Ahir Shah (3 stars)

This article is from 2011.

Ahir Shah

Stars in his eyes

Ahir Shah is 20, pretty, and used to write for Skins while his posters for Astrology have him doe-eyed and holding a sparkler. These may well be the chief reasons that he’s not quite reaching the audience his set needs. Not to worry, though, as he’s got an early ‘niche joke about Iranian politics’ designed to sort the wheat from the chaff. ‘Chaff!’, he says, firmly, withering a section of the front row with the sort of high-minded disdain that only a 20-year-old Oxbridge undergraduate can muster.

Abrasively intelligent, given to frenzied riffing on Max Weber’s prescience and unafraid to drop to his knees and pronounce in (mock?) despair, that ‘the very stars have been demystified’, Shah’s onstage presence is fascinating. A mixture of charm, arrogance and self-loathing, motivated by the sort of questing spirit that means his (frequently brilliant) punchlines are declaimed, almost a by-product of the enquiry process we’ve gone on to get there.

Some of his techniques are clearly studied, and his subject matter still tends towards the onanistic (although the actual masturbation gag is possibly the best-structured and funniest of the lot), but catch him now, because when he gets out of this naval-gazing phase he’s going stellar.

Udderbelly’s Pasture, 0844 545 8252, until 29 Aug, 5.25pm, £8.50–£9.50 (£7–£8).

Ahir Shah: Dragon Story

Ahir Shah: Astrology

  • 3 stars

Twenty years ago, Alka and Vikram Shah commissioned a Vedic astrologer to predict how their new baby son would turn out when he grew up. Ahir Shah’s janmaakshar outlined everything from how he should be named to how he would look, what he would do and how his character would develop over the course of his entire life. A…

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