There’s delicious irony in the fact that Bilal Zafar wouldn’t be making his Fringe debut yet, were it not for a blowhard collection of bigots who tried to suppress him.
Star rating: ***
Venue: Just the Tonic at The Mash House (Venue 288)
Well, not him exactly – the Muslims-only cake shop in Bristol that they believed him to be, after a Twitter joke by his brother escalated into a campaign by keyboard warriors of the English Defence League to have the fictional shop shut down.
A career-focused, emerging comic, you wouldn’t have described Zafar as political – when hashtags like #BoycottMuslimBusinesses start trending on social media, his instinct is to keep his head down – but he recognised the opportunity to have some fun.
Explaining how he mischievously stoked their rage by cheerfully, illiterately tweeting his new-found enemies back as the cake shop, he’s still visibly shocked by the Pandora’s Box he opened, with the campaign becoming a repository for bile about immigration, benefit claims and Barack Obama.
Though essentially an extended game of Idiot Whac-a-mole, with Zafar often just posting the tweets he received with minimal commentary, the experience does appear to have politicised him to an extent and he’s emerged a more interesting comic for it.
Until 28 August. Today 3:40pm.