Omid Djalili Conquers The Hammersmith Apollo, With The Help Of Bongo Drums And Godzilla

Omid Djalili

The Huffington Post UK   First Posted: 28/02/2012 15:34 Updated: 28/02/2012 15:39

Omid Djalili is not one to shy away from sensitive subjects. Performing at the Hammersmith Apollo on Friday night he grabbed the Arab Spring by the horns and made the dramatic proceedings of 2011-12 the main substance of his act.

Many may find it difficult to place Djalili, known to some as "the funny bald Iranian man", but in fact he has been in our subconscious for some time; appearing in The Mummy, Sex and the City 2, and more recently, as Fagin in the West End's Oliver.

He is certainly no one-trick pony, either. Bongo drums, vocals and his infamous dancing skills all made an appearance on Friday night, much to the delight of the audience.

Djalili makes the most of his dual Iranian-British nationality. He entertained with cultural anecdotes about his traditional Iranian father and intermittently burst into what one can only assume was the Iranian national anthem, peppered with well-known Disney songs.

But it wasn't all fun and laughter; he made some well-thought out observations. Ed Miliband, for example, bears an uncanny resemblance to a Wallace and Gromit character, while the Duchess of Cornwall has a striking likeness to the four-legged animals the royal family are so fond of - horses.

The comedian exudes confidence, without the usually inevitable air of arrogance so many others possess. Although many of his stories were evidently pre-prepared, as one would expect, Djalili was not afraid to stray from his script and indulge a spot of good old-fashioned improvisation and religiously picked on any tardy individuals or audience member brave enough to leave their seats.

Despite playing on his foreign roots, he does not discriminate and most ethnicities get a turn at the end of his razor-sharp wit; from Poles to Jews, Geordies to Welsh, all have their share of the limelight.

Even though Djalili's performance has obviously taken some thought, he is not afraid to take risks and stray into the realms of randomness.

Cue a completely unrelated Godzilla impression, which had many of the audience in tears and an out-of-the-blue anecdote about eggs, delivered with his usual aplomb.

But it wouldn't be Djalili without a grand finale. And boy, did he deliver. Backing dancers, props and confetti which wouldn't have been out of place on a West End stage. Recreating the clear-up of the London Riots, he capitalised on one of his best jokes of night:

"The Middle East classes riot and have the Arab Spring. The British riot and the middle-class have a spring clean."

If it that doesn't win you over, his infectious and impromptu bouts of laughter will.

"Yes," he admits "I find myself funny."

And luckily for him, so does everyone else.

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