitting on a man in a fight” and “eel-fencing” – genius!

Djalili will then begin to resemble Alexei Sayle as he dons facial hair playing the part of a heavy-metal bailiff in “Credit Crunch – The Rock Opera”, while his stand-up routine – which went down so well at Prince Charles’ birthday in November – takes us on a wild flight of fancy involving Somalian pirates, Gordon Brown doing the national lottery and Egyptian taxi-drivers.

The six-part series kicks off on BBC One on Monday, April 20th at 10.35pm, and is a welcome return for a comedian whose popularity continues to grow on both sides of the Atlantic having completed sell-out tours in both the UK and the US where he also starred in a comedy special on HBO. Omid has also had roles in several major Hollywood movies including Gladiator, The Mummy, Spy Game and Pirates Of The Caribbean – At World’s End.

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