I felt a moment of trepidation early on in Dilruk Jayasinha’s new show, Art of the Dil, when the comedian’s attempts to interact with the audience were met with silence. Dilruk told us that the entire show was like this, so if we refused to participate we were in for a long hour, then he waited. For a second it seemed like he was serious.
Eventually, though, interaction emerged from the reluctant crowd and the show picked its pace back up, but I was worried about what I was going to write in this review. Dilruk Jayasinha is an excellent comedian, I know he’s entertaining as hell, but if that was all this show was… luckily, the show was far from pure crowd interaction.
The Art of the Dil is a show about intolerance, poking fun not at specific types of prejudice or people, but at where intolerance comes from within ourselves. Of course, since Jayasinha is an immigrant, a lot of the humour centres around his experience both as an immigrant and as the recipient of anti-immigrant vitriol, but he also spends a while considering his own attitudes towards homosexuality and even the intolerance that can be found between supporters of opposing football teams.
This all sounds very dry, but Jayasinha’s delivery is always cheeky and he clearly enjoys getting laughs from his audience, especially when he’s lead them down a bit of an odd path to get to the punchline. Jayasinha is deceptively high concept in his comedy, crafting an enjoyable experience for the audience out of topics that, on retrospect, don’t really seem to lend themselves to it.
Fans of Jayasinha will be familiar with some of his material already, but all of the repeated jokes are in service of the background needed for his material, so it creates less a sense of laziness instead of a quick recap for those new to his shows: “Previous, on Dilruk Jayasinha…”
The Art of the Dil is a solid and enjoyable show and, although riddled with coarse language and adult concepts, is … well, I don’t want to say ‘wholesome’, but I would take my mother to see it without a moment’s hesitation.
The Art of the Dil is on at the Greek Centre 13-16 and 20 – 23 April at 7 pm as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Tickets are available online, at the venue or at the festival box office.