Saturday, 20 November 2010

My worst gig ever :-)

I've just got back from my worst gig ever, it was going well for about 15 mins, then suddenly one table took massive offence to some material and the gig descended into chaos as I tried to finish the show between a small contingent who wanted to cause me physical harm and the others who enjoyed my set for the most part.

I started off well with some new material that I am doing in the clubs as I like to make sure that the audience see me doing stuff that they've not seen on TV or the internet. If you know my material, you'll know that I talk about race, culture, religion and the general topic of these manufactured identities in my set. Suddenly, when I got to material about relationships and my personal penchant for white/English women, endearingly referring to this as "I like vanilla", one table took massive offence. As I continued, one woman started to 'boo', and suddenly all the energy was being diverted into a verbal combat between me and her table, as the audience slowly became divided between those who liked me and wanted to hear more and those who wanted me to die and let me know that they hated me with all their might.

I am angry and I hate you.
I kept my composure and continued to smile, trying to placate the upset caused by the subject matter and even trying to build bridges with the offended table, but there was nothing left to repair or salvage, so I stood my ground and gratefully played to the audience that were actually left over paying attention. Still, this was a painful endeavour as the sea of muttering and audience shouting at each other had overwhelmed the room, and so I did my time, made my statement of peace and walked off into the open arms of friend and MC; Paul Pirie.

As I walked out the room, a lady who was waiting outside with her relatives 'booed' me and told me to write 'better material'. As I am above being offended by such petty remarks, I laughed and wished her family a safe journey home. At this point a tattooed man charged over to me and called me a "Racist F*ck*ng W*nk*r". I smiled at him, repeating his words in confusion, after which he explained the premise of his offence and why he claims that I am a racist -

"Racist" material - 

* Mentioning Princess Diana
Apparently, talking about said person is a racist offence. Though, what he failed to notice was that I NEVER actually mention said person, I ONLY allude simply to the death of Dodi Al-Fayed.

* Referring to my liking of white/English women as "I like vanilla".
It seems that highlighting my relationship preferences with a playful endearment involving a flavour of ice-cream is offensive. You've got to give him points for making a mountain out of this non-existent molehill.

What became clear to me here is that our perception of what is right and wrong is quite subjective based on our own ethics, and that despite the logic or intelligence that can prove us categorically wrong, our emotional reaction and personal perception of subjects can overwhelm our intellect.

As the tattooed man stood his ground and explained why I am a massive racist into my smiling diplomatic face, other audience members interjected with "Well done, I really enjoyed that" and my favourite "Well done, you're too intelligent for Bexleyheath". As the majority of the audience passed by with similar praise, the tattooed man realised his views were actually NOT shared by everyone else other than his own table, and so he slowly receded from his aggressive stance. I then shook his hand and made my exit from the furore that will forever be embellished upon the legend of Bexleyheath as "The day that guy off McIntyre came to Bexleyheath and was sh*t". Although, some people enjoyed it, so I'm happy that the larger British public can understand and enjoy playful material about identity and the dynamics of that old chestnut; irony. Once I got home I was joyed to find this Tweet from docj0nes who was at the gig - "@imranyusuf Was @ ur bexleyheath gig 2nite. Enjoyed ur show while I could. Ruined by the minority, THEY ARE JOKES PPL! Ur quality keep it up".

Okay, now that I've got all that off my chest and await the death threats and hate campaign from those so limited by their own perspective, I want to sign off by saying the following -

I love you, and I'm going to save the world.
Dear everybody, your body is simply a vehicle for your consciousness to experience this life. The labels we use to identify ourselves (colour, culture, race, religion etc) are entirely manufactured by people and subsequently emotionally attached to our sense of identity. Because of this, human beings are easily manipulated and even encouraged to hate and kill one another. You are NOT your identity, you are simply nothing more than how you choose to behave. In any civilisation, culture or country, no one has ever taken a liking to anyone who behaves like a c*nt, so steer clear of that one, and you'll find that everyone will actually like you and that we can all actually get along. Some might think that this is naively optimistic, but it will be us who embrace the opportunity of change with the knowledge that there is a wealth of possibility for us all to embrace a greater wisdom and achieve a better quality of life, who will make the world a better place. That, and I like vanilla.... ;-p


  1. Good stuff, I particularly like the way you handled the whole situation and as many will say a sign you're making it is you get haters!

  2. See, that's some legit wisdom there. Not everybody sees the wisdom in your act, I think they take it at face value too much. I'm fascinated by the idea of self-constructed identity, mostly because you can't really define yourself by labels when you're in the majority. I'm a straight white girl, and those labels are useless to me. They tell you nothing.

    It's the words I choose that mean the most to me. I'm a poet, and self-aware, and a cuddleslut. My words, my choice, my identity. I like it much better that way.

  3. I've seen your material re: "Diana" that you were talking about online, and I thought it was bloody brilliant! The fact you addressed the tattoo'd gent, shows it was not a tirade/ slur or whatever they want to call it, it even transcends cheap comedy, its a bit of a social commentary on a significant world event!
    I wonder if these hecklers (c*nts) would be so aghast if they were at one of the late Bernard Manning's gigs!
    Time for some people to have an awakening of critical consciousness, see the other side of the coin and avoid all these "ist" labels for anyone who is looking at life through a different lens to them!

    Keep up the good work my caramel friend!

    Your Vanilla fan!


  4. People who are easily offended should not go to comedy stand up, or read satirical newspapers or listen to comedy on radio or watch it on films or TV or better still they should just put cotton in their ears as we say where I come from; bah! do not pay any attention to them. Obviously being in live stand up you have to somehow deal with such incidents and I am sure you are strong enough to put it behind you as you are a respected comic, in other words they can go to hell brother :)