January issue 2013
If there is one thing indisputably true about Pakistanis, it is that we can laugh at ourselves. Be it the revolving door of prime ministers, the banning of social media or the frequent blackouts and CNG strikes, Pakistanis can make the most frustrating of things sound funny, with SMS jokes, Internet memes and the sher-o-shairi written at the back of buses. Although different forms of comedy — be it on television or in theatre — have always been part of our culture, recent years have seen a meteoric rise in the evolution of new forms of comedy such as stand-up, improvisational or comedy done exclusively for the Internet.
In this issue, Newsline talks with four different people from Pakistan’s comedy scene, some seasoned and others up-and-coming, all experimenting with different forms of comedy and being hilarious as they do it. First up is Hina Dilpazir, a distinguished television actress who has done remarkable work in both drama and comedy, but whose skill in portraying myriad funny characters in shows Bulbulay and Qudusi Saheb ki Bewa make her one of the best comediennes of Pakistan today. Then there is Danish Ali, whose stand-up comedy routines and Internet videos have audiences in stitches, and who has recently started his own English-language comedy show on television, The Real Show with Danish Ali. We also talk to Beo Zafar, who started her career with the British sketch comedy show Here and Now and made a comeback in Pakistani television by taking on a troupe of absurdly funny characters in the show Baar Baar Beo. Then we have a session with Ali Gul Pir, the young man behind the humorous music video Waderai ka Beta, which became tremendously popular on the Internet.
Read on to find out more about what they have to say about the state of comedy in Pakistan, the ups and downs of the business, and what it really takes to be funny…