Ali Siddiq JFL42, Royal Theatre, Toronto, ON, September 26
Published Sep 27, 2017Somewhere past the mid-point of his searching set, Ali Saddiq said that if a woman doesn't provide her man with sex, a man will just "take it from you." To contextualize this, normally, comedians might say an outlandishly disturbing and uncomfortable thing, the crowd, perhaps shocked, might groan disapprovingly (as this one did), but then the flawed premise is upended by the comedian, who highlights how absurd it is, and the tension is relieved.
Saddiq didn't do this. He just implied that men have the right to demand sex from women, that women should expect to be assaulted by men if they resist, and then he didn't bother to resolve this notion at all. It just hung in the air, like an anvil.
Throughout his charmless set, Saddiq aped the mannerisms and rhythms of Dave Chappelle but then simply revelled in being a brute. He bragged about fighting men at clubs and, as a child, kids in playgrounds. He joked about turning the various guns he keeps in his house on his kids, including a truly strange parable about waking his son up while brandishing a flashlight and a shotgun, simply to threaten him not to cross his father. And he took various nosedives into cliches about interpersonal dynamics between parents, people from different cultural backgrounds, and the sexes.
Many members of the audience laughed and applauded Saddiq and, based on his mushroom-taking adventure, one can see the appeal of his writing. But the unapologetic bullshit he propagated — the tough guy, gun-toting denial of bullying, again, the suggestion that anyone owes anyone else sexual gratification — was unforgivably reprehensible. He wasn't overly show-y about his narrow-mindedness but it shone though all the same.