Paul Varghese: Paul & Oates
3 1/2 stars (out of 5)
Paul Varghese, veteran of Last Comic Standing, is casual and unencumbering yet incisive and attune to global realities. Being the son of an Indian immigrant who tells Varghese his mother “passed away” whenever she took a nap, he earns himself elbow room in an exaggerated portrait of immigrant life, deploying playful, stark, ironic impersonations of his Indian parents. “Our eyes met, we exchanged rings, that’s how I knew she was the one.”
Varghese’s forays into his parents’ voices and attitudes are all the more effective given the unmistakable American qualities of his own personality and environment. For example, he explains how he is endowed with an inalienable ability to be a bully of the skies, as in aviation any brown complexioned person can be an instant thug. Conversely, one does not simply run into the airport as an Indian man.
A self-acclaimed “bad Catholic,” the set contains a few hell-worthy tracks. He explores one of the most questionable modern marvels in a track titled “Church on TV,” pulling from whatever he can in an alchemy of American stupidity and vulnerability. His channel choice for picture and picture during a sermon is genius.
On a track titled “Fleeing,” Varghese guides the American listener on a world-wide calibration of privilege. “No one hates the president…You realize here we have to have a poll to measure approval reading, in the Middle East…you just look out the window of your palace.”
While he has big picture American identity ideas circulating, enjoy a plethora of breezy domestic topics like the oxymoronic nature of getting upgraded to a Kia, the oppression of convertible drivers by the homeless, what the first drive-thru menu is actually for, and nonchalantly (which is the attitude that pervades throughout) ponder what happened to the word “chalantly.”