Nabil Abdulrashid: The Purple Pill – Edinburgh Fringe 2023, Pleasance Courtyard

Reviewer: Tom Ralphs

Writer: Nabil Abdulrashid

For anyone that thinks Edinburgh is a comedian’s paradise, albeit an expensive one, where they can spend a month away from London with their best friends and peers, Nabil Abdulrashid is here to disillusion you. He can’t stand his fellow comedians and being so close to them for so long is his worst nightmare come true. At the heart of his dislike, which he may, or may not, be exaggerating is the white middle class comedian appropriation of so many aspects of Black culture, but in particular ADHD, something he had before it was a self-diagnosed condition that immediately became the subject of a fringe show for the people laying claim to it.

Abdulrashid’s set is delivered in such a conversational style that it’s hard to disagree with anything he says even if he is talking about people like you. His humour is shaped by the West Croydon streets where he lives and his background as the English born child of Nigerian parents. It’s a world away from the cosy middle class lifestyles of most of his contemporaries and most of his audience. Consequently it makes him one of the freshest and funniest voices on the circuit.

It also makes him one of the most honest. He opens up about his mental health problems, his concerns for his daughters and the rage and anger at much of society that he tries hard to control, but it’s never self pitying and it’s never maudlin. He always knows when to puncture the seriousness with a one liner that might appear to be at direct odds with what he has just said.

Talking about his white friends is one of the many ways he tries to subvert stereotypes and get people to look at things from a different perspective. Taking a more direct route, he openly asks people to think about how our perceptions of some of the material would change if he was a white man or was talking about the experience of white men. But throughout, it’s a form of confrontation that’s designed to influence and educate rather than shock an audience, and he earns the very reflective and emotional end to the set that reveals so much more to the person who is increasingly appearing on TV shows with the same comedians he claims he wants to avoid for the next three weeks.

Runs until August 27 (not 15th) 2023 | Image:

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