If you haven’t been following American comedian Jeremy McLellan and his quirky, travel-blogger-esque updates from his ongoing trip to Pakistan, you’ve been missing out! His quick wit, local references, warm anecdotes and willingness to try everything and anything that is Pakistani has made us fans almost overnight.
Jeremy is an American comedian based in Charleston, South Carolina Jeremy McLellan , where he won the 2015 and 2016 Charleston Standup Comedy Competition. For the past 14 days though, he’s been touring different parts of Pakistan conducting stand-up comedy shows organised by Kuch Khaas and updating his international fanbase about his daily experiences on social media.
Now, this guy may be Caucasian on the outside but he is a true desi at heart. Who else would enjoy shuttling in rickshaws and biryani and chai so much? And not to mention, he sure knows how to celebrate Jashn-e-Azadi with the true spirit of a ‘Pindi boy.’
“I’ve wanted to come to Pakistan for years because of how many good friends and fans I have who are Pakistani and Pakistani-American. Also, I love the chai here! It’s nothing like when you buy it in the US,” Jeremy told The Express Tribune. “I finally got the chance to come when my dear friend Dr Sultan Chaudhry told me about his humanitarian mission in Islamabad, with a team of dental professionals. I jumped at the chance to join their team and also do shows in Pakistan at the same time.”
So while making people laugh, Jeremy has been providing free dental care to villages around Islamabad through a fundraiser as well. Talk about amazing…
While the high-spirited Jeremy seems to be having the time of his life, he did encounter some typical, first-world-person-meets-third-world problems. For instance, he was served tap water bottled in mineral water packs and like every American cousin of yours that has ever visited Pakistan, he too fell severely ill.
Fortunately though, Jeremy was back in high spirits as soon as he recovered. “My best experience so far has been driving through the streets of Lahore on Independence Day, on top of a car, immersed in the collective joy of the nation. Never seen anything like it,” he shared. When asked if he is adjusting well to spicy Pakistani cuisine, Jeremy responded, “I eat desi food all the time in the US so I’m used to the spices. It’s amazing to have it for every meal here though.”
It’s strange but the comedian seems to be a long lost Pakistani reverting back to their roots. He’s up for trying everything! Asked what is the one memory he can’t wait to share with his friends and family back home, Jeremy said, “I haven’t shared the interactions and discussions I’ve had with my host family on the progress the country, particularly the progress of the outspoken and educated Pakistani women. I touched on it briefly when I was marvelling at how the majority of the dental students were female, compared to the majority of American STEM students who are male.”
Another thing about Jeremy that has gripped us from the beginning is his knowledge of Pakistan and Pakistani jokes. Although the comedian seems to be right at home in Lahore and Islamabad, he does get minor spells of culture shock and homesickness. “Lots of stray dogs here and I haven’t seen any pet dogs yet. In the US, you’d see people walking their dogs on leashes. What I’m saying is… I miss my kutta,” Jeremy wrote in one of his posts. “They put broken glass on top of walls to keep people from climbing over….Seems like it’d be easy to do it anyway. Not gonna try,” he said in another.
When asked whether he is adjusting well to the heavily spiced Pakistani cuisine, Jeremy told us, “I eat desi food all the time in the US so I’m used to the spices. It’s amazing to have it for every meal though.”
Jeremy also joked about making many new friends. “Small lizards called chipkalis are in a lot of the houses. Nice little friend while I’m taking a shower.” And the man has a fine taste in clothes too. “Kurtas are comfortable and great for high-waisted men. Wish they’d catch on around the world. I’d wear them all the time.”
The rising star also informed us that he plans to visit Karachi and northern Pakistan on a follow-up trip next spring! Needless to say, we can’t wait!
Have something to add in the story? Share it in the comments below.