Review: Urooj Ashfaq: Oh No!

Confident debut from an utterly endearing comic

comedy review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
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Urooj Ashfaq | photo courtesy of Soho Theatre
Published 17 Aug 2023

The faint sounds of the Nooran Sisters' booming vocals seep out of an unassuming shipping container round the back of the Edinburgh Uni library. Patakha Guddi, the song that weirdly found viral fame on TikTok not long ago, is like a rallying cry for us brown people and rising Mumbai comic Urooj Ashfaq sure knows how to get us in a room together.  

“Is there a two for one deal or something?” She jokes, poking fun at the number of “her people” that have made it out. But it’s genuinely such a joy, and fairly unfamiliar, to be sat in a venue at the Fringe and not be in the minority, which, for anyone that might have previously been in doubt, goes to prove that there is indeed a healthy appetite for comedy from around the world. 

Oh No!, with its very recognisable gripes about family, dating and therapy, is a show for everyone but in Ashfaq’s self-deprecation and pointed remarks about subjects like Hindu-Muslim tension, arranged marriage and being a “pagal doctor”, she taps into jokes for the amusement of a very specific diaspora. It works though, and in continually emphasising her status as the child of divorced parents – a quality that makes her edgy in her home country – she is charmingly awkward yet still charismatic. With insights into her sessions in therapy, her current relationship and extracts from her childhood diary, Oh No! is a confident debut from an utterly endearing comic.