Comedy hasn’t got a prayer or a laugh
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.