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Laugh Reviews: Ibrahim Khalif “Placebo”

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What separates a great comedian from your average open-micer is the ability to turn the darkest situations into a joyous occasion in front of a live audience. Since the global pandemic began in March 2020, many comedians have been stuck in limbo, trying to find their place in comedy’s brand-new landscape. But true to the survival spirit instilled in him as a child, Ibrahim Khalif not only used the past couple of years to build his own space in comedy but his fame as well, highlighted by his new comedy album entitled Placebo.

Time heals all wounds, but it can also give us the life experiences needed to succeed beyond our wildest dreams. Raised in Newark, New Jersey, during the 1980s crack epidemic, as a child, Khalif often used his unique sense of humor as a means of survival throughout the Brick City. Never one to waste their most extraordinary talent, as an adult, Ibrahim would follow in the footsteps of Jersey legends Bill Bellamy, Marc Maron, Jon Stewart, and Chelsea Handler, beginning to perfect his craft as a stand-up comedian in the famous New York comedy scene. Developing a thought-provoking but abrasive style of comedy, Khalif, has enjoyed a steady career of laughter, performing at numerous high-profiled comedy clubs and comedy festivals in the New York City, DMV, and Boston areas. It would also lead to visual performances on popular streaming services such as Sirus XM and Amazon Prime Video.

Co-produced with fellow comedian Menuhin Hart, Placebo wants comedians to retain the ability to say anything on stage in a dialogue with their audience. In our streaming social media age, of course, there’s an inherent problem with that, precisely because the comedian’s words go out to potentially billions of people who were not in the room and have their context for interpreting the jokes. It’s the gift and curse of contemporary comedy in this age of podcasting that comedians talk in the same tones when they’re expressing their sincere beliefs as when they’re joking. Now it’s only a matter of time before we realize Khalif is a comedic genius or revolutionary?

The Laughs:
With a running time of 1hr 15mins, Ibrahim Khalif tells the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so God help you. Placebo is a hilarious history lesson of the past six years that keeps listeners wanting more throughout the album. A unique thing is how Ibrahim does not hold back while performing. The man’s every line is filled with innuendos that either make you laugh so hard that the joke does a U-turn to affect your real life. Or, it is a satire that is dark enough for you to laugh and makes you think of the joke on a much deeper level. It may come as nothing more than brutal honesty wrapped in humor from an outsider’s lens.

The Bombs:
Due mainly to the material spanning over the last 4-6 years, Placebo might be a celebration of Khalif’s greatest hits, rather than a moment captured in time that creates an album in the process. The sound quality on the album is also affected, as various materials will feature low sound and conversation from audience members.

We Own The Laughs’ Final Review Score:
Best Joke: Real Estate
Worst Joke: The Virus
WOTL Rating (Opener/Feature/Headliner): Headliner
Reminicenatant of our younger nights sneaking downstairs listening to explicit lyrics or watching R-rated films without our parent’s permission, Placebo is a fearless game-changer that comedy fans will appreciate now and cherish for the next 30 years later. Khalif pushes the envelope like a psychotic postman, but in the world of comedy, he manages to push all the right buttons. It’s not necessarily a critique on how Khalif delivers his dark humor, or even for him choosing to take on controversial topics. This is the natural purpose of comedy: to find the silver lining within the dark reality society often deals with.

An Ibrahim Khalif Fun Fact:
Even though he grew up on the east coast, Ibrahim Khalif is a huge San Francisco 49ers fan.

Listen to Ibrahim Khalif’s new comedy album Placebo right now on Spotify

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