Why women aren’t funny in Pakistan

Published: August 10, 2016
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Ladies took the podium at T2F making audience laugh uncontrollably at things that are otherwise censored. PHOTO CREDITS: HADI KHATRI

Ladies took the podium at T2F making audience laugh uncontrollably at things that are otherwise censored. PHOTO CREDITS: HADI KHATRI

I was silent when girls started having chai at dhabas. I was also silent when every other man in Pakistan made a joke about liking to see girls at dhabas, but that was because those jokes were not funny at all.

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I was silent even when girls started playing cricket on the streets: Mainly because they were better at it than Mohammad Hafeez.

But I can be silent no more. Girls have now started doing comedy in Pakistan.

And they do not even wear a dupatta while performing. If Bollywood movies have taught me anything, it is that once the girl’s dupatta falls, nothing good follows. We should be glad at least Imran Hashmi is not in Pakistan.

It has been scientifically proven that women are not funny. This is why there are no female stand-up comedians in the world. This opinion is based on the sum total of two stand-up comedy torrents I illegally downloaded in Pakistan and overhearing the cool kids in school say things like ‘Jerry Seinfeld’ and ‘Louis CK’. Jerry and Louis are not girl names ergo only men can be stand-up comedians.

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One crucial component of stand-up comedy is that you have to be standing up. Women cannot even stand up and pee.

If women are out there performing then who is making the sandwiches in the kitchen? You see, now that is a joke. If women start making jokes, how can the entire nation sustain laughing at male misogynistic hackneyed jokes like that? They will bring such a fresh perspective to the conversation that we will see what all these old kitchen/sandwiches jokes really were; attempts to use humour to perpetuate patriarchy and confine women to gendered roles within the house.

Men in Pakistan are quite happy with the status quo. There is no need for change. Even the man calling for change the most over the last decade in Pakistan could not handle being married to an independent woman. That is how much Pakistani men hate change. We are not Obama.

You put Pakistani men together anywhere and all we will joke about are women. Women can add nothing to that conversation; apart from being the subject of every single joke, jibe and insult during that conversation. There is a reason all abuses in Pakistan revolve around a woman and her sexuality.

God forbid if women were given a microphone, they may introduce jokes against men into the conversation. We all know how much that will tarnish the reputation of the entire country around the world. We have already been insulted enough by a teenage girl accomplishing more than any of us ever could, we cannot handle more successful and independent women. The Pakistani male ego is not ready for this.

It is not in Pakistan’s culture for women to be doing stand up and improvisational comedy. It is also not in the best financial interests of the male comedians in Pakistan as they are so much better than us.

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Pakistan does not have a history of females being involved in performing arts. There are no paintings of female performers which were excavated from Mohenjo Daro. No female performers have danced for centuries in this region at Sufi shrines. No woman invented dance forms during the Mughal era. No female performers have owned theatre companies and revolutionised performing arts in Pakistan. Noor Jehan, Bali Jatti, Nazia Hassan, Bushra Ansari, Madeeha Gauhar and Sheema Kermani are all myths that feminism has created to make women feel better about themselves.

If women can excel at art, why don’t they go out and win Oscars and Emmys for Pakistan?

An all-women improvisational comedy troupe does not even make sense. The first rule of improv is ‘yes-and’. You have to accept every invitation. All any girl has ever said to any of my invitations is ‘no’.

Why is there even any fuss about these Auratnaak and Khawatoon shows? It is not like these women are speaking about issues plaguing half the country’s population each day but are not talked about at all because men do not suffer from them. It is not like humour is a powerful tool to bring attention to ills of our society, such as honour killing, female infanticide and sexual harassment.

It is not respectable for women to stand in front of men and highlight structural patriarchy and our hypocrisy. It is far more respectable for them to be trying to hide themselves in public as men pass lecherous comments and vile gestures at them. That seems to make most Pakistani men laugh so why do we need women to be funny?

Men and women are different. They have different roles in society. The most popular form of theatre in Pakistan, stage shows, only use women for mujras. The men are funny and the women are there for hundreds of men to ogle at. That is the natural order created for this world.

We care about the honour and respect of women so much that we keep them away from dishonourable fields such as performing arts. And if women choose to enter that field, remember men slut-shaming is a powerful tool. We can make our women do mujras publicly but women doing comedy is against the honour of our country.

It is not in the best interest of Pakistan for women to be doing comedy. All our historic jokes are about women and their role in the house. ‘Bakra Qiston Pe’ opens with Umer Sharif tying his wife to the home and taking the cow out for a stroll instead. Hilarious.

Comedians freely telling rape jokes, jokes that perpetuate gender stereotypes and jokes that hurt the cause of women worldwide at open mic nights are well and good but a woman talking about discrimination is feminism going too far. Women should know that men will not only use violence to subjugate all of you but also make jokes about it later.

So many comedians in Pakistan have made a career with jokes on ‘laaa-dees’. If girls start doing comedy too, Pakistanis might realise how sexist and inappropriate all those jokes were. Think about the careers of all misogynistic comedians in Pakistan girls and please don’t start writing jokes.

And if you are to, please let me open for you, as all of you are amazing.

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Reader Comments (6)

  • BrainBro
    Aug 10, 2016 - 5:01PM

    Bharti singh is quite funny. She used to suck back in the day but now she has gotten pretty funny.Recommend

  • KD
    Aug 10, 2016 - 5:02PM

    Brilliant article!
    Double Thumbs Up!Recommend

  • azmat
    Aug 10, 2016 - 6:33PM

    Stupidity at its peakRecommend

  • Torus makto
    Aug 11, 2016 - 1:03AM

    Full of sweeping generalising statements, spoken like a true pseudo feminazi sirRecommend

  • ShamelessPakistanis
    Aug 11, 2016 - 1:28AM

    Because women think there freedom is in saying vulgar stuff and dress immodestly. Won’t get education do something good for society or become a better mom.Recommend

  • Hashim Khan
    Aug 11, 2016 - 4:19AM

    A fair point that needed to be said and raised.

    However I must add that perhaps this article would have been better if it was not entirely in a sarcastic tone. Sarcasm seemed a bit out of place at some points.
    Also the generic statement: It is also not in the best financial interests of the male comedians in Pakistan “as they are so much better than us”, is pretty sexist. Arguing in favour of women stand up comedians and generalizing that they are better than men are two VERY different claims.

    Finally, let’s not get personal with someone’s divorce; we don’t know the reasons :)Recommend

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