Raised by Refugees: Pax Assadi’s Prime comedy, a mix of Bro’Town and Fresh Prince

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REVIEW: Everyone loves Pax Assadi.

From his popular stand-up shows to his appearances in staple comedies like Kiwi 7 daysTVNZ travelogue series Frickin’ Dangerous Bro..On the Road and sassy, ​​tongue-in-cheek voice-over work for 2 Degrees, the first-generation Kiwi charmed audiences with his quick wit and clever observations.

Now he’s earned his own show, the six-part comedy Raised by refugees (debuting Thursday, February 24 at 8:45 p.m. on Prime, before becoming available to stream on Neon and Sky Go) inspired by his own formative teenage years in Auckland some 20 years ago.

In some ways, that’s an all-too-familiar premise. Everybody Hates Chris, The good years, The Goldbergs, Moon Boy, Young Sheldon and Young Rock all tapped into the same mix of nostalgia and awkward school and family interactions for laughs. But while you can also see how much the young Pax was influenced by his beloved Fresh Prince of Bel Air in its approach to life and its move from West Auckland to the North Coast, there is a Kiwi sensibility and swagger to the show reminiscent of the animated classic Aotearoa Bro’Town.

Meet the Assadis, from left to right, Safia (Kalyani Nagarajan), Afnan (Pax Assadi), Pax (Kenus Binu), Masood (Reza Matez) and Mahan (Adam Lobo).

Provided

Meet the Assadis, from left to right, Safia (Kalyani Nagarajan), Afnan (Pax Assadi), Pax (Kenus Binu), Masood (Reza Matez) and Mahan (Adam Lobo).

READ MORE:
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* Pax Assadi’s new stand up show mixes comedy and important topics
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In some ways though, the schoolboy stuff is the show’s weakest section. Newcomer Kenus Binu is a pretty likeable lead and the middle-aged “relationships” and rivalries are certainly believable and enjoyable, but Raised by refugees really sings when focusing on the next generation.

Portrayed by Assadi himself, young Pax’s Iranian father Afnan’s attempts at assimilation are particularly hilarious, especially when he provides each of his new colleagues at Bruce’s Appliance Hut with a signed (by him) copy of the autobiography of Jonah Lomu and urges his son to be proud of his culture “and his nipples”.

Raised By Refugees is a comedy based on Pax Assadi's childhood.

Provided

Raised By Refugees is a comedy based on Pax Assadi’s childhood.

Similarly, Pax’s Dr. Phil, quoting Pakistani mother Safia (played by scene-stealing Kalyani Nagarajan) is the heart and soul of the family and this comedy as she drags Pax through an Urdu conversation with his uncle from Pakistan and prepares the house for a visit from the “judge” family of Afnan for dinner.

While the initial episode has an almost Adrian Mole-meets-Will Smith vibe about it, a key world event from 2001 the family watches on TV clearly hints at dramatic potential among the easiest and easiest laughs. .

Raised by refugees debuts on Prime at 8:45 p.m. on Thursday, February 24. It will also be available to stream on Neon and Sky Go.

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