Gurpal Gill: India’s Strongest Man (1982)
Weak on jokes, strong on tedium
This article is from 2015.
You know that all is lost when a comic starts to wind up their act by asking audience members what Fringe shows they’d recommend. Any pretence that this might be even a semi-solid Edinburgh debut (‘highly anticipated’ according to the blurb) has long fled the room, roughly at the point where the character of ‘India’s strongest man’ has been ditched for Gurpal Gill: London’s Gagless Stand-Up.
Among the many crimes against comedy is laugh-free video footage of Gill in training (whatever you can imagine at this point is probably funnier than what’s shown); humiliating an audience member by leaving them on stage to fill the gaps while our turn departs for, well, who knows why; and while he does make one knowing reference that we’re supposed to be in 1982, Gill puts his foot firmly in it by playing ‘Into the Groove’ (a chart hit from 1985) without any comment whatsoever.
The ad libbing is lame while the accent he starts with slowly morphs into his own voice à la Omid Djalili from almost two decades ago. On the plus side (and this is a stretch), one decent moment predicted what Anne Frank might have posted on Twitter but even that goes on longer than it should have. India’s Strongest Man might well be the weakest 50 minutes on the Fringe.
Just the Tonic @ The Mash House, 226 0000, until 30 Aug (not 18), 1pm, free.