Com­edy hasn’t got a prayer or a laugh

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Newseries -

AP­PAR­ENTLY the BBC re­ceived 700 phone calls com­plain­ing about the first episode of Cit­i­zen Khan when it went to air last year, and now I can see why. It’s ter­ri­ble. And worse than ter­ri­ble — it’s not funny.

If Seven gets any phone calls af­ter to­mor­row night, which I doubt, it’ll be be­cause Cit­i­zen Khan called it­self a com­edy and then didn’t make peo­ple laugh, not be­cause any con­ser­va­tive peo­ple of Is­lam were up­set about their re­li­gion be­ing held up to ridicule.

There’s barely any re­li­gion in it. The lo­cal mosque features heav­ily, but only as a wed­ding venue. I watched the first three episodes, all that Seven made avail­able, and, cul­tur­ally, the first two episodes were as ho­mogenised as McDon­ald’s. The third episode has a plot about Mr Khan in­ad­ver­tently ar­rang­ing a fam­ily pil­grim­age to Mecca, which will dou­ble as his daugh­ter’s hon­ey­moon.

There’s been one men­tion of the five-timesa-day pray­ing, but we’re yet to see any sign of it. What we are able to iden­tify is ha­tred of In­di­ans and racism against So­ma­lis.

Mr Khan is from Pak­istan, as he says re­peat­edly, but he’s lived in Birm­ing­ham for 30 years. He hates mi­grants as well.

So if this were a white show, I can in­deed see how there would be 700 com­plaints to the BBC. If it made it to air.

Does Mrs Brown’s Boys, an­other spec­tac­u­larly not funny show, which I can imag­ine is per­son­ally of­fen­sive to plenty of Ir­ish Catholics, and not to men­tion cruel to that old man in the chair, gen­er­ate sim­i­lar out­rage? No. It won a BAFTA. I’d like to see Mr Khan, a daily news­pa­per reader, dis­cuss Malala Yousafzai, the Pak­istani girl who was shot in the head by the Tal­iban.

Calls him­self a Birm­ing­ham big­wig, she was taken to a hospi­tal in Birm­ing­ham. If he really wants to get phone calls. But ob­vi­ously he doesn’t, or he wouldn’t have a joke about buy­ing toi­let pa­per in bulk.

The last time I saw mass gro­cery shop­ping was on Dooms­day Prep­pers, and ad­mit­tedly it was hi­lar­i­ous, and the time be­fore that it was Mod­ern Fam­ily, when Cameron and Mitchell dis­cov­ered Costco, or Mitchell dis­cov­ered Costco, and bought vast quan­ti­ties of pa­per prod­ucts and what not.

There’s also the uni­ver­sal theme about the spi­ralling ex­pense of a daugh­ter’s wed­ding, and the grum­bling fa­ther and the mother who has to pla­cate him.

Where have we seen this? On ev­ery wed­ding that’s ever taken place, the ones in­side your TV and out. Even the open­ing shot is a re­li­able laugh, or it would be if you’d never seen it be­fore — the plas­tic cov­ered lounge, just like Paulie Wal­nuts’ in The So­pra­nos. Oh, there’s mother-in-law jokes, Dave the mosque man­ager who’s a gin­ger . . . it’s all as fresh as re­li­gion it­self.

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