Bilal Zafar’s way of performing is refreshingly mellow. The chaos of the Fringe often turns into a shouting match between acts. However, there is simply no need to cry when a great set speaks for itself. Zafar’s stand up is really well thought out and properly rehearsed, resulting in a wonderfully polished and entertaining show. This gentle manner may well be the result one of Zafar’s previous jobs and focal point of the show; the time he spent working in a care home.
There is no reason to fear the front row – Zafar has too much comedic content to spend time nattering with the audience. The hour is jampacked with wall-to-wall tales that are as unbelievable as they are hilarious. He has a really enjoyable and relatable way of describing his young working life, slaving tirelessly for minimum wage while being judged by those in their ivory towers. Taking none of this, Zafar manages to convey some important life lessons about knowing your self-worth while being tremendously out of your depth.
A care home may not be the traditional setting for hilarity and laughter, but the anecdotes Bilal tells say otherwise. Heated Scrabble arguments, a mouse infestation and constantly having to innovate characters to appease the patients makes Bilal’s old job sound like a comedy nightmare. All the while, it’s a truly endearing story, Zafar claims to be no saint but the effort he exudes to help these people implies otherwise. Professional naivety may have played a big role in Zafar’s experience (having never really used his degree) but his time in the care home was clearly defining.
Yet Zafar has far more to say about his life than a single occupation. Other struggles such as his issues with the energy company are as recognisably infuriating as they are wonderfully funny. And even if Zafar has experienced adversity, he’s always been able to fall back on his one in a million gift, which is worth the price of entry to see.
If you want to see that and a really good show, then go check out Bilal Zafar, who will inevitably charm you and crack you up.
Bilal Zafar – Care
17:30 at the Underbelly, Bristo Square (Venue 302)
August 3 – 14, 16 – 29