Now mid-way through his third tour, Romesh Ranganathan brings us ‘Irrational’, where he explores his irrationality of his view of the word from the Apollo stage. What with his frequent TV coverage that we’re treated to (from appearing on various shows such as ‘Mock The Week’ to his recent programme ‘Asian Provocateur’), watching him do stand-up again is somewhat refreshing.
For those of you that have never seem Romesh perform before, he definitely fits nicely into the category of ‘grumpy comedian with a large dose of cynicism’, much like Jack Dee, Sean Penn, and Frankie Boyle – except that there’s a real sense of fondness underlying all of his brutally honest jokes (which is just as well, considering how much he lays into his parents, his wife, and even his three young children). He’s weary and self-deprecating the whole way through, but you just can’t help but find it all hilarious.
A lot of his content looks at what one might call ‘first world problems’ – topics such as the uselessness of Wagamama’s general service, and how annoying Android smartphone users are – but he also focuses on a lot of serious issues as well. ISIS don’t tend to come up often in a humorous sense, but Ranganathan tackles them head-on, completely belittling them in the process. He also talks a lot about racism and homophobia, and beneath the humour makes some really interesting points about the society we live in. Some comedians might be nervous to talk about these things the way he does, but he goes about it in exactly the right way.
What I found most impressive about Ranganathan’s routine is that it felt so fresh and original – despite it being a rehearsed performance it often felt like he was coming up with it on the spot. He kept joking about how much he was digressing throughout the performance but I liked that, as it gave the performance a lot of flow. Overall it was very fluid, and he involved the audience from the start which enabled him to show us his quick-fire wit as well.
I think we need more Ranganathan’s in the world of comedy – comedians who are willing to talk about anything, and be themselves the whole way through. There’s nothing worse than watching a comedy performance where the comedian is clearly making situations up in order to get laughs, but it didn’t feel like that at all with ‘Irrational’. I was worried that he wouldn’t be so funny without certain other comedians by his side (I find Ranganathan particularly funny when he’s on ‘Mock The Week’ with Rob Beckett), but he really shone.
Although not every line was completely laugh-out-loud it was highly relatable, and I think that’s what really made the performance. If you’re into dark, dry humour that’s off the cuff and you’re not particularly offended by anything, then Ranganathan’s latest tour material is well worth watching. 4/5
Irrational at CeX
Get your daily CeX at