Ahir Shah: Dots

How do you go through life when you’re just going to be reincarnated again anyway? Ahir Shah is back with a show that touches on love, religion, wokeness, nicotine, pretty much everything you want to get from your prominent ethnic comedians. Opening up about the increasingly irritating wave of woke people, Shah sees a large part of it for what it is – another excuse for white people to have something to feel good about. From his many run-ins with social commentators dictating what’s right and wrong for minorities to say to each other, Shah’s become so tired of the new echo chamber tiptoeing around its speaking points, that he can barely deduce anyone’s real agenda anymore. As a British-Indian Cambridge graduate he’s seen the polar opposites of British society’s wants and mores and while parts of it are admittedly nice, they need to get more brown people in the upper echelons before everyone changes their minds about the term POC again.

At 28, Shah is still young but getting to the age where a lot of the opportunities for him to do anything that’s going to shake up the world in punk-rock fashion are starting to pass him by. There’s a lot on his mind, dwelling on pre-occupations of the vastness and pointlessness of human life in his darker hours. Smoking used to help this, but now he’s switched to vaping he can’t push these chaotic trainwreck thoughts back any further. Talking on his personal struggles with depression, his flippant approach to that kind of material is a welcome change of pace – he’s not into self-improvement because self-hatred is funnier.

In a poignant reflection of his own origin, he spends time with his father and a humbler approach to life, trying not to dwell on the looming inevitable task of having to set members of his family on fire someday. An atheist sometimes will have trouble maintaining the long standing traditions of a family, but Shah is capable of exploring his spiritual side. There is influence from Hinduism on his philosophical approach to comedy, with it feeling moving but never dropping a beat to pick up more laughs. He’s a performer with the ability to present material that feels very British with all his idiosyncrasies and deliver on it with a universal confidence. Shah comes off as a dreamer who’s always looking too far ahead in relationships, looking for significance the little things, the chance encounters to try and make them funny. He’s perhaps looking a bit too much like a Neo-Bill Hicks inhaling his USB vape pen when spouting philosophical and socio-political viewpoints, but that’s also where his biggest strengths lie. Shah is an energetic, introspective stand-up who can mine laughs from almost anywhere – with Dots he’s looking further into the sometimes unsettling void of learning something about himself.

★★★★

Peter Carson

Ahir Shah: Dots Monkey Barrel 3 13:45

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