Ahir Shah: Control

★★★★
comedy review | Read in About 2 minutes
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Ahir Shah
Published 08 Aug 2017

With the urgency of someone who's had their world view shattered and is desperately casting about for answers, Ahir Shah comes out hard and fast with a great opening line about his name, and a winning alignment of his relationship status to that of the UK's with the EU. The fact that neither routine is wholly based on hard fact is no impediment to this sharp, impassioned and skilled gag writer, who appreciates that the value of an effective simile lies not in its accuracy but its power to lodge in the memory and to move, even if that's out of a trading bloc with our nearest neighbours.

While still reeling from Brexit and the accompanying tolerance of racism he perceives marshalling in its wake, Shah explores the cases of intelligent, decent people he knows who voted Leave. And, as a heart-on-sleeve left-winger, takes a swipe at the inexplicable anti-Semitism in Jeremy Corbyn's Labour party.

But these are momentary diversions from the main business in hand, which is his relentless pillorying of the Right's yearning for a return to some nostalgic fantasy age, exemplified by trade secretary Liam Fox's insistence that the UK is one of the few countries in the EU with nothing to be ashamed of, conveniently whitewashing the ravages of Empire. History would seem to support Shah's insistence on learning from our mistakes lest we be doomed to repeat them. And he makes his case comprehensively and consistently hilariously, even if his impact beyond the politically like-minded is open to question.