Back for the 11th year at the Fringe, Hardeep Singh Kohli’s comedy show “It’s Hard to Be Deep” offers a timely, contemporary critique of modern society.
Kohli begins the show by connecting with audience members, which offers an interactive experience. His anecdotes and punch-line jokes have the audience bursting out in laughter at various points of the show. Kohli’s stage presence and charisma are evident as a natural story-teller, captivating the audience from the moment he begins his set.
He kicks off by contemplating the loss of innocence in his life. He focuses on the year 1982 as a turning point and highlights key events in the year, drawing on his experiences growing up in Scotland. The humour Kohli engages with is very localised to the British/Scottish experience, and audience from abroad might not be able to follow along with his set. His references to 80s pop culture have many younger audiences scratching their heads and are evident from some of the blank stares received from younger audience members Hardeep engages with.
Kohli’s show deviates from mainstream comedy through the philosophical and social message Hardeep drives at. At many points, Kohli’s questions tenets of religion suggesting that it is a way to oppress the working class, pushing the limits of “political correctness”. His attempt to imbue feminism and his appreciation for women is evident at various points of the show, which is a refreshing take from a male comedian.
While his attempt to connect his material with the audience adds to the comedic experience, his time management is sub-par and he spends too much time speaking to specific members of the audience. As he is not able to fit in all his material within the hour, the show appears to be incoherent with the central message of the show not being received. The use of images on a slideshow creates a very “lecture-like” experience, especially since the show is held in a lecture theatre. It does not add value to his performance and often appears clumsy.
Overall, It’s Hard to Be Deep caters to a very particular audience- middle-aged and Scottish.
Hardeep Singh Kohli: It’s Hard to Be Deep is on at Assembly George Square Studios-Three (Venue 17)
Until 24th August at 17:15
Tickets can be found here
Image: Steve Ullathorne