Comedy review: Bilal Zafar: Cakes

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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.

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