Brown Sauce is a comedy night by South Asian, Brown and Asian comedians. Hosted and set up by Sharlin Jahan, I went to go see the most recent show on 16th May at The Bill Murray in Angel, London. Mawaan Rizwan headlined and other acts included Rohan Sharma, Monica Chatterjee, Pooja Mallipamula and surprise guest Sarah Fatemi. The show was a charity event, with proceeds going to the Turkey and Syria earthquake appeal.
The venue The Bill Murray, is a cute and compact comedy club on a lovely side street in Angel. The staff are very welcoming and as soon as you walk in you feel a sense of community. Funded by a kickstarter in 2017, many of the bricks (and even a soap dispenser) are named after the donors.
This sense of community extends to Brown Sauce, which is unsurprisingly sold out (for a second time in a row we are told!) The audience is more diverse than your average comedy night and the atmosphere is very friendly. Host Sharlin Jahan has an infectious energy that gets the crowd excited for what is to come. She starts the night by explaining why she created Brown Sauce, citing that there is not enough South Asian, Brown and Asian representation in the comedy circuit. She tells the story of being the only comedian from a minority background on a lineup, despite there being two white comedians named John. She tells the story of when Romesh Ranganathan and Nish Kumar met for the first time and how they hugged eachother. It is clear that this night is important.
First things first we have Rohan Sharma, who has a charming nervousness about him. His set largely deals with how he feels disconnected from his roots - relatable (for me). He jokes about how his name sounds like someone who would be deported and how his voice sounds like someone who would do the deporting. He also does impressions of a vampire and Sigmund Freud walking in on his parents having sex - it’s all very surrealist and very funny!
Next up is Monica Chatterjee, who primarily talks about dating (a big topic of the evening). She has an irreverent sense of humour, turning traumatic moments in her life into amusing moments on stage.
Before the break we have Pooja Mallipamula. She falls onto stage but saves it well by making a joke about how romcoms told her she had to trip over to find love.
The second half is opened up by Sarah Fatemi, an American-Iranian comedian with a darkly hilarious sense of humour. She talks about constipation and how she is blocked up like the M25 - top marks for the UK research there! She also makes some jokes about dating which are super rude but entertaining.
Finally, we have our headliner Mawaan Rizwan, who commands the stage with ease. His approach is slightly different in that his set is mostly centred around songs. One highlight of mine is the song ‘G is for Guinea Fowl’. Also his song ‘Are You Checking Me Out or Are You Just a Racist’ is ridiculously catchy - so much so that I have to stop myself singing it in public. Besides being very very funny he has a great singing voice and can really dance. It’s a pleasure to see him perform and you can tell that he is really enjoying himself.
Overall Brown Sauce was a real hoot - recommend!