Amir Khoshsokhan: Shhhhhh

★★★
comedy review | Read in About 2 minutes
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Amir
Published 16 Aug 2016

In an opening gambit that's somewhat unlikely to catch on in the mainstream, Khoshsokhan begins his set with a rendition of 'Vesti la giubba' from Ruggero Leoncavallo's opera Pagliacci. He doesn't perform this rendition, it should be noted. He simply stands, listens, and gazes intently as it blares in the background. "The show must go on", he muses.

The aptly titled Shhhhhh is an enjoyable vehicle for his subversive brand of whispered, muted comedy. It's an hour of lo-fi squeaky reveries, alienating a few along the way but doubtless winning over far more. He deals in artful silence, favouring the Stewart Lee-inspired protracted punchlines and lingering words. The material itself isn't particularly absurdist (were it performed at twice the speed and half the pitch it would be fairly regular standup, and 40 minutes shorter), but the stilted delivery is what takes it into the realm of "anti-comedy".

He does struggle to find rhythm or atmosphere, occasionally losing the room in the process when he becomes too static. In a quivering voice he tells us "we shouldn't trust confidence so easily", but generally he uses his own timidity to great effect. It's clearly a persona too, with the veil being lifted when he does an impression of his mother doing an impression of Tupac Shakur.

It's lacklustre in style but not in end product, and his appeal is broader than the surrealist packaging would suggest. He's a rising star who'll find his audience in good time.