Review: Khaled Khalafalla’s Jerk

29 March 2016

Khaled Khalafalla’s latest comedic run is largely a mixture of social commentary and race-centric humour. While this subject matter is nothing new to the world of comedy, Khalafalla’s approach definitely is. As an Egyptian-born Muslim, Khalafalla is fully aware of the clichéd stereotypes about Arab/Muslim terrorists. In fact, he uses his heritage as a legitimate claim to rip in and revive said tropes. Such jokes work even better when localised to an Australian context. A particular standout is Khalafalla’s ‘Arab 101’ in plane-crashing. In an exaggerated Arab accent, he jokes: “If you want easy, go to Tiger Airways. They will kill us before we kill us.”

The show’s title, Jerk, perfectly encapsulates the persona Khalafalla adopts on stage. He has a penchant for approaching the sensitive with a confident “I don’t care” insensitivity. His comedy is smart and self-aware. On the very rare occasion a joke falls flat, Khalafalla shrugs his shoulders and soldiers on. “I won’t be doing that next time,” he says. Khalafalla never crosses the line when it comes to race but he also doesn’t let that ‘boundary’ go unnoticed either. In his own words, he states: “I’m brown enough to commercially package Arab jokes in a way that satisfies the white man’s fetish for the exotic.”

Topics that he discusses with similar gusto include: feminism and ‘feminazis’, ISIS, drugs and halal. You see, the ‘halal hysteria’ is the topic that Khalafalla excels in the most during the show. He revels in his halal-ness, likening it to a superpower that can obliterate his enemies and reduce them to ash. The halal H2O to the Wicked Racists of Oz if you will. To illustrate his point, he even details a sexual encounter with a Reclaim Australia protester. Apparently, his “halal” you-know-what (yes he goes there) ends up annihilating her.

So, do yourself a favour and check out the halal phenomenon that is Khaled Khalafalla. You won’t regret it, I promise.

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