Bushra Shaikh, the latest candidate given her marching orders on The Apprentice, has admitted that comedy definitely isn’t her strong-point.
The confession followed a task in which Bushra and Team Graphene delivered arguably the cringiest live presentation in the history of the show.
It had all started so well too, with Lord Sugar setting them the task of creating a brand new recipe kit. Graphene, led by Sarah, settled on a lovely salmon risotto and looked on course for victory after putting together a decent bit of packaging with the, admittedly, iffy name of “Gourmet Crusaders.”
But with team livewire Elizabeth front-and-centre for the task’s crucial cooking demonstration of the new, things quickly fell apart, with many of the team’s off-the-cuff gags falling flat with an audience of industry experts.
Bushra was the biggest culprit here, posing a joke early in the pitch that left loaded and pretty much everyone watching on, utterly baffled. “We would have loved to have had Captain Gourmet, himself, with us today,” Bushra began, “but unfortunately Donald Trump called him over.”
Cue confused silence.
Now that the dust has settled, with Bushra ultimately fired for her part in the fiasco, even she is still having trouble explaining the joke to loaded.
“I still struggle to understand it myself,” she said. “I guess we were trying to have a bit of banter. Everyone knows what Donald Trump is about and is a kind of crusader and I was trying to have a bit of a laugh – the idea Trump needs crusaders but at the moment he’s only getting a gourmet crusader because he’s learning how to cook.”
Erm, what? Was she perhaps trying to suggest that the McDonald’s-loving Trump might benefit from some healthier, gourmet options? Er, kind of…
“Donald Trump is quite out there and likes to cause a bit of friction in the media,” she adds. “Captain Crusader is a crusader and is here to teach him how to cook food.”
No, that’s still not right is it? Anyway, Bushra happily admits her attempts at humour may have contributed to the failure of the task.
“I’m no comedian. I don’t do stand-up comedy. I hold my hands up to that. It all ended up being a little too comical and cringeworthy. But that particular pitch was supposed to be a bit funny because you are cooking and interacting with people throughout.”
She does, however, question the suggestion she didn’t object enough to the name Gourmet Crusaders and the obvious association in might have with the Crusades.
“I did say the name might not be such a great idea given the connotations of crusades but at the same time I didn’t want to step on Sarah, the project manager’s toes and make it look like I was trying to undermine her position,” Bushra explained. “I said it three or four times and after that it was up to her to make the choice.”
“I don’t think I should have gone on this task.” Bushra added. “I genuinely thought Elizabeth would go because I hadn’t been in the boardroom until then.”
Despite her exit, Bushra has been left feeling good about herself after an experience where she ended up winning plenty of friends among her fellow candidates.
“I feel really good. I’m really positive about what the future holds. Of course I’m a little sad to just miss out on the final interviews, but it is what it is.”
She also doesn’t have a bad word to say about teammate James, despite the fact he made several digs at her during this recent task.
“Look, the process is really tough and when people want to win a competition really badly they might say things they don’t necessarily mean at the time. It’s cutthroat and there are game players but James is a nice guy.”
Bushra contines to run her own fashion website and is introducing a new line of clothes.She’s also keen to pick up more work in the media in the future and serve as a role model to people like herself.
“I wear a headscarf and am from an Asian background and I don’t feel like I see enough people like me on TV these days,” she said.
That all sounds good to us – just steer clear of any comedy, yeah?
The Apprentice continues next Wednesday at 9pm.
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