Kai Samra @ Pleasance Courtyard

Kai Samra turns difficult experiences into a funny and poignant debut hour

Review by Yasmin Hackett | 12 Aug 2019
  • Kai Samra @ Pleasance Courtyard

Kai Samra seeks to hold up a lens at comedy and its lack of representation, but also to turn the pain and difficulties in his life into something special and funny. When your subject matter deals with homelessness, far-right politics and racism in the UK, this is no mean feat. But Samra manages, for the most part, to pull it off.

His style of stand-up is certainly reflective of his background in club comedy, conversational and relaxed whilst covering heavy topics. There are times where the material could have benefitted from a more drawn-out delivery, as it can often feel a little rushed through – and sometimes, the jokes just don’t fly. Because of this laughter is sometimes scattered, but, to his credit, Samra has given himself lots of room to grow through crafting a structurally sound hour, and some solid joke-writing.

A story about how he came to meet Tommy Robinson is a fine example of this; he builds on the story skilfully, and brings it home with a deliciously satisfying punchline. It’s great proof of Samra’s comedy chops which have previously earned him a couple of comedy accolades.

The material itself is poignant, even inspiring. Samra’s skill as a storyteller is evident – in part thanks to some of the remarkable and difficult experiences he has had for someone so young. Underclass ultimately makes for a promising debut from a likeable comic who seems poised to go further.

Kai Samra: UnderclassPleasance Courtyard (Bunker Three), until 25 Aug (not 12), 7pm, £9-12