Wednesday April 29 – Saturday May 2 (7.00pm)
Sanjay Parbhu’s one hour show as part of the Comedy Festival (his first time headlining, hosting his own full show) begins, awkwardly, with curtain-raising friend, Jules. Her five minutes feels like an hour – and her lack of preparation saw her pack only nerves and misplaced anger, not a single joke. Or at least not one with a punchline that sticks. Never mind sticking – a punchline existing would have been nice. Would have been a start. Would have been something. Instead we had Jules. And whatever it was she said.
It’s a sign of things to come. Unfortunately.
Parbhu has a crowd of friends and family cheering him on. Oddly, some of those friends appear to be the worst kind of phones-on hecklers. The funniest part of the show might be when he is dealing with the annoyance of a phone ringing in the audience more than once.
There’s something endearing about Parbhu – in that he has an Urkel-like presence, and I’ve linked to Steve Urkel in case the reference is lost (Parbhu’s audience banter had him interpreting one man’s dream of wanting to be “a Chippie” as “the person who makes the chips?” – he laughed off the misunderstanding as being a generation-gap situation). He’s nearly bright-eyed. And far too bushy-tailed.
Most seemed to want this guy to win, egging him on. The Rudy-styled underdog, under-developed, under-talented, over-eager.
Sanjay Parbhu should not, at this point in his life, be doing comedy. Chiefly because he does not possess the requisite skill/s: he is not funny. He has self-effacement, something he relies on far too often. That’s currently about all he has.
Though, there is a rage there. Bubbling under the surface. A somewhat glorious nerd-rage, a mostly self-aware giant-geek rage. So he’s, at times, breathless, dogmatic, almost on the spectrum in fact. If he can develop that – he might have something. At the moment it’s still just another angle on awkwardness.
So, a message to you, “Rudy” – this was too much like watching a C-team player elevated to the A-team for one game, and so hopelessly out of his league.
The woman sitting next to me turned when the show finished and said, “be gentle”.