Ahir Shah is masterful in his execution of comedy that blurs the lines between stand-up and slam poetry.

At one point during the show, Shah referenced a fellow Adelaide Fringe performer, Tahir Bilgiç of Fat Pizza fame. He wondered if Bilgic, with his show Bogans, Wogs, Asians and Other Aussie Citizens, was perhaps some kind of down-under antithesis to him, given the fact that the first names of the comics are similar to one another and that they both talk about race.

It is an interesting remark — technically speaking, both comics do cover similar ground comedically, though they are remarkably different in their approaches. I can’t, for example, imagine that Bilgiç would ever skewer well-meaning white liberals with quite such a keen sense for the multiplicity of ironies present in modern day race-relations.

When Shah brings up race during his show, he tends to do it with eloquence; the observations he makes both about his own experiences and those he makes about race at a more societal level are as cutting as they are funny. His show is not limited to this topic alone, however. Among others he also meditates on addiction, veganism, and narcissism in the modern age.

Perhaps Shah’s comedy will not be to everyone’s taste. His delivery style is rapid-fire and verbose, and this may prove challenging for some audience members. But if you are willing to keep up, and make an effort to stay engaged with what Shah is saying, you will find the show very rewarding.


Distant will be running until March 13.