Oxford Glee Club 02.06.11
And not even all of these were welcome – especially the group of talkative girls in the third row, whose wine-fuelled heckling grew more antagonistic as the Rosé flowed. The girls were irritating, especially in such a small crowd, and Chowdhry made things worse by trying to engage his tipsy hecklers in conversation and then, when that didn’t work, reverting to sexist name-calling. It also didn’t help that he kept drawing attention to how small the audience was.
Chowdhry’s disappointing jokes did nothing to ease the already difficult atmosphere. On the whole, his material was obvious and underdeveloped. Much of the show focused on Asian culture and stereotypes, and his observations about Indian weddings and diet were unoriginal and trite. Chowdhry got the biggest laughs for adopting a comedy Indian accent, which was disappointing on many counts, not least because it is easy comedy. Chowdhry’s talent for impersonating accents may have won him some much-needed chuckles, but he also exposed his failure to adapt his material when he used a cockney accent to do an impression of a typical Oxford gent.
As promised, Paul Chowdhry’s show was not PC. Unfortunately, it wasn’t very funny either. In fact, the hostile Rosé-drinking hecklers probably did Chowdhry a favour – some of the audience might have sympathised with the comedian and felt more inclined to laugh at what was a markedly second-rate comedy set.