The super talented and hilarious stand-up comedian and theatre actor/director, Shehzad Ghias Shaikh lists down some of his favourite comedy works
Delirious — Eddie Murphy
Unabashed, shameless, unprecedented and hilarious; Eddie Murphy is everything in Delirious that I want to be in my stand-up comedy act. Before he became a family-friendly mainstream movie actor, one night in 1983 Eddie Murphy walked out in a red leather jacket at DAR Constitutional Hall in DC and comedy was never the same again.
I grew up religiously watching the show; I have every single episode memorised. I still watch it almost every night. There has never been any character on television that I relate to more than Chandler. Since then I have watched every single thing Matthew Perry has ever been in. I truly believe Matthew Perry and I are the same person.
The Daily Show and Late Night with Stephen Colbert
I grew up watching Late Night with Conan O Brian and imitating him in my living room (Triumph, the insult dog was a personal favourite). However, I truly realised the power of comedy when I started watching Comedy Central and The Daily Show. All of my comedy has a strong social element, which is due to my obsession with these two shows. To this day the biggest compliments I have received are people calling me the Pakistani John Stewart or the Pakistani Stephen Colbert in the comments section of Hafta News.
Truth in Comedy
by Del Close, Charna Halpern and Kim Howard Johnson
There was nobody doing improvisational comedy when I started off. This book helped me teach myself about the form and start the improvisational comedy movement in Pakistan. It helped me launch Lahore’s first improvisational comedy troupe. When I came back to Karachi, I trained all improvisers in the city using the same technique. Thanks to this book, Karachi now has a vibrant improv comedy scene.
Talking Funny — HBO Special
Jerry Seinfeld, Louis CK, Chris Rock and Ricky Gervais just sitting on a couch discussing comedy together — it cannot get any better. Those 50 minutes have taught me more about stand-up comedy than the past six years of performing all around the world. All comedians have a different process and a different voice. The HBO special teaches you that you need to go out and find your own voice, and not imitate somebody else.