Jasper Cunningham-Ward reviews Sid Singh: American Bot
A room set out for 80 people cannot be filled by 10, but what Sid Singh lacks in audience members he makes up for in personality and charm which is both to his credit and to the audience’s relief. Singh is an American comic from San Francisco who focuses his show on the tech culture of Silicon Valley. He offers hilarious observations on both his personal experience of the place and what the general statistics say.
Critical of a liberal façade with a lack of real action, Singh comes at his hometown at an angle which only someone who has lived there can take. This gives the audience an intriguing and unique insight. The structure of the show is a little disjointed, as Singh runs through his rules and explains he will jump from funny to serious to funny. He then works through a list of billionaires we should all hate, Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg. Singh’s delivery of this cannot be faulted as he successfully creates the right atmosphere for comedy and seriousness when necessary, however, the content matter itself sometimes clashed. The poignancy of Singh personal experiences and his hilarious observations would have perhaps worked better had they been two separate shows. The combination of the two has the benefit of being able to deal with issues sensitively and seriously whilst still finding the comedy in them, however instead of walking this fine line, the show swings a little too erratically between the two.
Whilst Trump is avoided, the current cultural climate has clearly influenced the production, as he repeats again and again that the show is about hate. His meditations on how society uses hate wrongly are interesting; hatred against groups becomes racism or sexism, whereas hatred against individuals, Singh argues, can be useful and important. The somewhat half-hearted message of the people have the power over the billionaires is drowned out by Singh’s personal story of racism at the heart of the performance. Comments on modern day feminism towards the end seemed forced and less fleshed out than some other ideas. He is unafraid of approaching sensitive issues and his
Despite this, Singh’s comedy style is masterful, punchy and full of energy that makes the room feel less empty. He comes across as funny and likeable and manages to make his audience feel at ease. It is in the comedic parts of the show that he excels, however, the serious undertone should not be dismissed, they could just be better put together side by side so as to not disrupt the natural momentum of the comedy. Whilst the show has its flaws, Singh definitely deserves a bigger audience and has a lot of potential.