Performer: Eshaan Akbar Photograph by: Steve Ullathorne Show: Prophet Like It's Hot Venue: Gilded Balloon, Balcony Promoter: CKP and InterTalent Group Online: Box Office Facebook Website
Tell me about your Edinburgh show.
Prophet Like It’s Hot is a show about society’s relationship with faith and, in particular, it’s understanding of the Qur’An. I take a copy of the Qur’An on stage, demystify some myths people have about Islam, talk about some of the unsurprisingly ridiculous bits of it (given it’s a 7th century AND religious text) and explore whether there’s a place for faith in modern society.
Tell me about your first gig.
It was an open mic gig in the basement of a pub in Liverpool Street (London) called Dirty Dicks. I absolutely crushed, which is why I am where I am today.
Do you have any rituals before going on stage?
I don’t believe in rituals which is why I don’t believe religion. I just believe in working hard, taking my hearing aid out 5-10 minutes before a show starts to enjoy the silence, going out and crushing gigs and all the trappings that come my way as a direct result of my hard smash.
Tell me about your best and worst review.
I don’t read reviews because I respect the opinion of very few people in this industry, but just know that a website, whose name is a synonym for chuckle, gave me a 2.5 star review and that was 0.5 stars less than it gave Bill Burr – so it looks like I know what I am doing and why I have and will continue to smash.
During this Edinburgh run, do you plan to read reviews of your show?
No, I don’t. The only review I need is my own. Which is always smash.
How do you feel about reviewers generally?
Ambivalent. All I care about is smashing. If reviewers don’t like my show, they should write a show themselves and perform a smash of their own.
In April 2018, YouTube comedian, Markus Meechan (aka Count Dankula) was fined £800 for training his girlfriend’s pug dog to do a Nazi salute with its paw, in response to the phrase ‘Gas the Jews’. Do you believe Meechan committed a criminal offence, and why?
No, I don’t think he did. Comedy audiences have a great way of filtering what they think is funny or isn’t – that’s called laughter. And for online, it’s called sharing. People don’t share what is not funny and if people share what is racist, they’re very much in the minority. A dog doing a Nazi salute in response to a phrase generally regarded as offensive, is more ridiculous than it is offensive. It is definitely NOT a smash.
Are there any subjects that are not suitable for comedy?
The only topic I can think of is Grenfell. Other than that, everything and everyone is ripe for smashing.
Have you ever gone too far?
With a smash, yes. Too hard. In terms of topics, probably, but offence is taken, not given. It’s up to them if they want to write a strongly worded blog or twitter thread about my hard smash. I’m not reading. I’m too busy reaping the rewards of my smash.
Looking back over your time as a comedian, tell me about the best gig of your career.
Performing at The Palladium for a BGT audition, smashing, picking up four yes’s and a standing ovation from David Walliams before Amanda Holden told me I am too clever for a BGT audience. That is a hard smash. Smashing.