Comedy is something that delivers humor, but it doesn’t mean you heart someone’s feelings or disrespect anyone. From the trend of roasting that drove attention towards the audience on mainstream or social media.
But people don’t understand the humor at all. For the past couple of years, comedians are facing a hard time doing standup, especially in South Asian countries.
Such as Munawar Farooqui faced death threats from the government BJP party for the joke he didn’t even crack it. Even Vir Das also calling out for ‘insulting India’.
Meanwhile, in America, comedians are cracking political, racist, and means jokes without getting worried about the threats.
Pakistan stands in a gray area when it comes to comedy, our comedians have delivered some outstanding stand-ups that showed people their style of comedy.
Although in Pakistan, Pakistani comedians such as Saad ur Rehman and Zaid Ali T have been called for disdaining TikTokers and using women as their punchline for entertainment.
In this whole comedy scenario, Akber Chaudhry stands out with his remarkable comic timing and exceptional mimicry skills. His popularity came under the radar of success when he mimicked Indian politician Shashi Tharoor. Later on, people demanded he mimics Imran Khan.
He got his style, Karachi accent, and curly long hair made him his brand. He has been praised for his work.
In a recent interview, he shares how his sensitivities evolved.
Akber Chaudhry the comedian with his style
Akber Chaudhry said, “I received immense appreciation for Idiots of the Internet but when I look at it now, I understand why people would think that I am mocking a certain class,” Chaudhry tells The Express Tribune.
His mentioned video sees a compilation of statuses, captions, and tweets – from non-English-speaking Pakistanis on social media – that make little to no sense.
“But there is a distinction between making fun of someone and taking a dig at something that someone has done,” explains Chaudhry.
“So personally, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with cracking a joke about something that is inarguably laughable,” he adds.
But Chaudhry feels his taste has evolved. “I feel there are things that I found funny five years ago that I don’t anymore. Our sensitivity and taste evolve with learning.
Just ten years ago, we all were of such different mindsets. And in the profession of comedy, we need to stay up to date to understand how mindsets are evolving so we can stay relevant, so our comedy can whither the shift in time.”
‘I never liked political satire’ – Akber Chaudhry
Regarding his purpose of comedy, he said, “I personally never liked political satire but I’m an advocate of self-awareness.
And in a country like Pakistan, it is very clear from the get-go what things can be joked about. Just like in India, where Muslims are already being prosecuted regularly, it is not surprising why – like Munawar Faruqui – even considering joking about Hinduism can get you the short end of the stick.”
India BJP’s have been demoralizing Muslims and even Hindus who create something regarding the Hindu community. Just like what happened at Om Prakash Jha’s set where a religious extremist mob attacked on set.
Akber explained that he wouldn’t dare to enter into the zone of drama and chaos. He said, “An artist should have the right to talk about everything but I’d rather stay away from drama.
I believe if Chappelle’s jokes were offensive to a community, he should not have cracked those jokes either.”
He also criticizes those who extremely make jokes, “I feel a comedian’s purpose is to spread happiness.
If there is a message being conveyed through comedy, well and good! But that shouldn’t be the rule, it’s an exception. There should be no compulsion in that regard,” he asserts.
Comedy is enough to enjoy the moment, giving an example of his latest stand-up show Akber Chaudary said, “We did a show on a Tuesday night and 100 people showed up.
That is unheard of in the comedy scene. But as soon as the show ended, everyone thanked us for helping them unwind.
Many had come straight from their work and comedy served as an escape from their mundane 9-5 routine.”
The early experience opened my eyes
Akbar Chaudhary shared his experience and told him that it happened to him a lot. “Doing a morning show opened my eyes to our diversity and since I am an engineer, my brain runs on pattern recognition.
Thus, I was able to pinpoint the things that are relevant to every Pakistani, with the primary being our native language,” explains the host.
Recalling advice his friend gave him, Chaudhry recollects, “He told me to take the example of film trailers, how they’ll be enticing so they can lure people in.
And a lot of times, when we end up watching these films, we receive messages we did not expect the film could convey.
So we just need to convey our message in a language people can familiarise with and before doing that, we need to promise them an entertainment-filled night so they’re willing to listen.”
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